Thursday, October 29, 2009

H1N1 - A Survival Guide

H1N1 - A Survival Guide

A first-hand, from-the-trenches guide to getting through this year's 'flu without losing what's left of your mind.


They aren’t kidding when "they" say that your child will likely have a high fever for at least five days. My eldest’s has swung wildly for almost an entire week now: 100.1 to 104.2 and all points in between.

To survive:

Buy three bottles of your regular brand of pain/fever medicine, plus the brands that all your Mummy friends have recommended via Facebook. Place them in strategic rooms in the house, so that you don't have to go searching/rummaging/up the stairs, as needed.

Be liberal with measurements -eschewing the stupid fiddly meds injection thing for an over-sized, blue plastic spoon. Make train/motorcycle/car noises at the appropriate times to gently encourage youngest child (who until this sickness, thought medicine WAS candy) to open his mouth.

When he stubbornly refuses, tackle him, pin him down and hold his nose until he does.

Repeat the phrase: This is for your OWN good, son.

Wish for Bailey's.


Don't kid yourself - this cough is a sneaky, brain-exploding Hell of a cough. All the literature suggests a dry cough over a "junky" one, but frankly, that's all crap.

This cough is the wake-you-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-to-vomit-up-your-lung sort of cough.

This cough makes you count the seconds (feels like minutes) between the wracking of your child's small frame and their next breath while holding yours, frantically searching your brain for some sliver of CPR training, circa 1991.

To survive:

Fumble for one of four bottles of cough syrup you've purchased especially for this 'flu and pour it into a green over-sized plastic spoon. (Feel some sort of smug-good-Mummy-ness at having colour-coded your med-shovelling devices. Then realize that in the dark of night, blue and green look the same and that you've likely been overdosing and mixing meds all week long. Have vague, fuzzy recollection of reading articles that vilify the use of cough meds in small children. Shrug. Pour liberally.)

Sit on oldest child who thinks that mimicking his brother is FUNNY and won't open his mouth. Pry open his mouth with a teensy bit more force than necessary, while growling, "See? It's bubble-gum flavoured. You like bubble gum and anyways, this is for your OWN good, son!"

Wish for Bailey's.


When they say headache, they mean "it will feel as though your brain cannot possibly be contained within the confines of your skull. As though it's trying to escape through any orifice, including but not limited to your nose, forehead and eyeballs."

To survive:

Medicate accordingly. When your youngest child tries to jam YOUR finger up his nose and into his eye sockets to alleviate the pressure, let him try. At 2 a.m. having rushed in FOUR times to witness him clutching his head and crying, a finger lodged up the nasal cavity might be the best of what's around.

Wish for Bailey's.

Body Aches and Chills:

A given really, as zillion degree fevers tend to make most of us a bit achy.

However, as a parent you may not be able to differentiate between fever ache and the kind that comes from crouching over your child's bed for hours in the night or falling asleep with your back against the windowsill at an angle which was comfortable at 11 but now at 4, isn't.

Ditto chills from sleeping on the bare floor of their room, using the dirty clothes basket as a pillow.

To survive:

Wish for Bailey's.

Staying Home (or: Domestic Torture 101)

All news reports/articles/Health Unit bulletins and health care providers are recommending that you stay home for the duration of your illness, until at least 24 hours AFTER the fever has abated naturally.

To this I say: Are you 'effing kidding me?

I have somehow managed to stay at home with my feverish/hacking/pale-faced children for days now. In fact, I have been so dutiful about not leaving our piggy 'flu pigsty, that the mail-lady knocked on the door yesterday to make sure everyone was OK as the mail's been piling up alarmingly. (Note to self: Mail lady gets Tim Horton's gift card for Christmas)

Today? Not a friggin' chance. We're out of bread, milk, orange juice and toilet paper. I have already gone through my craft supplies for the rest of the YEAR and if I have to watch "Cars" one more time, I will hurl myself out the window.

The boys are - when properly medicated - running amok and fed up with Lego and puzzles and the "let's-help-Mummy-fold-the-laundry-game." Yes, I could call friends and have them pick up much-needed supplies.

Or, I could wait until the children have settled in for the night (and my husband's home to ignore – ahem, excuse me -"not hear!" the fruit of his loins hack up their own lungs via the monitor) but... I'm not doing it.

To survive:

Shower, dress, sanitize and Lysol your littles. And then march out the door because you can.

Because the children need fresh air and to know that yes, there is a world outside of the boob tube.

Because you need to remember that there is life and movement and HOPE outside of your own germ-infested house. Because you've grown tired of tossed whatever's-in-the-crisper and pasta for supper.

Buy cookies and Fruit Loops when your kids ask because they've barely eaten all week and frankly, you're feeling a little bit guilty about the whole "sit-on-the-child" thing.

Buy Bailey's. quick. Be stealthy.

Do NOT make eye contact with anyone, lest they judge and reveal your sickness to others.

Don't let them see your cart piled high with sixteen bottles of sanitizer and three containers of Lysol wipes you SWORE you'd never waste your money on.

Sing loudly should any of your children start coughing.

Race your infected selves home as quickly as you can. Break out the cereal bowls and crack open the Bailey's. Who cares if it's not yet noon, because today is about celebration: So far?

You're surviving.

Bottoms up!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Flattened by the 'flu...

Oink, oink!

It appears as though the piggies have descended upon the House of Leprechaun - poor Reds! The H1N1 'flu is sweeping through Eastern Ontario at the moment and has made a most unwelcome stop in our home.

Matthew was fine on Friday morning. By late afternoon his sporadic coughing gave me pause and by bedtime, I KNEW he was getting a cold, at the very least. Matthew's eyes are his giveaway, set as they are against pale, freckled skin. When he's coming down with something, his eyes red-rim quickly.

Matthew came awake around 9 that evening, crying and feverish - 103.7 - pretty stinkin' high for a kid who'd exhibited no "real" symptoms of anything but hyperactivity two hours previous. Save the eye thing, of course.

His fever spiked (104.2) and waned (100.1) all weekend, interspersed with bouts of nausea and vomiting. The cough, mysteriously absent until yesterday, returned with a vengeance and the poor boy has barely eaten in four days.

Luke was mildly feverish on Saturday, but rallied well. I assumed that this bug had passed him by and was so relieved. Alas, Mr. Luke is also fair-skinned and his gorgeous blue peepers give away the sickies, too - and his were off first thing this morning.

By noon they were BOTH coughing, though Matthew more than Luke. Neither had a fever, unless you count the wicked case of cabin fever.

(Insanity-making = two normally-active boys + indoors for four days + the 'flu)

The boys wanted a car ride, so I obliged them and we drove to Daddy's work, as a surprise. Normally, the Reds would have bounded gleefully from the car upon seeing Mark, but not today. Today they sat quietly, dully watching him through the window. Unmoved. Uninterested.

Just plain UN-Red.

So, I took them to an empty park and let them run about in the leaves. The didn't run so much as dutifully follow. All my joyful kicks and crunching in the foliage failed to elicit even one "Whoop!" so I gave up and bundled them into the car for home.

We "played" in leaves out front for about 15 minutes until the Reds were begging to come inside. They picked through dinner and then Luke cried to get down, his meal virtually untouched on his plate, which frankly, worried me a LOT.

By six, both boys were medicated and pj'd and barely hung on through three bedtime stories. When they both slumped onto my lap in tired little heaps, I gave in and upstairs we went.

Both: OUT by 6:30.

Luke has woken up three times now, clutching his head. I had a terrible fever-driven headache on Sunday, so know well his agony. Fought to get a spoonful of Advil down his throat and failed miserably at getting his temperature.

As of this writing, both Matthew and Luke are sleeping fitfully - there's a little bit of crying and a whole lotta coughin' going on.

So for the record? Swine 'flu sucks ASS.

Edited to add: Luke just came up crying and trying to get me to jam MY finger in his nostril and eye sockets, to dull the pain in his head.

Effin' awesome.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Facebook Status Updates...

I spend a great deal of time on Facebook. Catching up, ruminating, stalking. Wasting time.

Needless to say, I often update my status to reflect both the day's changes and my mood, by proxy. Here then, a recent selection:

Sunday: listening to Matthew plot his escape. He's been sent to his room and is up there fake-crying and mumbling to himself about he is NOT going to live here ANYmore.
Sun at 4:57pm

...has been informed by her beloved firstborn that he is NOT happy that I sent him to his room, nor is he happy with the tone I used whilst scolding him. Apparently, he's also tired of sharing with Luke and why can't I keep Luke in the bathroom so that Matthew can play in peace? Hmm...I wonder....
Sun at 6:30pm

...(d)id you know that there are not one, not two, not three, but SIX monsters living in my room? There are. Matthew keeps hollering down the stairs at me: "One more, Mummy! I see ONE MORE MONSTER! AGGGGHHH!!! It ran out of your closet and is in yo...ur drawer where your shirts go!" And yes, before you ask, they HAVE seen "Monsters Inc." Just last week, in fact. I'll just KEEP the bad parenting award, shall I?
Sun at 8:44pm

Monday: watching Luke coat a rock with orange peel and pretend to eat it. Scratch that, he's TRYING to eat it and saying, "Mmmm...rock orange!" Someday, this child will run the world.
Yesterday at 8:43am


...thinks the universe is a strange and wondrous place. William, Sweet William and Pinky's Dad is from Bowmanville. What are the chances? No WONDER I like them so much!
2 seconds ago

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pinky's Dream:

Pinky's name is Isabelle. She is William, Sweet William's sister and has the same wide, open, adorable face.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Leprechaun # 2 is TWO!

Sweet Luke,

How I adore you, my darling not-quite-baby! Two. Such joy you've brought to our lives in a mere two years. Thank for every blessed moment.

Thank you for your innate sweetness and your natural exuberance for all things yummy - food, dirt, boobies and freezies, not necessarily in that order. How I wish I could capture and bottle the light of your smile, the sound of your unabashed and surprisingly robust laughter.

I wish I could freeze the little moments that make up our days together - at play (or war) with Matthew, rushing headlong into the backyard (shoes on the wrong feet, sweater undone) delighted to be free! How you remind me of myself. Of your uncle. Of childhood, period.

You are loud, Lukey Gavan. So loud. And so very, very present in every.single.moment. The world is not as quiet with you in it, but as predicted, it is seldom boring. You burst into your day, a room, our lives and it's virtually impossible not to take notice and grin. Impossible not to fall in love with you a little more.

Even when your temper (often) flares you make me proud. Proud that you can so clearly convey what it is that you want. Your grasp and use of language astounds and delights me, Luke. I love how you sing along and make up words to the bits you don't know. Love how your every movement is deliberate and sure. Love that almost every day, you find a reason to dance.

Thank you for cuddles every morning and for (FINALLY!) sleeping through the night. For missing nursing as much as I do. For waiting at the top of the stairs until I turn around and say, "Ready!" and then hurling yourself into my arms, laughing, trusting, breathless.

Thank you for loving Matthew as much as you do - for driving him crazy, wanting to be and do EVERYthing he does. It warms my heart to see the bond between you - brothers are built-in best friends, after all.

Thank you for eating anything I cook, but loving grapes and kielbasa best. For random "I want to hug you, Mummy!" moments that melt my heart and for trying so hard to wink. For not yet knowing how to blow your nose and for waving to each and every city bus that passes when we walk Matthew to school.

Thank you for not needing stitches (yet) and for reminding me to put on your hat before we go outside. For finding my keys and closing cupboard doors behind you. For screeches of delight when I run the vacuum and for "helping" me take out the recycling in your pyjamas, rain or shine.
Thank you for loving books so much you must eat them and for your obsessive need to wash your hands whenever we go someplace new or different. For thinking that brushing your teeth is fun and that cold medicine tastes delicious. For trying new things without hesitation, especially if there's a chance you may get hurt. Or dirty. Or both.

You are all boy, Lukey Pookers. And you are all mine. Thank you, most of all, for that. For choosing me and giving me these incredible moments to savour and rejoice over. You are my very soul, little boy. Having you to call my own, I am blessed beyond words.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Luke.

I love you.