I’m updating during the kids’ nap/quiet time because I’ve been editing a book at night and have to get it done this week–I’m so much more productive with editing when I can sit down for a few quiet hours at night instead of having to get up throughout naps and quiet noisy kids down. We’ll see how long the blog post is until I have to put the laptop away and deal with crazy children again.
Our week has been rough, but that’s pretty much been the story of the last 3 weeks since M came on the scene. I feel like we’ve been given a good taste of what life will be like with 4 littles, and it started right from the get-go. From colds to stomach bugs to hand/foot/mouth disease, John and I are asking ourselves what else we can possibly get? And then there was the mysterious illness Mo had a month ago, but thankfully that seems to have passed. The kids had the stomach bug right when M was born, so they had to stay away from her when we came home from the hospital. Then they all got colds, including John, so again, M and I were quarantined. And then, this past Saturday, we discovered the older 3 had hand/foot/mouth disease. Sadly we didn’t realize until after the fever was gone (but isn’t that always the case with kids? They get random fevers and you never know why–until the fever’s gone and you realized THAT was when they were most contagious) and they had random rashes all over. We STILL didn’t know it was hand/foot/mouth until E started to complain about her mouth hurting. I thought it was a canker sore, but then more appeared Saturday, and then it dawned on me. Of COURSE! Hand/foot/mouth disease. And Mo had had a fever, and J has a rash (although his rash was minimal), so all the pieces fit. E didn’t have a lot of mouth sores so she only complained for a couple days and now it’s almost over, including her rash, which is clearing up. Mo basically didn’t complain about anything at all so her h/f/m was a minimal case, but J, although he barely had a rash, got a TON of sores in his mouth and he’s still complaining about eating 3 days after it began. His mouth was swollen and he was miserable, poor guy. But even then, it wasn’t a bad case for the 3 of them, and so far the adults and M have been spared. I say so far because the incubation period is 4-6 days, so we could still get it. John’s been dealing with a cold and cough for the last week or two as well, so it’s been pretty much M and me who are healthy. Again, we’ll see how long that lasts.
Throughout my 4 years of having little kids, I’ve become more and more convinced that older people whose kids have been grown for awhile have selective memory. This is across the board in America and Australia, so I’m assuming it’s this way in other cultures as well. When moms of little kids or kids who are still in school hear about other families’ sicknesses, they say first, “Oh no, let’s stay away from them so we don’t get it!” and then they say, “Oh, that poor family! I know how they feel because we’ve been there!” Especially sending kids to school in the early years, kids just get sick all. the. time. It’s a natural part of life. They build immunities, they get sick again, they build more immunities, they get sick again, rinse and repeat for 10 years. And then the kids get older and healthier because their bodies are better able to fight the diseases. And then parents forget what their lives were like when their kids were little. And then the comments to families with littles begin: “Why are your kids so sick? My kids never got that sick. What are you feeding them/not feeding them/doing to them/not doing to them?” Oh, the comments I’ve heard. I try to remember that these are comments coming from either those who have no kids and don’t understand, or from parents whose kids are old and aren’t dealing with these issues anymore.
It’s the same with comments about how my kids act in church. “My kids were never that disobedient in church. They always sat quietly and were never disruptive.” I’m sure, because most children are perfectly trained children from the get-go. Like I said, these are comments I’ve gotten everywhere I’ve gone, no matter the culture or country. I think many moms of little can sympathize with me, too. The guilt I feel when I get these comments…ugh. I’m learning to cope with them better. Is there truth in what they’re saying? If so, I’ll try to listen to it. But there’s also a little (or a lot) of forgetfulness about this stage of their lives. Babies and toddlers have a way of wiping moms’ memories so that, when looking back, you remember the good old days instead of the days where you didn’t go to church for weeks on end because the kids were sick. Or the days where kids missed school AGAIN because of hand/foot/mouth. That’s why I’m thankful for this blog. When I start to forget what these years are like, I can look back and remember my life currently, with all joys and all sorrows, the good and the bad.
This is J pre-h/f/m discovery, but he was definitely contagious here. I didn’t get a picture of him kissing her, but he was giving her a lot of kisses. If M doesn’t get it, it shows the power of breastmilk and my antibodies, I tell you what! And here’s J and Mo being cute–dancing and sharing books.