“Remember that time when Steve fell ill?”
We have been going through a sick week. No make that a sick month-and-a-half. First Ryan fell sick. Twice. Twice, he drove us up the wall with tantrums and refusing to eat and those border-line temperatures where you’re not sure whether you should rush to the hospital or not. Next the father and grandfather had an itchy, irritating messy battle with conjunctivitis which thankfully didn’t spread any further. Next the grandmother erupted into a coughing fit which everyone knows takes the longest time to heal. But all I prayed was that the baby wouldn’t fall ill. But he did. And so did I. Double bummer!
So now the both of us are alternating between blocked nose/runny nose/ cough/everything-else-uncomfortable. Why would the Evil Flu bug even attack a 3.5 month old cheerful infant? Geez…
But baby Steve, he’s been a gentleman about it. Just coughing a bit, scrunching up his tiny face in confusion, and breathing noisily (and by default looking rather helpless and cute). But my spirits have been down. Plummeting deep down, courtesy sickness, maternal guilt and the impending Monday.
So today morning, (early morning 3 am), Steve and I are semi-awake doing our feeding and diaper ritual. I. Everyone else is sound asleep and I am sniffling by myself while I listen with a heavy heart as Steve nurses. Not a contented happy sucking sound, but a struggling, grunting sound. Poor baby.
And then there I go, just rolling in a mass of self-induced pity. Guilt. And irrational worries. You name it.
Will the cough develop into something worse? Did I not swaddle him up properly? Is that why he is sick?
Just a bunch of negative thoughts swirling inside my head, intercepted by pitiful grunts from Steve. Once he’s done nursing, he leans back his head, and rests for a bit, and looks at me.
And then he coos. Cooing indicates happy baby. Happy babies coo. Sad babies whimper. And pissed off babies wail.
Now early morning happy coos are also dangerous signs of unwanted wakefulness. But for that moment, I needed that coo. I needed him to tell me it was OK. He looks right at me, focusing real hard on my face and studying it. My child, he is looking at me with these wise eyes…he’s telling me it going to be aye-ok, that the cough and cold will be gone. Like a bad dream. And 5 years down the line, I’ll just remember this as his first illness. And nothing more. “Remember that time when Steve fell ill?”
That even though he’s coughing, he is still happy, and he trusts my instincts (do I have any to boast of?)
Yes, you do, Mummy.
You haven’t done anything wrong. Jesus, no woman, everyone in the house, WILL BE healthy again. Stop over-imagining. And this is not pneumonia cos if it was, I would be screaming my lungs out! Now put me back on the bed and go to sleep. I am sleepy, yaawwwn (inserts adorable tiny-mouthed yawn here)
And just like that he’s asleep. Guess that coo was just a false alarm after all.
Note: Guess who just crossed their first big milestone yesterday? Uh-huh…my lil man flipped over on his tummy for the first time and looked a tad confused why everyone was applauding!