Monday, November 28, 2005

Happy Holidays... Atchoooo!

Here is how Thanksgiving works for myself, my husband (Joshua) and our three kids: Thomas & Elijah (9-month-old twins) and Joseph (3 years old).

Thanksgiving Eve: Thomas spent almost the entire day whimpering and acting pathetic. He was obviously getting sick, but it just seemed to be a stuffy nose so I ignored it until around 7:00 p.m. when I realized that he had been hardly coherent and/or awake for any portion of the day. At this point, taking his fever into consideration, we rushed him to the after-hours pediatrician (our neighbor, luckily, was on call that evening) who looked him over and found that he also had a very sore throat (of the non-strep variety) but nothing wrong that could be helped by antibiotics or medicine. Diagnosis: give the baby pain reliever and patiently wait it out.

Thanksgiving Day: After a very difficult night with Thomas (who didn't want to sleep unless being held), we had a groggy morning and noted that Elijah was following his one-minute-older brother's example by coming down with the same thing (...inevitable, I'm sure). Joseph, of course, also had the cold but to a much smaller extent. We buckled all three sick children and two sick parents into the car to try to put on a happy face for Josh's relatives but the festivities were cut a bit short when Elijah vomited forcefully all over me after dinner. While this was highly entertaining for those around me, I decided it was time to leave to go get a change of clothing. After a change of clothing, we dropped by to see my relatives who were, luckily for the five of us, mostly on their way out. Elijah decided to make the most of the day by repeating his earlier performance and vomiting all over his Grandma's carpet. We ended the excitement by looking all over Orem to find a store open so we could buy some "Pedialyte" to try to rehydrate the boys who were quickly becoming weaker and more dehydrated. After a long, rather unfestive day, we all went home to try to get some rest.

Day After Thanksgiving: 95% of the day was spent holding Elijah and Thomas closely while they coughed and sneezed in our faces, wiped their noses on our shirts and whimpered mercilessly. The house got dirtier and dirtier and the babies got more and more dehydrated...

Day After the Day After: After boasting the evening before that this illness didn't seem to be affecting me as badly as it affected the twins, I woke up with a raging headache and wondering who had dropped the ton of bricks on me. I spent a good portion of the day in bed, holding Thomas, and trying to sleep while Josh tried to tidy up the house for some distant relatives (who we had never met before) who needed a place to stay for three weeks.....

Day Before Today: Call us faithless if you must, but church was not even an option for me on a day like this. I spent a lot of time either in the bathtub or shower, trying to find a way to breathe again. Josh spent the entire morning cleaning the house for our guests who were delayed by the bad weather. They arrived in the afternoon and we were relieved to see that their faces were not similar to any of the ones we had seen on "Most Wanted" posters. We started to feel better in the evening when we were invited over to see my mom and siblings, who were willing to risk the cold germs to give us a break by holding the babies for us.

Today: Back to the pediatrician who found that both of the twins were suffering from ear infections. We decided to add insult to injury by giving them flu shots and then force-feeding them a liquid antibiotic. At least their fevers are down, they look a little more hydrated and they're actually starting to perk up and crawl around on their own again. So things are looking up for now. Tempers are slowly improving, I no longer wish I could rip my head off altogether because of congestion and headaches, and the twins will soon have healthy ears again. Of course, about three hours ago, Joseph started grabbing his stomach and saying, "Mommy, mommy my side hurts... my side hurts... hold me, Mommy..." so you never know....

Strangely enough, these few days of illness have been precious to me despite the obvious trials. I’ve had a chance to sit back, relax and enjoy my children without distractions. I’ve rediscovered how precious an infant can be while he is snuggling in my arms. A few days ago, Thomas was awakened from a nap while I was holding him and he looked up and looked around the room at the people sitting around, then got a concerned look on his face. He looked up and saw me holding him, briefly smiled, relaxed and fell back asleep. At moments like that, I realize that family is what matters is the most.

And that is what the holidays are really all about. Thank heaven for little boys and thank heaven for little colds.