Paint a Red Cross on the Door and Be Done With It!

Nooooo! Not the bleach! Anything but the bleach!

Nooooo! Not the bleach! Anything but the bleach!

Oh, I do love the mingling aromas of bleach and dinner in the evening!

Poor Maxi is ill. She started having smelly eggy burps and raging halitosis again yesterday, so I checked her throat – she’s got tonsilitis again, for the 2nd time this year. Liquid paracetamol seemed to be managing it. I saw her playing rounders outside when I picked Mini up from nursery before lunch. She waved weakly at me, ashen-faced. I hung around to watch, not because I’m interested in the kids’ sports class or their young teacher, but because she looked quite ill. Sure enough, 5 mins later, she asked to be excused back indoors. I agreed with her teacher that she could have lunch and see how she felt, and assured him I’d nip round in 2 minutes flat to pick her up if he called.

I waited for the call. No call. So Mini and I spent a lovely sunny afternoon doing gardening: I’d picked up some dinky metal buckets and herb seeds when I raced round the supermarket this morning (Supermarket! Without Mini? However did I manage without my little shopping buddy?! But it was so I could pick up one of her birthday presents unseen. A pink and purple Furby. It’ll be friends with Midi’s rainbow Furby. Three kids, 1 cat and 2 Furbys… I must be mad). Anyway, Mini had fun dunking the compost tablets in water and watching them whoosh up in seconds to fill the pot. She loved scooping up the compost and twirling the seeds on the top, especially when I said not to worry about the mess. She looked at me like I’d been possessed, then gleefully chucked a bit of compost at the cat.

Then in a fit of bravado, I decided to finally plant the tulip bulbs, outside in the howling gale. Forty of them. Yeah, the ones that should have been planted in autumn. Oops… Well, I’ve been enjoying counting all the little daffodil buds poking through the soil by the fence and in pots every day just as much as the minxes have. And we only planted them last month!

So, to work. Maxi and I had dug out the turf and a round tonne of rocks and boulders from a little 8 x 4ft patch in the back garden at the weekend. It’s one of those annoying patches that are really annoying to mow, and that no-one wants to play on because of the horrible, aggressive, yappy dog next door barking and salivating through the gaps in the fence at us.

I found some weed membrane and fought with 30m of that stuff flagging the air in the blustery gale. Mini and I managed to haul it down from roof-height and lay it roughly over the bare soil. I pinned it down with scrubby pot plants, boulders and a big old hexagon of wood that The Boss had made 2 years ago in a bid to build a climbing frame for the minxes (and that’s stood by the oil tank going grey for the past year). It would make a fine flower bed border. Mini and I dug and planted those bulbs (maybe a third looked ok, a third looked iffy and the remainder had blue mould on them), then shook some creeping thyme seeds over the top. I don’t care that it’s far too early to plant them – the packet said Sow By Year Ending 2009. Oops again… I have plans to plant herbs and strawberries all around the border, through the membrane, but that’ll be when the temperature is high enough for me to take the winter tyres off the car.

We just had time to water the hexagon bed, chuck everything into the wheelbarrow and wash hands before racing off to pick up the other minxes from school. Maxi came out of school looking pale and sad and burst into tears as I hugged her. Her teacher said she’d been complaining of tummy ache and a sore throat. Poor wee mite! She’s rarely ill and even then doesn’t complain much.

So I cancelled swimming classes yet again, parked Midi and Mini in front of the electrical babysitter with hot chocolate and marshmallows, then gave Maxi a big deep bubble bath. I’ve never seen an 8 yo enjoy a bath so much! She played with the bubbles like a toddler, and floated around in the quiet for half an hour while I got on with laundry, picking up discarded jackets and shoes, emptying schoolbags and asking how her day went. (She’d had her second double-bass lesson over lunch break. She’s called the instrument Brian and it’s bigger than she is. She’s so cool and she doesn’t realise it!). I washed and conditioned her beautiful hair, washed and dried her like she was a wee girl, trimmed her toenails, gave her Lovely Strokes (massaged her skin with moisturiser) then blow-dried her hair. She had a bit more colour in her cheeks and sighed with pleasure at all the gentle, quiet pampering. I made her a little nest on the sofa with cushions and blankets, parked a water bottle beside her, shooed away her fussing sisters who suddenly wanted to kiss her, then got on with making the monthly cauldron of bolognaise sauce.

I got as far as chopping onions when I heard a gurgling wail – Maxi had raced to the bathroom, catching her vomit en-route. The poor kid was stood at the sink, holding her Bagpuss in one hand, vomit in the other, balancing on one foot – the hand hadn’t been enough, she’d really needed a bucket, so it was *everywhere*). She was distraught at fragging her Bagpuss and her clean PJs that had been on for 9 whole minutes. I gave her a quick clean up and a hug, parked her back on the sofa with a big bucket, fresh water and different teddy, got Bagpuss into the washing machine and scrubbed the bathroom and hall.

Maxi barfed again later, so I guess that’s her confined to quarters for the next 48 hours and me cancelling a stack of appointments. Och well. So long as no-one else catches it! Midi had the vomiting virus a couple of weeks ago and my washing machine was on without a pause for 36 hours. A whole day and a half. Well, when you projectile vomit from the top of a bunk-bed, there’s an awful, awful lot of collateral damage…

Maxi’s now asleep on the sofa, spooning Killer Cat who is purring away contentedly. I’m fairly sure that the cat’s bucket of nails for a brain works fast enough so she’ll leap away if Maxi throws up in her general direction…?

Do NOT Read Unless You Have a Strong Stomach – Seriously TMI

This post is pretty disgusting, but I thought I’d include it because it’s a little observation of my life with my kids. It mentions virtually all the yucky things you can imagine, so please stop reading if you might be offended or might feel sick (the vast majority of people, ok?)

Last week I had gastroenteritis. Yeah, again. Twice in a fortnight; 3 times in as many months. My insides are just in tatters. And I haven’t seen this weight since I was 24. Anyway, when Midi Minx started vomiting on Tuesday night I honestly thought it was because she’d been chewing her wellies again. Then the next morning, Maxi threw up. Oh-oh, bug alert…INCOMING!

By Wednesday afternoon I was feeling a bit peaky, and by evening I was totally floored. Well, curled up on the bathroom floor. The girls got over their bug in minutes; I was ill for 2 days. With superhuman Martyr Mummy effort I managed to just about look after the kids on Thursday (thank God for CBeebies, packed lunches made by The Boss and the fact that the baby, Mini, stayed well).

Anyway, here goes…this incident sums up my busy, multi-tasking life as a mum…are you ready?

By the middle of Thursday afternoon I was counting the minutes till The Boss came home. Every time I dragged myself off the sofa to lumber to the bathroom I worried about what the minxes would get up to while I was gone. I tried loperamide to stem the flow, but that just provoked vomiting. So there I was, sitting doubled over on the toilet, trying not to pass out with the smell. It made me vomit (again), but luckily I’d taken the sick bowl with me. Bloody hell, it came out so violently it splashed. Damn. Not so much that it wrecked my favourite fluffy comfort cardi, but because I’d no more energy left to even attempt to go clean it up. Worse, the splash aroused the interest of the cat. “Go away Daisy!” I croaked. “Shoo!” But the effort made me go r-aaaaaa-lf again.

I must have left the living room door open because little Mini Minx wobbled over to me looking troubled. Her little nose wrinkled at the smell. She warily eyed up the cat and sidled up to me for a Mummy-cuddle. I pushed the cat away with my foot, spilled a bit of vomit out the bowl and cursed. I yelled for Maxi to come help me with her sister. My hands were full (of sick bowl) and the rest of me was gripping the toilet, so I’d nothing to cuddle Mini with. I suggested she go back to her sisters. Mini started to cry. I yelled for Maxi again. Nothing. No response. She was busy singing CBeebies theme tunes. I vomited again. Mini started to wail. I put the bowl down, wiped my face and tried to reassure Mini. The cat sniffed at the bowl. I pushed the cat away. I yelled for Maxi. The cat came at the bowl from a different direction. I lunged at the cat. Mini got a fright and kicked the bowl. The bowl spilled some more. Over my feet. I got a fright and filled the toilet again. Mini shrieked at the noise/smell. I vomited once more. Mini raced back to the living room. From the safety of the kitchen door, Midi watched and cackled. Maxi blithely sang along to the next theme tune.

I will get my own back on Maxi when I am old and incontinent and living in a Granny-flat with her. Oh yes!

Sick Part 2

I know I call my little Midi Minx ‘Germ Vector 2’ about as frequently as I call her by her given name, but this weekend takes the biscuit.

Friday night/Saturday morning I spent elbow-deep in Midi Minx vomit.  About 0230hrs Midi’s terrified wail and cough woke me up.  My finely-tuned Mummy antennae just *knew* it was sick.  I woke The Boss and told him to get Midi and I’d handle the rest.  Thank God for rubber gloves… luckily most of it was over bedding, so a quick sponge-down of the carpet, strip of sheets, discarding of a book, replace of sheets, and good as new (except for the lingering smell… dear goodness, why can I not get rid of the bloody awful smell?)  Midi howled as she got sponged down (The Boss is too scared to shower her down in the bath because it makes her claw him worse than our cat).  Surprisingly, Midi’s room-mate (Maxi) snored her little head off throughout.  Normally she wakes up whining, “What’s that pongy smell?  Oooooo my nose!  My nose!”

Me and The Boss figured Midi had been chewing her shoes again and went to sleep.  Well, he went to sleep.  I got up 4 more times to settle her, clean more sick off her, persuade her to drink water (I’m still haunted by her overnight stay in hospital exactly a year ago due to dehydration), and take her to the toilet when she screeched, “I. Need. A. Poo. NOW”.  I praised Midi enormously for being so clever as to be sick in the bucket rather than down her trousers again (she wasn’t – I was just fast about whipping it under her chin, but I wanted her to feel a bit better).

Around 0430hrs she went to sleep and Mini Minx started up… Luckily she was just hungry.

Around 0800hrs I surfaced (customary Saturday long-lie in whilst feeding Mini in bed), and a bad bout of the runs took me a little by surprise as I felt ok.  By 1100hrs I wasn’t feeling ok and was getting fed up living in the loo.  By 1600hrs I’d started vomiting too.  It being green with black coffee grinds, it set my hypochondriac alarm off, not helped by the ominous ache in the middle of my back that sometimes heralds the start of a gall stone attack.  Around the same time, poor Maxi came home early from a party because she was tired and promptly vomited all over herself and the living room carpet (the cat just missed the splash.  She glowered at Maxi the rest of the day)  By 2000hrs the whole zoo were sat in the local A&E waiting for me to see the Out of Hours doctor (NHS 24).  We’d no-one to leave the kids with, and I sure wasn’t getting a taxi in and out.

I explained to the doc that it was probably just a virus, given that Midi and Maxi had barfed, even though they were now right as rain, but I was concerned about the contents of my vomit: “I’ve had hyperemesis 3 times and thought I’d seen everything.  But this amount of bile with so much black stuff, from a long-empty stomach, is a new one on me”.  He prodded, hmmmmed, declared my stomach very soft, and kept insisting on giving me anti-nausea drugs.  The third time I stated that the nausea wasn’t a problem for me, it was the pain and concern that my pathetic gallbladder was packing up on me that I wanted resolved, I got quite forceful.  Bloody hell, I nearly cracked a joke, I was that adamant!  He still gave me anti-nausea meds anyway and finally agreed that I didn’t need to take them if I didn’t feel I had to.  Sheesh.  He also recommended that I drink flat Coke instead of Diarolyte, then roared with laughter at my admission that we never bought or drank the stuff.  Tell you what, that cold fizzy feeling certainly worked a treat!

So, today has been spent wobbling around (I lost 6lbs in 24 hours so have found things like going up and down stairs a bit of a struggle), with a strangely painful chesty cough.  I’m doomed!  Doomed!  My whole body is giving up on me.  Bloody toddlers and their germs!  The kids were a bit sleepy today, but otherwise very well.  Though Midi has 6 strange red spots on her tummy in a line, that look suspiciously like flea bites.  But that’s a whole other story.  And my mission tomorrow is to find a local, affordable carpet cleaner business who’ll come and sort out the orange vomit stains in 2 bedrooms and a living room that just won’t shift.  And the smell.  Please help with the smell…!

Sick

The Grumpy Old Trout and The Boss are desperate to get away from the smell of kid vomit

As day follows night, then kids are followed by vomit.

Maxi-Minx threw up twice before midnight last night.  A loud gurgling sound emerged from her room, followed by a wailing girl, lower face covered in sick, looking like an extra in a scary zombie film.  The Boss tackled the creatively decorated surfaces (Christ Almighty, was she revolving while she barfed?!) while I took charge of the cuddling and hosing down.

After the second barf, I worried about running out of bedding.  As the eldest of 7 kids, I am a compulsive hoarder of bedding, obviously scarred from experiences of running out as a nipper when we all had bugs.  Luckily Miss Creosote calmed down and got some sleep after yammering away a million to the dozen for a bit.  I think she might have been delirious.  Goodness knows how she slept – that sharp nose-hair-frazzling tang of sick lay thick in her room, and rapidly permeated the entire house.  I was particularly grumpy about that – I love the fug of roast chicken and duck-fat fried potatoes in the house that I’d lovingly created earlier that evening.  Oh pants, you don’t think it was the chicken…?!  No-one else has been ill, so I suspect it wasn’t my cooking.

I swear the washing machine shuddered when I chucked the second load of thickly sicked textiles and teddies into it.  I have a stomach of steel and even I recoiled from cleaning out the rim and drum of the machine.  Picking out half-digested bits with my cut fingers would scunner even the most devoted Mummy.  Me and The Boss stood examining it like a pair of chimpanzees – was it leek?  Onion skin?  Cabbage?  We reckon it was apple peel.  There was so much of it, though!

My friends wished her well on Facebook.  As she was mooning around behind me (bit of a relapse today, so I guess today will be a pyjamas in front of CBeebies day) I showed her how many people had said Get Well Soon.  “Awww, that’s so kind of them!” she sighed.  That’s my brave little girl!! <proud>

Now to attack the bloody awful smell that just won’t go away.  I swear, if air freshener companies could somehow harness the cling power of vomit and apply it to fragrance, they’d be onto something.

Just a tiny bit tired…

This year I hope Santa brings the kids some immune systems for Christmas.  With batteries included.

The Boss brought a virus with a cough into the house when he caught hand, foot & mouth disease a few weeks ago.  No 2 has probably had h,f&m before, because when she came down with a virus, possibly the same one, it produced no blisters but bright red cheeks and a worse cough.  No 1 caught that version too but was ill enough to need to stay off nursery.  No 3 has only got a bit of a sniffle with it, but it’s making her grumpy and not sleep well.  I’ve got the pathetic cough, sore throat and ropiness that No 1 has, and am feeling pretty miserable.  Though I think everyone is enjoying me having a hoarse voice – there’s a yelling amnesty.  And boy, are the little minxes playing up to that already this morning!  To cap it all, I think No 2 has been chewing and licking her shoes again – she barfed all over her bed (and pillows and duvet and favourite teddy and curtains and carpet) last night.  I was up till silly o’clock with the washing machine, trying to make the horrible smell go away, scooping out regurgitated bits of macaroni cheese from the washing machine seal between washloads (yuckkkkkk).

So I’m a teensy, weensy bit over-tired this morning!

No 2 is back to her normal self now, though, asking for “cuss-ass” (custard) with her breakfast.  No 1 has just suggested that I wear mascara to feel better: “When you wear mascara, Mummy, you don’t look like a dead person walking about”.  Charming!!!