Posted in Blog, Featured, Health and safety, Life as a mom, Mother, Shawna

Open season

I used to think of “flu season” as being sort of like open season for hunting: It’s a general time of year when you could catch something, but usually you have to put yourself out there to get it.

Now that I have a toddler, flu season is more like baseball season, with “catching” going on all day long for nine months. Honestly, we should just call June, July and August the “healthy season.”

I don’t know about you mamas, but the last six months have been miserable for me. I think we’ve had about 25 healthy days total at our house since September. It’s been pretty rare for us to go longer than four days without catching something new, and we’ve gotten some seriously nasty stuff. My daughter seems to catch everything, and with my special suppressed pregnancy immune system, I get to experience all of the fun viruses for myself while caring for my sick baby.

There’s nothing worse than watching your baby suffer with a cold or flu, except maybe watching your child suffer and knowing that in a few days you’ll be right there with them.

My doctor says that this year, between one and two, is the prime time for my daughter to catch colds and flus, and that next year will likely be much better for us. I certainly hope so, because after spending a week sleeping on a blow-up mattress with my toddler on the floor of her room so she can be near her vaporizer AND me while enjoying ease of clean-up when her coughs get so bad that she vomits, I have had plenty of time to contemplate how much worse this will all be with two sick babies. Did I mention that I also cracked a rib from coughing, and that I had to whisper her lullabies because my voice was so hoarse?

But at least I won’t be six months pregnant during the next flu season. See, living on the set of the Exorcist for the last 200 days hasn’t made me into a complete pessimist.

I know there are several things that really conspired against us this “flu season:” My being pregnant for the whole damn thing, Quinn weaning herself in late December, and our being insanely lucky for the first year of her life and managing to only get sick a handful of times before. It was a perfect storm headed our way in September, and we sure didn’t see it coming.

Another big factor was my getting lax on the whole germ-fighting thing. When you first have a baby, you’ve got hand sanitizer bottles on every available surface and you won’t even walk into the neighborhood coffee shop for fear of getting something. But then the second year rolls around, and your hearty little tot is eager to get out and explore EVERYTHING and you figure there’s no harm in that, is there?

Fast forward six months, and the sight of another toddler’s nose running can send you into near-hysterics. Whereas really, that kid’s probably just teething, and it’s the clean-faced angel kissing your child on the mouth who really has CRV, his mama just doesn’t know it yet. The strategically placed bleach buckets for toys and the hand sanitizer bottles just seem to mock us now, don’t they?

We are all on edge about the flu and I think it’s making us a little crazy. I had one such run-in with another mama this morning at Gymboree and honestly, I think some of us could use a serious crash-course in infectious disease (and a swift kick in the a**, too).

After keeping Quinn home for 10 sick and miserable days with this last cold, we finally re-entered the world a few days ago with four fever-free days and doctor’s approval under our belts. Though she is running around happy as a clam (I think she has cabin fever even worse than I do), her cough still sounds terrible.

So when the aforementioned mother made a concerned look in my daughter’s general direction today, I sought to ease her mind. “I know her cough sounds terrible,” I said, “but we went to the doctor yesterday and there is no way we are still contagious.”

“Let’s hope so,” she said snottily, rushing off.

“B**ch what did you just say?” I responded, kneeing her stonewash-jeans clad body onto the sunny yellow Gymboree mat and hitting her in the stomach with a sky blue bouncy ball as our horrified toddlers looked on.

Well, the last part didn’t happen, not audibly anyway, but the rest of the scene should illustrate the kind of general hysteria we mothers are experiencing at about this point of the cold season. It also illustrates our lack of understanding of how diseases spread, because my daughter’s 10-day-old cough was really no threat anymore, whereas her perfectly-healthy seeming daughter will probably come down tomorrow with something truly vile (and you know stonewash jeans is going to blame me) and turn out to have been ragingly contagious today.

You know, maybe this still is a little like open season in some ways.


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  1. Oh my gosh, it *has* been like open season. I finally gave up on the last round of colds with trying to stay away from people, because it was so mild, but ugh… yeah. Sucks. Sucks so much. I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with it!

  2. I literally just sneezed eight times in a row while reading this, but at least remembered to wash my hands after blowing my nose!

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