embracing the mess

Well, I seriously jumped the gun on the last post. That evening, E had a bit of a runny nose, and my intuition caught it but my verbalized assessment was, “I sure hope that’s because we just came in from the wind!” It was actually the beginning of a New Cold.

Before the Old Cold was even over! I don’t know why it’s taking me so long to believe that we could be sick this long, but I resist it and resent it. I’m used to getting a cold like this: one night I start feeling a sore throat coming on. For the next 24 hours, I feel stuffy, achey, tired, ply myself with Emergen-C and fluids and neti pot. Maybe a cough develops. By the next day, I’m on the upswing. And then I’m back to normal. Remember those sweet little blips of yesteryear?

I don’t know if it’s having a baby or the new superviruses or both, but the last two winters have been brutal. While pregnant, I developed a similar long-term, travel-related, bronchial cold that only let go after several weeks and two rounds of antibiotics. This time, while E has jumped from croup to cold virus to pink eye to double ear infection to New Cold, I’ve pretty much hovered with my Old Cold, with that barking, conversation-stopping cough and nasally stuffed head. It’s all probably normal for a baby’s first year but MAN. It makes regular old baby parenting seem easy.

So, despite aiming for a New Era of Wellness last Monday morning, I picked up a goopy kid at the end of the day, hesitantly sent him with the nanny a day after that (still believing maybe, maybe it’s the evolution of the Old Cold??), and by 11am Tuesday morning had confirmed with the doctor over email that it’s probably a New Cold and confirmed with the other baby’s mom that I shouldn’t have him around the other baby. So, I left work and stayed home with E on Tuesday afternoon AND Wednesday when I took him to a two-week follow-up for the ear infection (it was a bad one—still healing two weeks later and yes, it’s a New Cold, but no drugs needed. The pediatrician mentioned that he hasn’t breathed through his own nose in a month.). We had a back-up nanny come Thursday, and our regular nanny (who is one-on-one with E on Fridays) came on Friday. His nose ran and ran and ran and still ran today.

I finally discovered the Nosefrida, an ingenious yet simple device that lets you gently suck the snot out of a baby’s nose. While my first impulse was to gag (weird since I’m usually not grossed out by this kind of thing but it felt like I was going to suck it into my mouth, which wouldn’t actually happen thanks to a filter and a long tube), it was eventually super satisfying to see quantities of snot come out, knowing that it likely represented many rounds of Kleenex dabbing and overly dramatic baby reactions. For the first couple of days, E kind of giggled like it tickled and let me do it. Now, he acts like the thing is an instrument of torture and he swings his head around, pulling threads of snot across his face and then spreading it around with his defiant little fists.

I know snot is our friend and trying to help us get well but we’ve gone through like 12 boxes of Kleenex in a month and I can’t believe I have to go get another 4-pack. (I need a Kleenex as I type this.) Come on, spring! Free us of the Snot!!!

AWe had what felt like a super-busy day although not too much actually happened other than moment to moment survival. After waking up, E crawled down to the end of the bed where there’s a gap between the crib and the siderail, and masterfully turned his body around to go off the (barely raised) bed feet first. As I watched from bed, he initially checked on his two favorite things in the room: the dimmer switch and the humidifier, and then he crawled to the closed bedroom door and banged on it. Let’s go, Mom!

So we began our messy day, from the snotty face wipes to the little almond butter sandwiches that instantly get pulled apart and smeared on hands/face/tray/floor/etc. to big diaper changes to emptied tupperware drawers and bookshelves. New drawers and shelves are being discovered all the time, with such enticing items as a hair dryer and old boxes of pantiliners–I let him play with everything that isn’t actually plugged in, doesn’t come apart into small pieces, and isn’t toxic. Whenever I lose track for a moment of where he is, I hear a splish splash from the bathroom and he has his hands in the toilet.

We had planned on doing a hike to test out the baby backpack in preparation for our upcoming trip to Yosemite (!) but he needed a nap around 11–I didn’t want to miss the window and wasn’t yet ready to get out of the house for a car nap. So I started trying to get him to sleep and he was very resistant, weaving around his crib like a drunken sailor and crying plaintively. After 45 minutes of nursing and waiting, I pulled him into the bed and he went to sleep instantly, staying asleep for 2 hours. While he slept, I lay beside him and did extensive meal planning and grocery shopping on my phone, thank you technology.

Finally, we got out to the playground, ran into one of my neighbor friend’s husband and their son AJ who is 4.5 months older than E (I met them on E’s 3-day-old pediatrician appointment) and AJ was RUNNING, like a gazelle, all over the park. I mean, I just saw him maybe 5 weeks ago and he had just started walking and today he was as graceful as you or me. I almost didn’t recognize him. This is going to go fast!

After a stop at the grocery store, we got ourselves together (after E dumped the water from the humidifier base all over himself requiring a complete outfit change) to drop off some food and baby stuff for dear old friends D and B and new baby O (welcome, O!!) and then met up with my sister for burritos and beer. E fell asleep on the way home at just past 7 and after I got him settled in his crib, I also fell asleep until now, midnight. I kind of slept through the 10pm or so wakeup where I pulled E into the bed with me. Now I’m typing in the dark as E snorfs in his sleep, poor man, the humidifier hums beside him, and the day-old supermoon blasts white light from the sky.

I suspect that partnered moms and/or single moms with more than one kid do not fall asleep at their baby’s bedtime and then wake up disoriented at midnight in all their clothes, with teeth unbrushed and contacts still in, trying to remember what it was they meant to do with their evening. It feels like a really specific byproduct of this specific life circumstance, and I’m not complaining. It feels good (although I wish I could say I needed it from all the exercise (ha ha!)–I think we’re still in a state of rebuilding our immune systems and O may they rebuild! I won’t make any more predictions, just willing the wellness.).

I leave you with a photo taken of us last weekend at a cute little Bunny Hop event in GG Park last weekend looking pretty healthy! I may or may not have worn that top to bed the night before…

Happy Easter and Passover, and may you live healthy. xo



2 thoughts on “embracing the mess”

  1. Yes- I totally remember being blindsighted by all of the colds in the first 2 years!! Prior to having a baby, I had probably had 2-3 colds in 10-years! But post baby, I began getting sick every few months. It was brutal. The good thing is that these little darlings eventually learn to blow their own noses and wash their hands and voila- a sudden return to health! Wishing you and E a good run…for a while.

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