Last week, two of my three boys were hit with the lurgy – they were so inactive that one day I found myself making hot cross buns just to fill the time. As soon as they began to bounce back I was struck down too – the first week of my Easter holidays, and the week my husband was going to be away for work. I think this is what they call Sod’s law. I felt so ill it hurt to move and found myself having to arrange for the eldest to be taken to school and for the little ones to be collected and looked after (a huge hooray for all my fabulous helpers).
No-one enjoys being ill, but it’s a truly miserable experience when you’re a mum of small children. The last time I went to see a doctor about myself, I could have easily hugged him when he said that I’d probably give him a slap if he told me to go home and rest. I decided that hugging him wasn’t appropriate, but I was overjoyed that someone understood how impossible it is to be ill when you have small children in your house. Whilst toddlers might be able to understand (and repeat several times a minute) that mummy isn’t feeling well, they have no idea that it is also necessary for them to amend their usual behaviour in order to help mummy feel better. They don’t understand, for example, that mummy would definitely be more comfortable without a small child rolling around on top of her while she tries to sleep.
The lurgy struck on Sunday and of course any sensible mum would send dad and all the children out to enjoy the delights of soft play for a few hours. But with Twin #2 still not quite better this wasn’t an option, meaning all children were at home all day. I don’t think any of the following have helped my recovery:
– 7am – in bed having been up all night when Twin #1 (Trouble) bounds in wanting cuddles. He leaps onto the bed and lunges towards me, resulting in a painful headbutt. He tells me I’ve hurt his head. I tell him it’s unfair to blame me.
– Twin #2 (Not-quite-so-much-trouble) arrives – the duvet has gone and is now being used for hide-and-seek down the other end of the bed. In my head I start planning our not-even-happening-yet loft conversion which, rather than the den for boys that I had previously imagined, now most definitely features adult sleeping quarters upstairs .
– After a sleep I venture to the sofa. All three decide it’s the perfect opportunity to play doctors. One boy checks my mouth, another my ear and a third repeatedly whacks my knee and tells me to say ‘Ow’. I’m not sure where he did his training but I won’t be making an appointment with him again.
– Trouble asks for a cuddle which is nice. Cuddle lasts 5 seconds, after which he trots off to get cushions. Within 2 minutes I am buried under cushions and have two boys sitting on top of me. Cuddles are not working.
– Having abandoned the cuddles, Trouble and Not-quite-so-much-trouble decide they’d like stories. They wrestle over Spot’s Noisy Peek-a-boo (who wouldn’t?) with which they end up whacking me over the head. Those noisy books are heavy. Story time isn’t working either.
Whilst being sat on / headbutted / attacked with a Spot book I am asked the following questions on a constant loop: ‘Is mummy poorly?’, ‘Is mummy happy?’, ‘Is mummy asleep?’, ‘Does mummy need medicine?’, ‘Do I need medicine?’, ‘Can I have snack?’, ‘Can I have more snack?’, ‘When are mammoths coming back?’ (this is the 4 year old).
With the non-stop noise and destruction, being sat on and bashed around the head, school runs to organise and meals to figure out, is it any wonder that the very thought of being ill as a mum actually makes you feel ill?