by Kylie Krackenbacken
I’m sitting on the couch in the same pyjamas I’ve been wearing for the last couple of days and I have a tissue sticking out of one of my nostrils to stop the snot dripping out.
There’s not much point in getting dressed as Jack has bronchiolitis, I have a sinus infection and my beloved partner copped it the ‘worst’ with the dreaded man cold.
It all started with what looked like a slight cold. Jack and I had caught a plane to my Mum’s house for 5 days to have some quality Grandma time.
Anyway, the licking random stuff is apparently quality parenting, it’s what the older generation refer to as ‘strengthening their immune system.’ As opposed to just gross.
At the end of it, Jack sounded like he had a bit of a cold but you know, meh, it’s winter right? Colds, we can do colds, nothing to worry about because we are experienced parents now! We have vaporisers, baby Vicks, saline schnoz spray, quality tissues, baby drugs… we’re all over it.
The first night home, we put bubs to bed looking forward to some quality adult time, maybe with some wine. I went in to check on Jack and he sounded like he was wheezing and struggling to catch his breath. Queue instant parental concern. Lucky we hadn’t uncorked that wine yet.
We called the 24 hour maternal health line who recommended we take bubs straight to emergency. Wow, 8.5 months in and already our first hospital emergency baby visit!
After a very tense ride in the car, the emergency department told us he was struggling to breathe because he has caught viral bronchiolitis but he is big and otherwise healthy, so he would be just fine.
I took him back to the doctor twice and basically was told that we were doing a good job but it was just something he had to ride out and that he would be OK. My beloved and I realised how soft we had become with our sleep intake and started to re enter that dismal head fog that comes with lack of sleep or a newborn in the house.
Sick babies are quite simply crap. Not least because they infect the whole house and don’t sleep but mostly because they frighten the bejesus out of you.
Jack woke up every two or three hours for the first couple of weeks like a newborn. He was struggling to breathe, had coughing paroxysms where he couldn’t catch his breath and would deliberately hold his breath because he was so exhausted by all the coughing.
I was exhausted, sick, the house was a mess, my hair dirtier than it had been since the newborn days, I hadn’t had a minute away from Jack for weeks, we had all eaten primarily from packets for weeks and ABC2 was on far too much for my liking.
By the way, I had NO idea how many 80s Australian soap stars are on Play School! And how cool is The Little Princess cartoon that is narrated by Julian Clary with Jane Horrocks voicing the princess?!
Anyway, I digress.
My point is all the empathy in the world won’t get you through feeling a little frustrated at your tiny sick bub, even though you know they can’t help it and they feel like crap and there’s nothing drastically wrong with them.
My advice? (Though remember, advice is crap, especially mine!) Let it all go, don’t worry about the packet food, your hair, the washing or all the awesome things you think you may have done if you weren’t sick.
Sit back, enjoy 80’s Home and Away actor spotting on Play School and don’t question that Jimmy Giggle has suddenly become attractive even though his best friend is an owl, he wears pajamas and probably needs a hit of helium to get that voice.
Just go with the flow, this too shall pass and your happy, healthy, smiling, sleeping baby should return to you. Kiss their sweaty little brows, wipe the green snot bubbles from their nose and give them lots of cuddles on the couch. Oh and remember to take the tissue out of your nostril before you leave the house!