The thing with a toddler tummy bug is that you can never predict when they are going to strike. They strike without warning. And when they strike, things happen very quickly.
In the space of one hour, I went from pretending I was in control, convincing myself of an ‘I can handle this’ attitude, to sprawled on the floor with Arlo, both of us half-undressed, three rooms declared as disaster zones. (I must mention that somewhere in between this, before the half-undressed part, I thought it was a good idea to open the door to my neighbour, who quite fancied a chat on the doorstep despite my warnings of ‘Stand back, I am covered in sick’). Defeated, I called Sam and asked him to come home from his night out.
Sam’s Friday evening was a 1.5 round trip to Dalston and back, returning to a scene that he later described as Armageddon. My Friday evening was worse.
Tummy bugs are unapologetic. They don’t care if you spent all day scrubbing floors and doing a big clean just before they show up and spread their horrible germs throughout every surface in your house. They don’t care if you have friends staying at your house. They certainly don’t care if you had evening plans.
Sam and I have been rudely reminded that plans are subject to abrupt last-minute changes now that we have Arlo. Cancelling texts were sent, friends visiting for the day were diverted elsewhere, grandparents were told they were no longer required to babysit.
What was meant to be an evening in the pub with friends and both Sam and I in attendance (a one-time deal, as I sold it to my friends in a group text) turned into a quieter evening at home – dinner and drinks with a few friends.
Bad timing, but then when exactly is a good time for a tummy bug to show up at your house uninvited?
I used to have quite a problem with emetophobia. It’s become a lot better. I can now handle drunk sick, travel sick, and scenes on TV (mostly). I don’t find myself agonising over how to avoid certain situations, or worrying as soon as someone says they feel a bit sick.
But tummy bugs still get me. I think it’s the combination of being contagious and the relentless exorcist style force of the symptoms. As a child, when a bug made the rounds of our large family, I was always the last to get hit. I think the stress of anticipating this inevitable doom is the main reason why I am freaked out to a paranoid degree by sick.
It was always something that worried me about having children. How would I cope? But you just do, because there isn’t another option. (Although Sam will argue that turning away or running to the other side of the room is not exactly coping.)
Tummy bugs don’t care that this week was your last opportunity to see your friend before she moves away. Tummy bugs don’t care that your son needs to be well for his MMR jab in a few days. An appointment that has taken four months to organise with the hospital and leaves me more and more nervous each day he is unvaccinated.
This is a mean old bug, much worse than the one Arlo and I both had in November. We’re now on day six and Arlo is still miserable. It’s been a full five days of sofa arrest for me. He’s not happy unless he’s latched on, which is fine as at least I know he’s getting something into his system (he has refused to eat for five days). But five straight days of Cbeebies and intermittent wailing has been tough on me.
We managed to escape for a walk the other day. Arlo scowled the whole way round the park. We won’t be doing that again until Arlo is firmly better (PUN) as this bug is not foiled by nappies (TMI, but this is has been a large part of my week, sob). So, I will have to deal with my cabin fever in other ways, like moaning at Sam.
The bug has left a new sleeping pattern in its wake. One where Arlo wakes three times per night. Which is once more time than before, and twice more than I can handle without feeling like a zombie. An overly emotional zombie. (These don’t exist, right, Sam?).
Annoyingly, the bug hit a few hours after I’d decided to test Arlo’s reaction to egg. There’s so much of it around at the moment that I’m 90% sure that it was an ill-timed bug (PUN) and not a violent reaction to the most egg he’s ever eaten before in his life. Egg has never made him sick before. I noticed his eczema flare up half an hour before he started puking. I thought the flare up was the egg, but it could have been a result of the stress his body was under because of the bug. His ezcema gets worse when he is poorly. Frustratingly, every time we test his suspected allergens, there is always another possibility.
I was really looking forward to a night in the pub with Sam and our friends, like we used to do in the good old days of being young and free, and up until the end of my pregnancy (and actually, even when Arlo was a newborn. Poor boy had no routine, looking back it’s no wonder his sleep has been appalling). But I realised that there’s nothing stopping Sam and I going out for a drink together. With a bit of forward planning and less last-minute hiccups, we can do this if we want.
It doesn’t have to be a one-time deal, instead maybe an every-so-often deal.