I have not left my house in four days. To some of you, that might not sound like a big deal; it might even sound idyllic. But for me, it's not that I'm at home baking cookies and cuddling up with one of my many neglected travel magazines. I've been home for four days with two sick kids, sometimes a slightly under-the-weather husband, and a dog. Oh, and twelve to eighteen inches of snow everywhere I look, making it all that much more claustrophobic.
Hey, it's winter in Vermont, and I love a good snow storm, but when I go to bed on Sunday night with a slight dusting on my deck and wake up to this
oh and by the way there was still six inches or so to go...
...plus two snotty and coughing children, Jax still with a slight fever that he'd had since Christmas Day, I knew I wasn't going anywhere. For days.
Which, in itself, isn't the worst thing ever, but we still had that post-holiday clutter going on, and I was getting even more claustrophobic due to the excess of new toys, plus old toys, plus decaying Christmas tree, plus piles of mail and laundry and dishes...well, you get the idea. Which still isn't that big a deal. Except that I had two uber-clingy monkeys who cried when I put them down, left the room, put the wrong socks on, served them the wrong food, refused to make them new food, forced them to take their Tylenol around the clock, and became more and more impatient as the days wore on. I actually yelled at Jax yesterday--and I mean yelled. I have never done that before, and I know I was justified since he had the Christmas lights that were still wrapped around the tree halfway to the kitchen, making the tree tilt at a rather precarious angle, still with all my beloved ornaments on it, but still! Wasn't there a more Donna Reed way to handle that situation other than,
"Jax! Can't you stop TOUCHING things?!"
"Jax! Can't you stop TOUCHING things?!"
So there is my bitching and venting. It's been a long four days, with the novelty of our new toys wearing off and the claustrophobia setting in. But with living in a self-made bunker comes a lot of good things. Like not getting out of pj's, unless we can help it (or unless someone poops their way out). Em's a big fan of that strategy.
Yes, Em rocks her brother's old pj's.
There was also the added bonus of two kids having not much else to do, so they finally turned to each other for company. Well, Jax finally did. You know Em has been waiting for him to have a change of heart since day one. He even let her play in his crib. That was a huge step.
And Jax still absolutely loves his kitchen. He is constantly making me pancakes, with syrup, of course!
And it was all fun and games...
...until yesterday when somebody suddenly got really sick, really quickly.
The runny nose morphed into a full-blown flu, with a sudden fever of 102 accompanied by flushed cheeks and glassy, fever eyes. She started spewing bodily fluid out of most of her orifices, and suddenly I went from exhausted and claustrophobic woman to full-on Mom Mode.
It was around 3 o'clock, after taking a nap with Em because she can't sleep laying down for more than 45 minutes, so she snuggled with me in Mommy and Daddy's bed, propped up on our big pillows. We were in Jax's room and I was feeding her her midafternoon bottle, which she normally loves. I was daydreaming about the nice hot shower I was going to take once JDubbs got home when I could hand the kids off to him for 20 minutes or so. About maybe editing some pictures. About writing this blog post. Then suddenly Em stopped, leaned forward, and let all the formula she had consumed come back out. Slightly alarming, but nothing major with an under-one-year old. What was more alarming was when she did it again three ounces later, but this time with such force it actually made an arc and flew across the room, barely missing Jax. Thank God. Can you imagine how he would respond if she puked on him? And what I would have to do if all three of us were covered in puke? I shudder to think.
Anyway, back to my mom moment. After I cleaned Em up, realized I was as covered in puke as she was, I just pulled my shirt off and started using it to scrub the other puke from Jax's bedroom floor. I was kneeling there, in a sports bra, cleaning up one kid's puke with my own shirt while trying to ascertain whether it had splattered on my other kid, when I realized, this is what has become of my life. There would be no shower for me today. No blogging. No photo editing. And my next thought was, Who cares? Because suddenly Em's bodily functions were more important to me than my own needs, as annoying and exhausting as I would have found this notion twenty minutes earlier. None of it mattered anymore; my baby girl was sick, really sick, and my priorities were reallocated. Even Jax in all his whiny glory couldn't trump fever eyes. Even after I changed Em and myself into clean clothes, only to have her start leaking bodily fluid out the other end all over both of us. Even after, in dinner protest, she raspberried carrots all into my face. Even after JDubbs pulled my delicious ribeye steak off the grill, handed me my plate (after only eating a bowl of Cheerios and a hot dog, no bun, all day. Thanks, Weight Watchers), and the second I sat down to eat she started crying; I just simply asked JDubbs to keep my food warm and headed upstairs for what would be a very long night. Because 102 fevers are nothing to mess with, especially in such a little one.
So Daddy and I took turns with the holding and the not-sleeping and the steamy shower and our new best friend
and we survived a long night that ended up with Em in bed with me and JDubbs asleep on her bedroom floor. Because that's how it is when your babies are sick, no matter what else you thought you might do tonight.
And I'm not trying to toot my own horn or say that I did anything any parent wouldn't do. It's just so remarkable to me how in one vomit-covered moment my own priorities, needs, wants, dinner went out the window and suddenly it was all about my Em. Because she's such a vibrant little girl, and to see her listless, lethargic little body fall asleep in my lap amidst the chaos that is Jax and tv and toys and lights, I knew that something was very much not right. She's usually so nosy and right in all the action. And no matter how sick and tired I was, and still am, of being stuck in my house, I guess it really doesn't matter anymore when priorities shift and one of my favorite little people in the world needs her mommy. All night or all day. That's what I'm here for.
And here she goes again, so I'm off.