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  • jdettmann

My Patience Is The Only Thin Part Of Me

May Blossom is sick. After a week of a standard snotty, sneezy cold, she woke at 9.30 on Monday night with a fever and spent the rest of the night groping me like the love child of a slanket and a lava flow. When the drugs finally kicked in enough for her to get back to sleep around 11, my arm was trapped under her and so I lay until the nurofen wore off six hours later and her fever spiked again. By then I had been in one position for so long my hip had seized up and I was having a weird and excruciating pain that was almost certainly not my insides unzipping themselves along the line of my caesarean scar (not that I like to scare myself in the dark of the night or anything).

But, weirdly enough, it was one of the loveliest nights I can remember. Partly because nights in general, in my opinion, are for sleeping and not for making lasting childhood memories, but mostly because I just lay and stared at my daughter’s face in the moonlight and loved her. On her other side lay H, doing the same thing. We are sappy idiots.

Yesterday she was still ill: feverish and not hungry. The GP diagnosed tonsillitis and so our old friends antibiotics are back for another visit. There were more than the usual number of episodes of Play School permitted, pink milk like Charlie and Lola drink, and yogurt and rice for dinner.

Most of the day we lay together and cuddled, reading books and talking about the disgraceful behaviour of the dinosaurs who persist in waking her during the night despite being told very clearly each bedtime to clear off and stay away. (And on that note, a special big thanks to the people of Taronga Zoo who thought it would be a good idea to display huge animatronic growling dinosaurs all round the place this summer. Because there’s nothing at all confusing to toddlers about scary dinosaurs, whom they have been assured no longer exist, showing up at random and uncaged in the place where you go to see real live animals.)

I’m really sorry she isn’t well, but it was such a nice way to spend the day with her. I ‘m savouring the one-on-one time we have now. It won’t be like this for long.

Insert sound of record scratching here.

Ha. Ha ha ha. So that was what I wrote last night, while sitting in the armchair beside May Blossom’s bed. It was 9 o’clock and a huge clap of thunder had woken her. Her temperature was up again and we dosed her once more with fever reducing painkillers. I thought I’d just sit quietly in the chair until she fell asleep again. I was still feeling loving and kind about the whole situation. And proud of myself for being such a good, patient and sweet mother.

Two and a half hours later, when nothing we did would get her back to sleep short of letting her back into our bed, I gave in. By then I was grumpy and sore and not very sympathetic. I knew that cuddling her in bed all night would lead to agony in my hips and pelvis. I wasn’t feeling very selfless or very proud of myself. I just wanted some damn sleep.

So back in she came, but very reasonably she agreed to cuddle Daddy instead of me for the night. That was something of a breakthough, because I have usually been her first choice when ill, but I guess it’s much nicer to snuggle up to a warm furry Dad who is happy to have you on his chest than a grumbling, flipping, beached whale of a mother whose tummy keeps kicking you back when you wriggle.

There were more wakeups and fever spikes, but this morning when she woke up mercifully late, she was cool and happy again.

‘Mummy,’ she said. ‘Ask me what the time is.’

‘What time is it, May Blossom?’

‘Ten minutes before Play School!’

I hope my cheery little person is back for good, or at least for the day.

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