Since the second week of March, there visited upon us, back-to-back, non-stop illness in one form or another. I think it began when I stayed out all night in the cold to grab him a spot in a highly popular local daycare. I'd heard the stories that people "lined up the night before" and I was thinking this meant perhaps 10pm or midnight. Registration wouldn't open until 8am but when did I end up lining up? 5pm the night before.
That's right. Twelve, perhaps fifteen crazy-ass parents lined up in the cold outside a daycare for 15 hours until those blessed doors opened for 8am registration. My parents took him for me and, unlike most of the other parents in line, I had no partner to "switch off" with. My body was cozy. Yes, it was early February, and I had donned every layer in my closet, but my feet were freezing! I begged everyone to let me keep my spot while I raced home and put on my cross-country ski boots. They were gracious enough to allow it. Hell, it actually became a really neat, bonding time with some funky people. There was a guitar, a ukelele. Everyone sang, told jokes. Someone had set up a tent. A couple of guys brought a propane heater. And when one of the spouses showed up close to midnight with a bottle of bourbon or scotch, we were suddenly figures in some Tom Waits song because by that hour, let me assure you, none of us cared we were all swigging from it like Depression-era, train-hopping hobos.
Singing the Sheep Dip Blues
Of course, come 8am when other dazed, sleepy parents trickled in who had not heard about the night-before-lineup-rumour-that-turned-out-to-be-true, the sudden realization that perhaps waltzing into a daycare to sign your child up with the reek of bourbon breath was perhaps not the best first impression to make dawned on all of us, but by then it was too damn late (or early) and we were too exhausted and frozen to care. We were only too happy to be herded like sheep into the warmth of the actual building where we could begin to defrost, our hands shaking as we filled out the necessary paperwork, faint smiles playing around our frozen lips, proud of our sacrificial selves in the knowledge we had secured our bairn with a spot the next autumn.
A bonus: the knowledge that for the next few years, we as parents could walk our wee ones into the daycare pointing at the ground, saying, "See this slab of concrete? Your mother lay on that all night in the WINTER so that you could come here..."
Okay. Okay. I refuse, as long as I possibly can, to play the guilt trip card, but it's fun to dream and giggle over it now. I actually met some amazing people that night and thought, "Wow. These are the parents of the kids my child will be hanging with over the next few years. Cool."
The downside, of course, was the sinusitis that ensued. I quickly passed that on to my wee boy. And that, combined with the emotional stress of parting ways (me to work, him to daycare full days), brought on pneumonia for him. This was followed almost immediately by full-blown ear infections in both ears for me (loss of balance and hearing in my right ear for close to two weeks), followed by a bout of pink eye for him and then the nastiest gastro bug working its way through our region hit us both with all its might.
You give me fever
He vomited Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I took him to emerg the Thursday and Saturday in between neverending loads of puke-piled laundry. My tummy waited until Monday to begin vomiting. I lost 8lbs in one week. And having already lost about 15lbs over the winter carrying him on my back in his carrier while we walked around town, I dipped well below my weight before I got pregnant.
For close to two months, not one week went by that one or both of us did not end up in emergency at the local hospital and/or our family doctor's office when we could get in: Sinusitis, Pneumonia, Otitis Media, Conjunctivitis, Gastrointitis. Somebody-save-us-nowitis. Bang, bang, bang, bang. By all accounts, our bodies were rejecting this huge transition in our lives and screaming, "We're not ready yet for this! We don't think either of you are ready!"
I spent almost as much time at home or in medical buildings as I did at the office and just as I'd returned, too. The other parents of wee ones on staff gave slight sympathetic nods and chuckles, recalling their own germ-induced onslaughts, I suppose.
Since last I posted, my wish was to turn my focus solely onto him for a spell during this massive transition back to work and into fulltime daycare, though it quickly became obvious I would have no other choice regardless. We have been going through extreme emotional and physical change (he is growing like a weed and I'm withering away to nothing). This blog o' mine remained sorely neglected. I wish to thank those of you who've visited, commented, discovered, read and stuck around.
In two weeks, he will, unbelievably, turn two years old and he is now, thankfully, thriving in his new environment. Got a note the other day from the daycare to say how proud they are of him that two days in a row when he saw another child crying, he went over and hugged him. He has moved from consolee to consoler already. I fought back tears reading that note, but the tears won, let me tell you. And even though I feel this kind of caring and compassion is just in his nature, I'm going to take full credit while I can. We've been, for the most part, on our own since he was born. Family and friends have their own busy lives going on, understandably. Such is Life. And we are surviving. Better than surviving. And, when in dire need, kind souls dropped soup to us, baked loaves, tucked chocolate and sympathy inside our screen door. We are blessed where we live.
The Dragon of Germ-ridden Daycare has been slain now, I hope. At any rate, I'm lowering my sword, dropping my shield and slowly raising my visor.
We are finally surfacing into health again, resuming happiness, and opening our minds and hearts to a Spring that has yet to really show herself. We call to Her now. Come, come to us! We need you. We're ready.
We're ready now.