We spend a lot of time, especially when children are little telling them to share. The phrase in our house is ‘sharing’s caring’ – which started ironically but had stuck, like many of these things do.
The Bear Cub is getting to grips with this in his own little way. Whilst he still snatches the odd toy from his baby sister, he’s starting to swap with her instead; offering up an alternative so she doesn’t end up in tears – which means he doesn’t end up crying too! He’s a sensitive little soul and her getting upset is guaranteed to result in a wobbly bottom lip from him, especially if he’s the reason for it.
He’s not so good at sharing the other half; Mummy is still his favourite and he isn’t keen on anyone getting in on her cuddles or attention. As his speech is improving, we’re spotting that he’ll ask for ‘baby go to Daddy’ – leaving the way clear for a bear hug for the Bear Cub!
But children being children, they don’t just share the good stuff. Disease and pestilence currently rule our house; as they harvest EVERY germ, bug and virus they seem to come into contact with on what seems like a weekly basis. At present, it’s a cold. I’m the only one who seems to have escaped it (for now!) but everyone else has the same puffy, congested and tired look.
The biggest issue is mucus. The sheer amount of snot that I’ve had to wipe away in the past two or three days would probably fill a swimming pool; it’s a relentless, free flowing and sticky mass of ooze that won’t seem to ease up. I should buy shares in Kleenex or Andrex – there’s a toilet roll in every room in the house at the moment, along with a load of discarded tissues strewn around. It’s like Tracey Emin decorated.
Worst still, we caught the Pig Dog chewing on one that had drifted to floor level the other day – a new low, even for her!
The Little Boofuls, as ever, has it worse. Her immune system is shocking at the moment so she gets a dose of the latest epidemic every time. With the Bear Cub being at nursery, he likes to bring his work home with him so we end up doubling up on anything that’s going round. Nursery is essentially Ground Zero for any illness – look throughout history, I’ll wager that everything from the common cold to the Great Plague probably started with a group of kids and some lego.
She’s cheerful in patches but clingy, leading to my already cold ridden other half having to work twice as hard to appease her while I’m tucked away in the spare room working. I help where I can but can’t deny I’m probably better off upstairs, as the love of my life sinks further into a paracetamol fuelled pit of despair waiting for me to clock off and relieve her from the torture of parenting whilst poorly.
Because she’s so congested, the Little Booful’s sleep patterns go out of the window. Keeping her upright is the key – along with having a vat of Olbas oil on standby. Some nights, the only way to achieve this is to sit up with her on the sofa keeping her as vertical and as still as possible – something I have spent years training for in preparation for this exact moment. The other half is still fascinated that I can stay in one place for as long as I do and even get some sleep, with the added benefit that she can have the bed to herself!
Another unfortunate side effect to our baby girl having a cold, aside from the bogies; Puke. White, milky, globular vomit that arrives randomly across the day, covering her and everything around her. There are times when I look like I’ve been attacked by a squadron of seagulls with food poisoning. She’s generally a refluxy baby, but add congestion or a temperature and her body chooses to protest whenever it can.
The washing machine thinks it’s being punished as it works through the multiple loads over the course of the last week. Clothes dryers full of drying garments block our path in the kitchen and even in my office. I’m hoping I haven’t got too many video calls scheduled or it’ll look like I’ve started working from a launderette.
And as a final flourish, the Little Boofuls is teething, so we’re also getting our fair share of toxic poo to add to the mix. Her farts are so loud, I thought an adult had to have done them. Once the house has stopped shaking, the smell starts to pervade our nostrils leaving us amused, concerned and appalled in equal measure. How can anything that cute produce something that putrid?!
I’m just waiting to get my dose of cold. In the meantime, I’m doing what any dad can and should do – life goes on so trying to keep on top of the day to day stuff and look after the other half where I can is the least I can do. I know that any illness I get will result in just having to get on with it; women with children to look after are strangely intolerant of man flu and the suffering that accompanies those who are struck down in their prime from such a debilitating condition…
We’ll get to the end of it soon enough, but we know it won’t be long till the next time. Sharing may well be caring but all I know is that sharing is collectively wearing us out!