This past week has been difficult. It was my fourth week of being back at work and that in itself was not the difficult bit, in fact I feel much more like four weeks in and I’m getting into my stride now. Damn it, there’ve even been some days where I’ve positively enjoyed it… but then, I have been lucky enough to have been given some great stuff to work on, so I should count my blessings… don’t want to reveal too much, but let’s just say that in week two I had to have a meeting with the one and only Peter Andre… not too shabby! Anyway, it’s still work, but I’ll admit, it ain’t so bad. Does that make me a bad mother? guilt!
So yes, that wasn’t what made the week difficult, no. What made the week difficult was a poorly baby and the agonising decisions around to send her to nursery or not, and who/how to look after her when both Richmond Daddy and I were crazy busy with work. Challenging.
It all started this time last week. She seemed not quite herself. More subdued than normal and generally a bit under the weather. Off we went to mass, just Richmond Baby and I, Richmond Daddy is a heathen and rarely steps foot inside the house of God. By the end of the service, she was practically asleep in my arms and her eyes looked very heavy lidded 😦 most unlike my baby. Over the course of the day she became more and more snotty, drool-y, and generally fractious, so of course I came to the conclusion that it was probably teething and I got out the Calpol and set to work.
Monday morning, she seemed kind of okay, not great, but no sign of a temperature now and as I’d put things down to teething, I thought she’d be okay to go to nursery – especially as she only does half days on Monday. So off we went. I dropped her off and she cried, quite a bit, and I had to walk out the door while she was crying, which was heart-breaking, but I stayed a little while outside the door to check and when I looked back in she seemed fine. Still, bad mother. More guilt.
My mum picked her up that lunchtime and the report was that she’d not really eaten much and she again just didn’t seem herself. Poor boo. On Tuesday I phoned the GP and had an over the phone consult, couldn’t get an emergency appointment, probably because I’d made the mistake of saying I thought it might be teething. But really, what do I know? – I don’t think the receptions should really have taken my diagnosis, but I guess I can’t blame her, I’ll know to keep my mouth shut next time and just say “yes, it’s an emergency”.
Fast-forward to Wednesday and she was no better. I decided it was time to go to the GP. She was really off her food, generally miserable, and now appeared to have a very hoarse throat, which made her sound a bit like Marlon Brando in his Don Corleone days (particularly when she tried to say “nonna”). It would have been funny to listen too if it hadn’t been so gut-wrenching to see her wince every time she coughed or cried. More guilt.
So, the GP… “temperature’s normal”, “ears look fine”, “chest sounds fine”, “yes, throat inflamed, but tonsils look fine” – “so, she has laryngitis, probably as a hangover from the virus she must have picked up”… virus?!? poor baby, a virus, and there I was like a bad mummy putting it down to teething and hoping she’d be fine at nursery (mainly because I had to go to work and I had to convince myself she’d be okay at nursery). Bad mummy. More guilt.
He tells me to give her Calpol, to ease the pain of her sore throat, and to keep an eye on her and that she’ll probably be ill until sometime over the weekend. He does say however that she is probably fine to continue to go to nursery, she’s not contagious and with the Calpol helping with the sore throat, she should be okay. I feel a little relieved, because I’d started to panic about having to have time off with a sick baby, when work is so busy. Bad mummy. More guilt.
Thursday comes around. She doesn’t seem too bad, I give her the medicine, I bring her to nursery, she cries a lot when I drop her off, I beat myself up for being a terrible person as well as a terrible mother, I go to work. And then, around 3pm, I get a call from the nursery: “we don’t want to worry you, but Allegra is really miserable and upset. She’s been crying a lot today, she won’t eat her food, she’s has drunk her milk, but she just won’t settle and she’s very unhappy. We thought you might like to come and pick her up earlier than usual…” – oh god, my poor little beautiful girl. Miserable and unhappy, wanting to be at home, with her mummy, feeling unwell, and mummy isn’t there to comfort her and hold her and help her feel better. Bad mummy. More guilt.
And what do I do? – well, first I panic and think oh god I need to get there and be there with her NOW. And then I panic because I am up to my eyeballs in work stuff and to just walk out isn’t really an option. Well, not an ideal option anyway. And then I pick up the phone to my mum and thank my lucky stars that she answers, and no she’s not working today, and yes she can jump on a train and be there within the hour. THANK GOD FOR MUMS! But, of course I still feel like a terrible person, because I’m not the one going to pick her up and I’m not the one going to cuddle her and try to make her feel better. Bad mother. More guilt.
So how are things now? She’s still VERY SNOTTY – I mean seriously, there is no end to the snot that is streaming out of this girl, it’s remarkable. I think she must be breaking world records or something. She is still VERY DROOL-Y – and the combo of the snot and the drool means for a very wet face, no matter how much I try to wipe it and pat her dry (which by the way she absolutely hates), this in turn has led (I believe it’s because of this, but who knows?!) to a collection of little red/whitehead spots around her mouth, I think caused by the snot/drool/wetness trapped against her skin behind her dummy, which is in her mouth more often than not at the moment since she’s been unwell, it’s been more of a necessity than usual.
The spots are worrying me though, they make her look a bit “Trainspotting” and I have done too much googling and now convinced myself they are something terrible… may have to bring her back to the GP…. She’s still not quite her usual self, she’s still taking a combo of Calpol and Calprofen as/when needed – which is somewhere between every 4-6 hours, but she is now making it through the night without any medicine and she is now eating again, albeit it back to super smooth purees rather than normal food – having said that, she helped me make short work of a Patisserie Valerie fruit tart yesterday, so she must be feeling on the mend, no?!
It’s been so hard to see my little girl a miserable sick version of her usual happy, healthy self. It’s been so hard not to be able to ignore everything else and just hole up with her in the warm of our house, shut the world out, stay in our pyjamas, and get better. But thankfully it’s all been made that bit easier to deal with by having an amazing support network of parents and in-laws who are always ready and willing to be there and to help and even to take care of a baby who’s not well. And I’m incredibly grateful for that, I just hope this week she’ll be back to her bouncy herself and we can all rest easy. Then maybe the guilt levels will drop a bit. But probably not…
(PS. if anyone’s wondering how my 366 photo project is going… I’m afraid I’ve had to ditch it, it was just proving impossible to do and to fit it in with everything else that’s going on. Good luck to anyway who’s still going with it, for me… maybe next year?!)