‘Tis the season of red, runny noses, sore throats, coughs and sniffles, curling up in a huge woolly jumper on a dark Winters evening and indulging in a large mug of hot chocolate whilst you take a does of trash TV and hope you’re feeling better soon.
That is, if you don’t have a baby.
Otherwise, ’tis the season of losing a mitten each time you go out, holding onto the pram for dear life as you slide down from your uphill home and hope the bus hasn’t broke down again so you can make a Calpol dash, again whilst most likely allowing the flu to power up as you pace back and forwards trying to shield yourself and your little one from icy winds.
‘Tis the time for extortionate heating bills as you cannot justify nor can you risk the simple ‘wrap up and add a layer’ advice that you adhered to for many years as a non-parent. If the house isn’t the temperature of the sun then your baby must be freezing.. right?
Unsurprising, tis’ the season of many more sleepless nights whilst the coughs through the baby monitor compete with those of yours and your Partner’s and everyone suddenly snores louder than you ever thought possible. The song of coughs and snores are joined by a harmony of really quite terrible baby cries unlike the usual ones that awake you from your slumber. Even during the times when baby sleeps you’re awake checking their temperature and worrying over whether or not they’re okay whilst questioning whether or not you are too.
‘Tis a time for mountains of tissues and endless washing of bedding, upholstery and pyjamas as you attempt to wipe, wash and Dettol the germs away.
But above all, ’tis the season of firsts.
First time having someone cough directly into your eyeball or sneeze into your mouth which, much to my horror, is absolutely in no way a first any more.
First time taking showers made up of nothing but drool and snot.
First time leaving the house completely and utterly on edge and aware of every cougher, sneezer and sniffler around you, not to mention preparing every self taught ninja move in your mental book to prevent any poignant passer-by from attempting to come into your bubble, touch or god forbid kiss your baby.
First time buying infant medicine, googling home remedies and regularly questioning the need to dial 111 or book an emergency GP appointment daily despite knowing deep down that it is unnecessary and to just weather the storm, whilst still remaining reasonably vigilant (which is incredibly difficult to do as a Mama).
First time being unable to hide away and feel sorry for yourself whilst poorly due to this being the first time feeling so poorly whilst caring for a completely dependent baby who is also very poorly.. for the first time.
First time not having the option to simply call in sick.
First time witnessing another person being under the weather and feeling completely heartbroken. Feeling totally and utterly helpless despite doing everything in your power to try and make them feel even marginally better.
This has been our reality for the past fortnight and it has not only been a big shock to the system to say the least but it was also a wake up call to continue to expect the unexpected and prepare for anything.
See, as my baby is approaching the first year mark I am finally able to say, with pride I might add, that I am beginning to really get the hang of things and there are many more ups than downs which may be a reflection of that. I’m prepared for leaps, I know how to cope and deal with teething and the tell tale signs before it begins to unleash it’s terrible wrath and I’m used to the wake ups whilst enjoying them being as frequent as they once were.
I think it’s safe to say that during this ninth month I allowed myself to become a little more complacent than I have since giving birth. I don’t mean with my efforts, dedication or general parenting, what I mean by that is I think that routine and the chug of everyday life made me slightly more relaxed and at ease and maybe that’s what opened the door for trouble.
What we as a family had caught was that pesky common cold as opposed to full blown flu but the line between can seem very faint when it comes to watching your baby suffer through it and it has been anything but easy nor do I expect the next hundred to be any easier but I will happily obtain and cherish my I survived the first flue season with a baby badge thank you kindly.
I’ve learned that despite efforts to prevent and protect from catching things and bringing them into the home, more times than not they will probably find their way in uninvited regardless and there’s little you can do to stop that but what you can do is cherish it.
Make the most of the cuddles in all their snotty glory and just savour this time where your baby needs you and wants you to put down everything but them.. and just hold them.
Everything else can wait.
Grab a multi-pack of Kleenex, wrap up in your favourite blanket, rest baby’s head upon your chest and your head upon theirs. Pick up that remote and put your feet up for once; it’s what you both need.