The last couple of weeks have been a blur. A blur of coughing, sneezing, congestion, vomiting...cold and flu season this year has pretty much kicked our whole family's butt. It started right before Thanksgiving--A MONTH AGO--and is still ongoing, although everyone seems a little bit better this week. It's been one of those long, drawn-out illnesses that started with TH, spread like wildfire to me and J, seemed to skip Jr., subsided for about a day, then sprang up again with me and finally Jr. last week. There's nothing as pitiful as a baby crying so hard his face is red but you can't hear it because his voice is so hoarse. And the coughing. The coughing! Weeks of coughing in the middle of the night, that annoying kind of cough where you try to stop. but. you. just. can't. stop. coughing. The coughing led to several horrid sleepless nights, because Jr. was still sleeping in bed with us and every time he would finally fall asleep one of us would start coughing and wake him up, and then he would need to nurse, but couldn't nurse well because he was so congested, so he would start crying and coughing, and on and on.
So one night last week we made the somewhat dumb decision to attempt to transition Jr. into sleeping in his crib, in his room, right in the midst of Cold and Flu Hell Week 2009. Maybe we weren't thinking straight. The first night went alright, I guess, with Jr. waking up about 5-6 times. This being our second rodeo our expectations for these types of nights are much lower, so we pretty much knew that the first night or two we'd be up all night, but we knew that if we kept at it he would get used to it eventually. So the second night, I fully expected to be up several times again but hoped that we would all get at least a little bit more rest. Everything started out well. We managed to bathe both kids and in the process give them both a "steam treatment" for their congestion, get everyone dressed for bed, and get our new bedtime routine (TH handles J, and being the "milk truck" I handle Jr.) finished by 8pm. Jr. was cooperative, settling into his Miracle Blanket without a fight for once and even drifting off to sleep in his crib by himself after a little rocking chair time. J was his usual crazed-right-before-bedtime self but fell asleep almost instantly once his light was out. TH and I crept back to our room and for the first time in 11 weeks watched an episode of Dexter together. Success!
Or not. Around midnight, Jr. was amazingly still asleep but I was startled awake by J, who had silently come into our room and was standing right next to my head in that creepy little kid way where they somehow will you to wake up without making a sound. "I need a new shirt," he said.
"What happened? Did you have an accident in your bed?"
"I threw up on my shirt. And on Pandy." Pandy is his panda bear. Great. Vomit clean-up in the middle of the night. So TH got up and started stripping sheets while I changed J's clothes. Problem solved, everyone went back to bed (after a little mini-tantrum about not being able to take vomity Pandy back to bed with him.) One hour later, I heard J coming back down the hall to our room, and before I could ask what was wrong he stopped in the door and I heard the distinctive sound of more upchucking. "He's barfing! Get up, he's barfing again!" TH jumped up and ran J into his bathroom, and while I was trying to find the carpet stuff to clean up the new mess, Jr. started wailing. So I abandoned the carpet and went to attend to Jr. TH was left to change PJ's once again and get J back into bed. Just as I came out of Jr.'s room, as TH was tucking him in, J suddenly sat up, leaned over the side of his bed, and vomited again, all over himself, the floor, the side of the bed, and TH. So we started stripping sheets AGAIN (at this point we'd all been up for another 45 minutes), and as we were getting J settled down Jr. woke up again, and when I went into his room and reached into the crib in the dark to pick him up I put my hand in a pool of vomited milk.
So there we were, TH scrubbing the carpet in J's room and changing sheets for the second time in 2 hours, me changing crib sheets with a crying-but-pitifully-hoarse baby laying on a blanket on the floor, and everyone coughing and sniffling and generally miserable. It was one of those times that is funny when you look back at it, but very unfunny when it's going down. As TH and I met up at the washing machine an hour later, he turned to me and said, "You realize we're washing vomity kids' sheets at 3am."
"Yep," I said.
"I guess we really are parents," he said.
Practice makes perfect
8 years ago