Our family has had a rough few days. It started with our 4 year old, Sophia calling out at 2am on Saturday night – mama, I’m sick…and yes, by the time I stumbled to her bedroom seconds later, I had very evident proof of that.
She seemed better Sunday morning so we went out for a while as planned but came home after she became quite lethargic and “sooky”. She spent the rest of the day in front of the tv resting, then off to bed early Sunday night. She was awake almost every hour though with a rising temperature. I sat with her for a while then managed some sleep until again being summoned again in the middle of the night. This time was quite frightening, it’s my first experience of what I think is called night terrors. She was raving bizarre things, including “I’m falling” and throwing her favourite dolly out of bed saying “get that stupid thing away from me”. She was also really hot but refused paracetamol or a cold cloth to bring the fever down then fell asleep again.
I lay awake in bed for some time afterwards desperately needing sleep but also wondering if I should instead be sat by her bedside or even if I should take her to hospital. Also worrying about how I was going to manage work and sick children this week. Finally we got through the night.
As a working mum, it’s practical but also with some rising dread that as soon as my girls show signs of sickness I automatically begin formulating back up plans for the week. On one hand I feel my girls should be my clear priority, on the other I hate letting work down. I also have the type of personality to want to try and find the perfect solution – which there rarely is. Sleep deprivation makes the worry and decision making worse.
After a few years of experience of juggling work and children however, I have learnt to always have a plan B & C formulated but this just so happens to be one week that all my back up options are exhausted. In an already small team at work, this is one week I really needed to be there so according to Murphy’s Law of course something like this would happen! So it’s continuing to be a bit of a struggle to balance work and family this week but I guess it will work out in the end.
I work away from home Mondays, Wednesdays & Thursdays. Monday morning, my husband took our youngest to daycare while Sophia and I got a bit more sleep. I then had to take her into work to open up (I have the key & alarm code and other staff are away) and to formulate back up plans. Took her to the GP and turns out to probably be a flu virus going around. Went back to close work early and put signs on the door and messages on the phone – not ideal but no better option and we spent the rest of the day resting but she didn’t seem much better.
This morning I woke up from a solid sleep and said to my husband “great, she slept through the night!”. No she didn’t – he was up with her and I was so tired I slept through it. She seemed a lot better though – then we went in to our youngest’s room to discover she’d been sick in the night but not woken us and gone back to sleep. Poor baby, felt terrible, and seemed this was the start of the same illness.
So spent the day with both girls sick – but well enough to fight constantly it seemed. One sick child on their own will rest but a 4 and 2 year old together, both sick and grumpy is not good! I have done my best to keep them rested but entertained but stay calm and patient but really need a rest myself! So as I’m learning to do when things seem bad, I decided to come up with things to be grateful for.
1. I get extra cuddle time
Neither of my girls are usually very cuddly – I usually get a quick hug before they are off. When they are sick though I get lots of lots of cuddles.
2. It’s only temporary
Though I’ve been worried, and they are definately not well, it seems to be nothing very serious. Unfortunately not a 24 hour thing, but probably a few days and they’ll be better. This week feels like it is lasting forever but I know sometime soon we’ll all be happy and healthy again. I’m learning children can be so resiliant – amazing how their little bodies can heal themselves.
3. I have a washing machine
Sick kids in the night too young to wait for a bucket is not fun for anyone. Thank goodness the washing machine can help sort out the mess. Here is Isabella with her best friend Elf on her head which I had to steal to wash this morning but he’s all clean now.
4. I am not sick
I’m a bit sleep deprived and worried but at least the virus hasn’t gotten me!
5. ABC 4 Kids and DVDs
I soooo love every cartoon and animated character for the few moments of peace they give us all during the day. The usual concern about how much tv is ok just doesn’t count when they are sick.
6. I have a helpful husband
Thank goodness he’s helped out with “sick shifts” while I got some sleep. Also hanging out washing, cooking dinner, reading to them and cuddles. Usually he is also able to take some time off work to help care for them so I can work, but has a particularly busy week himself. So he has instead been taking my calls while he’s at work to soothe me while I’m going crazy with their fighting and constant “mama mama mama mama”. (Which is usually several hundred times a day but seems to triple when they are sick).
7. The internet
I’ve been able to do some work and sort out some urgent stuff from home. I’m also grateful for a link to the outside world for information and support. I learnt what night terrors were and that they are relatively common. Facebook has let me know lots of my friend’s children have been through the same thing recently – and there is an end in sight! I’ve even had some online conversations which didn’t revolve around sickness. Even writing this post now and sharing the experience helps me feel better.
8. I get to be the one to make them feel better
We’ve seen a lovely nurse and doctor this week, but ultimately, despite my flashes of wondering how I’ll cope with so little sleep and meeting their needs, it’s wonderful to know that mama really can make them feel better just by being there.
9. My mum
Reminding me that she did the same for my brothers and I and she understands!
10. It’s nice weather
It’s been gorgeous sunny days and I’ve actually moved the girls mattresses out onto the patio so we could rest in the outdoors for a while. Getting some fresh air and watching the birds and the wind rustle in the trees was good medicine (and dried all the sheets, I don’t have a dryer!).
11. My world stops for a while
When my girls are so obviously sick and need me, there is no doubt I need to be here at home with them. I’m used to being constantly busy but in this case, my world stops for a while and I guess things don’t fall apart too badly out there until I get back!
12. My house is tidy
Forced to stay at home instead of being at work, as well as the neccessity to wash several sets of clothes and sheets, I’ve gotten into the cleaning mood and managed to vaccum, mop, tidy and even clean out three shelves in the kitchen.
13. I don’t have anything super urgent on at work and they are understanding
Though it’s a bit of a juggle staffing wise there are no major meetings or anything that will have big effects if I miss, or that can’t wait a few days. Though it is an inconvenience, I have understanding managers and colleagues.
Well there you go, I started this as a list of 5 and have come up with a whole 13 things to be grateful for. I should also add that the house has been peaceful for the whole time I’ve been writing this. Now I’m off to bed for what will hopefully be a good night’s sleep. We may all wake up happy and healthy – or we may not – but either way we’ll get through it.