• Diary of a Family Sized Cold
  • Author avatar
    Amelia Slocombe
  • annoyingbabiesbabychildrendogsfunnylifemotherhoodparentingrelationshipsRock of Featherseasonsleeptoddlerstruthwomanwork

Diary of a Family Sized Cold

Rock of Feather teething jewellery for babies I can't believe I used to think catching a cold before I had children was a bad thing. Well yes, it was bad in the sense that I felt thoroughly ropey, but when I was child-free, the cold was all about ME. My right to complain that I couldn't breathe through either nostril, my right to overdose on Night Nurse and sleep for a solid 12 hours. My right to have a blisteringly hot bath and use up all the hot water. God, looking back, it almost seems pleasurable.

For those of you reading this with a cold who don't currently have children, don't feel sorry for yourself. Really don't. And if that simple plea doesn't work by itself, let me introduce you to 24 hours of what I like to call "the Family Cold".

5.30am - we wake up. Because children with colds always wake up at least an hour earlier than they should. And they don't wake up quietly. The 10 month old (Esmee) starts the day with a low and continual moan, the sound of which will echo through your brain even when you are a good mile away from her. My husband and I like to call it "The Call to Prayer" when we are feeling light-hearted. But most of the time it's just "that f-ing noise".

7.30am - Together we crawl downstairs, already shadows of our former selves, despite the fact the day is yet to begin in earnest. We make ourselves three mugs of liquid each - a lemsip, a black coffee and a matcha green tea (in a futile attempt to detox) and take it in turns to complain about how badly we slept the night before. Meanwhile our 4 year old (Arthur) is whiney because we won't let him watch You Tube videos of someone unwrapping Kinder Eggs, a decision we immediately regret when it turns into a full blown tantrum. Meanwhile, Esmee's Call to Prayer continues.

8.00am - my husband and I part ways (me for work, him for a full day of being Called to Prayer after dropping Arthur at pre-school). The breakfast experience was thoroughly unsatisfactory, most it spent trying to cajole Arthur to eat, whilst shoving breakfast cereal that we can't actually taste into our own mouths. The baby, mercifully, is happy with a quick Ella's Kitchen sachet - a euphoria that promptly evaporates when she coughs a bit too forcefully and promptly projectile vomits it up.

8.05am - I am on the train, sharing germs with a brunch of similarly infected commuters. We try politely not to exchange viruses, whilst at the same time shooting death stares at the man who has clearly forgotten that convention dictates that you put your hand over your mouth when you sneeze. I console myself that I am clearly not the most unwell person on the train and note that some of the men appear to be dying. At one point I am pretty sure I hear a Call to Prayer, but dismiss it as a hallucination.

9.00 to 5.30pm - I work. In the loosest sense of the word. I go to Boots at lunch and buy Calpol, Panadol, Nurofen, Lemsip, Cough Mixture, Night Nurse, Day Nurse, Olbus Oil, Vicks, Baby Vicks and Cough syrup x3 (for adults, babies and toddlers). The shop assistant makes me sign a disclaimer.

6.15pm - I get home. My husband looks like he may have gone slightly insane. Everyone is glassy eyed. We opt to start the bedtime routine early. The only time Esmee stops moaning is when we take her into a hot shower. It is a blessed few minutes.

7pm - Esmee is in bed, but the Call to Prayer (now very much turning into "that f-ing noise") continues.

7.30pm - Arthur is in bed. We have a dinner consisting of scraps from the fridge.

10pm - my husband and I go to bed, after falling asleep on the sofa during a recording of The Great British Bake-Off. We optimistically suggest that tonight might be a better night.

12.30am - I get woken from a deep Night Nurse induced sleep to realise that I have been woken up by that f-ing noise. Attempt Calpol (refused). Offer milk (refused). Give cuddles (get punched in the face by a baby who clearly just wants to be asleep). Leave her to it. Listen to the noise for 30 minutes before she answers her own Call to Prayer and falls asleep.

2am - am woken up by the dog coughing. FFS.

2.05am - the dog's coughing wakes up Esmee. The 12.30 routine begins once more. Arthur wakes up and claims he can't breathe. And that he's scared of his room. After a half-hearted effort at nose blowing, he is convinced to go back to bed.

3am - have my own coughing fit. Discover we are out of Kleenex. Go down to the garage to get more. My husband complains that my activities have woken him up. And then starts to snore. I consider smothering him with a pillow.

4am - I finally fall asleep.

5am - I am woken up to Arthur declaring he has wet himself. Despite the fact he is wearing a nappy. Upon investigation we deduce between us that his willy was pointing the wrong way. Arthur refuses to go back to sleep. Esmee wakes up. You can guess what noise she is making.

How the f-ck is it only Tuesday?!
  • Author avatar
    Amelia Slocombe
  • annoyingbabiesbabychildrendogsfunnylifemotherhoodparentingrelationshipsRock of Featherseasonsleeptoddlerstruthwomanwork

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