There’s something about the immediate aftermath of illness that turns me into some kind of demi-God supermum type! Not the real kind of supermum that just comes completely naturally to some women, but the faux kind which sticks around for 2 or 3 days before slowly dissipating until you’re left with just a normal mum again.
Wills has been poorly since Monday, nothing really out of the ordinary in a household with a baby and a toddler, just a cold/virus which happened to really grab hold of him this time. What this resulted in, however, was a temperature of 40c+, a sleepless night, a trip to A&E, another sleepless night, and a grumpy semi-functioning me. I have no shame in admitting that I have spent the last 3 days in various states of pyjama attire, ranging from “full on slob” to “this could almost pass for an outfit” (thank you Jack Wills for pyjama bottoms that could, in a pinch, pass as cool trousers).
So you can imagine my joy when last night around 6:30pm Wills’ temperature came down enough for him to enjoy a full 7oz milk and when we put him in his cot reach for his thumb and quietly fall into a peaceful slumber. I bravely decided to read in bed for a while (brave as there was every possibility that I was wasting valuable sleeping time!) while Mr C popped to the gym. And if that was joyful, imagine the pure ecstasy when I awoke to find that both of my children were still asleep and Mr C… wait? Where is he? Has he gone to work already?! Oh my fucking gosh its 8:15! This is a dream, it must be. I might cry a little bit. Cue supermum.
Seriously though, when the kids are sick everything gets really bloody hard, and with sleep deprivation to boot you just sort of muddle through as best you can, in a sort of sleepy, grumpy, pissed off haze. Everything is a chore, and simple tasks become a total challenge. If parenting was a cooked chicken (bear with me, I’m hungry) then sick kid days are like the carcass that’s left once you’ve peeled off the glorious skin and stripped it of all the meaty, juicy goodness. Just shit. But then a miracle happens, everyone gets better and gets a good night’s sleep, and all of a sudden you’ve got crispy skin again (the chicken again, sorry).
I swear to God I’m prancing around like I’m high, singing a little bit, pouring milk into cereal bowls with a flourish (“You’d like Cheerios AND Shreddies this morning my darling daughter, well why on Earth not?! We’ll call it a breakfast cocktail!”). I’m feeding the baby with one hand, brushing Amelia’s hair with the other, and picking up dropped Cheerios with my toes (ok that’s a lie, but you catch my drift). Yesterday at 2pm I was sitting on the sofa in my pyjamas (full on slob) in a daze staring into nothingness, the remnants of baby sick on the sleeve of my top, hair unwashed and quite frankly feeling wrecked. Today, however! It’s just gone 2pm, We’ve all had breakfast, washed and dressed, been to the shop to get bits for dinner, been to the park, marvelled at the ice, played on the swings, walked home via the library to return some books, had lunch and the kids are both napping while I work on my blog! And I’ve done all of this without a single meltdown and with a smile on my face, like it’s nothing. Because today everything feels easy.
That first day after a child has been poorly genuinely makes me wonder why I have ever thought parenting is difficult. Because sometimes a little sleep (or a lot!) and kids who aren’t wailing is all you need. But I am under no illusions; this time Monday I’ll have forgotten about today and its joys, its successes and its productivity and I’ll be back to hating my alarm and sounding off like a toddler at the slightest indiscretion (“Like, seriously. Why do I have to be the one to pick up the toys all of the time? This sucks…”)