Monday, 13 September 2010

Man flu

Last week was a long one. It had a particularly tantrumy start on Monday morning with a lot of porridge flinging and wiping and general mind-changing. Amid the bafflement of ‘Milk or juice? Ok, milk. Oh, no ok, here’s the juice. Wrong again – milk it is. Or neither… no, the cat doesn’t want it…’ there was a certain amount of shaking coming from upstairs. With husband being ill, I’d left him sick in bed. ‘Daddy must be feeling better,’ I told no one in particular. ‘It sounds like he’s having a shower.’ I continued to field the grumping until we left for nursery. 

On my return, it seemed husband’s preparations for work had taken a noisier turn. As I opened up my laptop, it began to tremble to a sequence of furious thuds from above. I moved suddenly into panic mode – he must have fallen over! Or was he dying? Rushing up the stairs, flinging open the bedroom door, my heart pounded. What would I find? 

There, on the bed, husband lay snuggly (ok, a little sweaty) beneath the duvet.

‘What’s happened?’ I ask with concern, crawling over the bed to study his face. ‘Were you banging?’ The reply came weak, with a tremble. ‘Yes. For over an hour.’ ‘What’s the matter?’ I ask. ‘I feel worse.’ With the help of a thermometer we establish he doesn’t need an ambulance or me to drive him to casualty. He thinks a glass of squeezed orange juice would help matters. And if I could pass him the baseball bat so he could ‘call’ if needs be… ‘I could turn on the baby monitor,’ I suggest, frankly not in all seriousness. ‘That would be good.’

It’s my first real experience of being a mother of two this week. Both sick. One is sweating pints, the other leaking pints of snot. The demand on tissues and citrus is enormous – one wanting her satsumas peeled (or skin back on, once they’re peeled) and the other wanting his oranges and lemons squeezed, sometimes hot, sometimes cold. There’s chicken and noodle soup in the pan and a compost bucket full of toddler-rejects. Come rain or shine, daughter and I have to leave the house everyday, for the plaintive calls of ‘Dada? Dada, dada, dada!’ up through the stairgate are more than I can take. There’s a daddy in the house somewhere, so why won’t he play with me? We get soaked in the park several times, covered in mud which later cakes on the radiator. The ducks eat a lot of bread. I do a lot of washing and buy daughter a pair of purple waterproof trousers. She loves them and refuses to take them off. She eats her breakfast wearing purple waders, wellies and a cinderella dressing gown and tries to leave for nursery dressed the same way. I swallow a lot of vitamin C in a bid to avoid illness. Is manflu catching to females? Surely I can’t avoid the toddler cold with the snot that has been smeared over all surfaces, including my face.

Miraculously, I get away without either. Part of me is willing myself sick, a fantasy of a few days in bed dozing and reading magazines swelling in my imagination. But my sensible side swallows the vitamin C and sleeps in the spareroom. Let’s face it, being bed-bound is a mere fantasy and no one wants to have flu and be a mother of two.

1 comment:

  1. I remember the "Where were you, I've been banging for over an hour" comment vividly, even though it was over 3 years ago now... I have forever since been grateful that my husband is the sort who buries himself under the duvet and asks to be completely ignored when ill. I don't think I could cope with nursing manflu in addition to childcare duties! Hats off to you, Jane!