Of Hospitals and Childcare



Wow. The last three weeks have been…well, horrible. Mostly because the only resident of our home who has escaped vicious sickness is the budgie. Those of us without feathers of invincibility have at various times been subject to the strong grip of colds, aches, throats of sandpaper, headaches, vomit, phlegm, pus and snot.

At one stage I had to call an ambulance for Timmy during dark hours of the morning, for what turned out to be croup. Hearing him try to wheeze squealing narrow breaths in between a barrage of barking coughs, was the scariest part of my parenthood to date! I remember having croup (at something like 12 years old — well beyond the age one is meant to be impervious to it), and being convinced I was going to die. While I doubt Timmy’s capable of such thought-forecasting at this stage, I carried the fear instead.

He was given a steroid drink in the hospital’s emergency department, to reduce his throat swelling, but didn’t begin to calm down until I’d given him a bottle of formula. Theoretically he’s fully weaned onto solid food, but sick children regress, I hear, and I had been allowing him to have bottles instead of meals sometimes during his sickness — it was easier for both of us. I imagine it would have been especially preferable to him for as long as he had swelling in his throat, too.

The boys of the house seem to be alright now. It’s just me who can’t shake the remnants of…whatever I’m having a turn with at the moment. I almost don’t remember what healthy feels like.

So naturally, I appreciate Mondays and Tuesdays right now. Timmy’s recently started going to a child care centre on those days, which leaves me precious chunks of time to not worry about nappies, feeding, or child entertainment. Theoretically those are the times for me to get lots of tasks done that are made more difficult by having a child in tow, or divided attention, but while I’m still feeling yuck they’ve mostly just been times for me to take my Kobo e-reader to bed.

Putting Timmy in child care was a move in preparation for the arrival of Bump Two. I expected it would be particularly difficult to parent him in initial weeks of my having a newborn (and a c-section scar which apparently prohibits me from picking Timmy up for a while), so planned the child care to both give me a rest from having to look after two kids, and also to allow me uninterrupted time to get to know the new one.

‘Expert opinion’ told me that if there were be any major disruption of routine planned, a baby needs a couple of months to get used to the change. So rather than drop Timmy off at a child care centre just from when it’s needed, I was supposed to start him there a couple of months before the expected birth. Then, by the time Bump Two was here, Timmy should be happy with staying at child care.

Whoever came up with that ‘expert opinion’ must have only worked with really difficult children. It didn’t take Timmy two months to accept the centre. It took him closer to two minutes. When I was gone, I don’t think he even noticed. He certainly isn’t impressed about being taken home. He loves it there, and, I’m told, eats really well — even though mealtimes remain a battle at home. (Despite the decadence of the menu there, he still delights in trying to eat pieces of bark outside, and is evidently insistent there is nutritional value in pumice stone.)

I’m glad he enjoys it, even if it does make him more difficult to deal with on arrival home. I’ll be even more glad when I’m finally feeling healthy enough to be satisfactorily productive with my time off.




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