Sickness and sleeplessness

I started this year in full January-cliche mode – energetic, full of ideas for the new year, excited about all the plans I had. I wrote here about our marvellous Mauritius trip and how I’d returned feeling ‘rejuvenated’.

What a reckless word to use. The thing is, when you’re a parent, you just can’t use words like ‘rejuvenated’, ‘revitalised’ or ‘energised’. Either you’re already lying to yourself, or it won’t last long.

We got back from Mauritius and the next day, Reid was a bit out of sorts. At first, I thought it was the adjustment to being home and the late night he’d had the night before. (Our plane landed in the evening and after the whole passports-luggage-customs thing, we screeched into our driveway after 9 pm with Reid screaming in the back. Yes, Reid can handle new environments, but late nights – no.) Then later that day he sprouted a tooth, and we could see another tooth right under the gum. Ah, teething! More explanations for grumpiness.

But then he got a runny tummy that wasn’t going away and a fever that went away but then came back. He vomited all over me at 2 am, and stayed awake most of the night, not really crying, but just moaning for hours and hours in Mom’s arms. My baby who eats everything (except butternut, of all things) now wouldn’t eat at all. So while the nanny and the rest of the family kept telling me it just looked like bad teething symptoms, I still carted him off to the doctor.

Of course, the moment we arrived in the doc’s waiting rooms, Reid acted like he was cured, turning on the charm for the receptionists and giggling at their fish tank. The doctor ran some tests regardless, and we continued to monitor his symptoms during our no-sleep week.

The test results came back a few days later. Reid not only had salmonella but also E.coli bacteria! I was shocked and horrified. The doc said he likely caught something on the plane – possibly from food he ate, but it could have been something he touched (which had also been touched by someone who hadn’t washed their hands). And Reid touches everything. On top of this, he got two new teeth in the same week. The poor kid.

Sadly (but also thankfully, because yay for medicine), he had to go on his first course of antibiotics. Previously, I’d been so pleased that our fairly healthy baby had avoided antibiotics. But here we were, scratching off another baby first. The medicine’s packaging depicted a grinning dinosaur and stated ‘tasty banana flavour’ so at least there was that.

I’ve tried not to dwell too much on the helplessness I felt – helpless that I couldn’t have protected him from getting sick (short of staying home and not going anywhere, ever); helpless that hugs and boobs and bum-patting were not enough to cure him. But I guess I’m glad that my instincts were right – that I knew it was more than just teething and I took him to the doc – and that despite my own exhaustion, I made it through the horrid week somewhat sane and still conscious enough to comfort him.

Reid is feeling much better now and we have had a bit more sleep this week. I don’t think I’ll be saying I feel ‘rejuvenated’ any time soon, but I can say, without hesitation, that I feel very grateful for my healthy, happy baby. And of course, for the extra zzzs.


Sometimes they surprise you

We’ve just returned from a trip to Mauritius. It’s been a week of sunshine, snoozing, swimming, and sipping on pina coladas. I’ve returned feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle the year – unsurprising, given the week of fun, family (nine of us) and food (this place has the biggest, most elaborate buffet I have ever seen). What was surprising, though, was my child.

When my lovely mother-in-law first booked this holiday, I was, of course, unbelievably excited … so excited that I sent her and the rest of the family all the emojis. Well, not ALL the emojis, but the grinning face, the sun, the bikini, the splash of water, the octopus, the dolphin, the tropical fish, the tropical drink, the cocktail glass, the grapes, the watermelon, the pineapple, the aeroplane, the swimmer, the dancer and the party popper.

But while I was evidently very excited, I was also a tad concerned. A baby (!) plus airports, aeroplanes, time differences, new environments … eek. How would Reid react? I manage many of my worries through planning and problem-solving, so I spent months thinking and thinking and thinking about all the worst-case baby-travel scenarios (mostly involving screaming) and how we’d handle them. Thankfully, by the time we left, I’d realised that parenting doesn’t allow for much upfront planning and problem-solving … so after all that thinking, I’d resolved to roll with it.

But guess who, it turns out, can roll with it even better than me? Reid.

He didn’t mind moving from cot to car at 5.30 am. He didn’t mind drinking his milk at the international departures drop-off zone. He gobbled up his breakfast in the check-in queue while giggling at his grandmother and looking around in awe and excitement. He smiled charmingly throughout boarding and then promptly fell asleep on take-off. Later, he passed out on the bus! Without any fuss. And the whole holiday mostly went just like that: cool kid Reid, holidaying happily and not giving two hoots about being away from home.

And if that wasn’t impressive enough, he started sleeping better at night too. Our Reid has never been a good sleeper, so I’d imagined we were going to battle getting our zzzs in a new room with a new cot. But Reid slept better in the hotel’s bright pink camp cot than ever before.

So I’m feeling so proud of this little person – our laughing beach boy in board shorts, our smiling baby in a swimsuit, our sticky child in a high chair, our crawling man on the move, our great globetrotter, our love.