Apr 292006

This is, what you get for saying “My son is hardly ever unwell.” Like he had only about four or five episodes of flu per year. Although I knew that children starting to go to daycare are prone to infections, I hoped we would be spared since he was going to playgroup before, and since we as teachers have a lot of contact with children.

Well, hope is a nice thing. And he only had about one infection since starting kindergarten in February. His flu/ear infection started at the end of January. And he still has it. Every time we’re thinking, “Oh good, he’s getting well again.” it starts all over. He’s been virtually deaf for months now.

Now I see the ones of you who don’t have children nodding their heads in sympathy and then tune out. (“So, her child has been unwell. So what? Give him tea, put him to bed, and then get on with your life.”) Only a parent knows what “My son’s been having an ear infection” really means.

Those infections hurt. A lot. When your baby, toddler, or preschooler hurts, you suffer too. First, because one of the people you love most in life is hurting. Then, because this person is not gonna suffer in silence so you can get on with your beauty sleep. Your child will be wanting to be with you. All day. On your lap. Getting a shower might mean to leave a wailing, feverish, unhappy person in front of the bathroom door. He will wake you up every other hour. He will be sleeping in your bed, parking his head on one pillow, his feet in the other, and he will manage to push both of the adult sleepers out of the bed. You’ll be waking in between his wakenings to make sure, he’s covered. You’ll be having big discussions with the other parent, whether it’s okay to overdose the pain medication. In the middle of the night.

While your child spends his day in bed crying “But I’m soooo saaaad! I wanna go to kindergarten!”, you’ll have to go to work anyway. Without the benefit of childcare. (Thank you, Mother-in-law.) And then, right when he seems to be getting better – you get the flu.

So, the husband has been having something like influenza for the last week. He deemed himself unfit to teach, alas we’re self-employed, so he taught anyway. He should have spent the week in bed with me making tea… The child had the next episode of ear infection, complete with light fever, being deaf, and being irritable. Every day we didn’t know, if he could go to kindergarten or not. He went anyway, he wanted to, very badly, and his fever went away. And then, what happened? Right after the doctor told me “You keep on giving him his medicine, and when everything goes well you might be able to avoid an operation to remove his adenoids.”, he’s getting the stomach flu as well.

That was a nice night. He woke up at 1.30, 3.00, 4.30 and 6.00 to throw up. I spent a little time, cleaning vomit from: him, his bed, the floor all the way to the bathroom, the wall next to the bathroom door (My advice: don’t ever carry the child to the toilet, fetch a bucket), the toilet, and me. Got to bed, start over. Fortunately, the teddy bear was spared. The bear is essential to sleep success. In the course of that night I trained myself to go from sleeping soundly when hearing a strange sound on the baby monitor to full sprint with the bucket in under two seconds.
My husband, by the way, slept a very cough disturbed sleep in the guest room. He didn’t want to affect my sleep. But I decided not to wake him. (See the halo over my head?)

So there comes Friday, and we’re having a problem. We both had to teach and my mother-in-law was visiting a friend. To far away to be called back. My husband wasn’t feeling well (because of the flu), and I started feeling a little queasy myself. At first I thought about sleep deprivation and nausea caused by the episodes of the night, but – no, I had the stomach flu too. But only mildly.

So, we taught our students while being sick, and with the child. Not the best option, but if you’re self-employed it has to have some benefits to it, hasn’t it? We were lucky, the child sat on my lap for two hours, I had only piano students, and no singing students, and our last two students didn’t show up.

Today, we’re feeling much better. Thanks for reading all this whining. I’ll be fetching fennel tea and zwieback.

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