“Bloody Infectious Disease Ruined My Interiors Project” And Other Whinging.

Tonight  I spent an hour on the phone with the Public Health unit retracing my steps over the last fortnight because my child – despite being fully vaccinated with  96% protection from the virus- has contracted measles.


She’s fine, but she’s infectious, dangerous to pregnant women and small babies, and it’s something of a public health issue to manage. Me, I’m out of juice. Earlier, I thought a little about how I needed to stop being a  drama queen. A whinger. A big damn baby!

I was trying to remember if things were this tough with Keith away when Pudding was a baby, and I found this post on the old blog.

Yes… yes there were some stressful times. This night, for example. Cry with me, won’t you?

7.30 pm

T-Bone and Peanut are in bed. T-Bone  has insisted he wants to sleep in a large cardboard box and Peanut  has her Snow White washcloth on her face because she feels hot and funny. Temperature is normal, but she doesn’t look quite right. Also, she’s complaining of a sore neck. I have to take into account Peanut’s  acting chops though. She could play Ebola Victim and fool K and I. Decide that when she can read well enough to Google symptoms, we are screwed. K is in Canberra. I am buggered. I take to the couch to finish and send some writing work before I can watch My Kitchen Rules on my laptop and eat Ovaltine with a teaspoon. Okay , a dessert-spoon.


Pudding is awake. She joins me to quietly admire Manu Feidel. T-Bone  can’t sleep in his box and I convince him to get into his proper bed.


Peanut is awake and wailing from her room. She is hot and sweaty and her temperature is 38 degrees. OK, I think. Here we go, gastro, or flu, or meningitis, or whatever exciting illness you will turn out to be. I wrestle with and am defeated by the child-proof lock on the new Panadol bottle. I give her the remains of the baby Panadol, check the meningitis symptom list, and think about how to juggle the other two kids if this sickness turns ugly and needs hospital.

I wet Snow White and cool Peanut’s forehead. We watch Mr Bean and ABBA clips on YouTube. I read the rest of Bethany the Ballet Fairy and feed the baby. Finally, I get Peanut back to bed where she grips my hand and makes me sit on the bed for ten minutes to listen to the godawful  ’Five Little Ducks’ on her CD player.


Pudding and Peanut are both back in bed asleep. I clean my teeth and go to bed. I’m watching an ABC doco on my laptop when Ivy wails awake again. I fetch her, put her in bed with me, give her an earplug and a drink of water and pat her down with Snow White.


We’re all asleep.


T-Bone wakes up shouting. He insists that he must sleep in my bed too. I falter in the early argument and lose my case. I don’t have the energy to battle. I stick him on the other side of me and squeeze in the middle. T-Bone immediately falls asleep with his head so close that no matter which way I contort my head I have his fluffy hair in my mouth.


Pudding wakes up hangry (hungry and angry.) I take her to the other room to feed her. There’s no room in the bed so I must get her super-asleep before putting her back in her bassinet. She’ll only sleep soundly at night when she’s in our bed.


She’s sacked out. She’s down.


She’s awake. Swaddle over her head. Legs kicking madly, Snorting like a buffalo. I stagger out of bed and rewrap her and she goes back to sleep.


T-Bone falls out of bed with a massive crash. He wails so loudly he wakes the other two. It takes some time to restore order and even when the other two have gone back to sleep he keeps stage whispering for half an hour. ‘Mum? Can I have some milk? Mum? Can I watch a show? Mum?’


The baby is hungry again. During the day, her thunder-thighed rotundity delights me. But at night when I am the haggard machine keeping the fatty fed, it is miserable.


She’s fed, re-nappied, re-wrapped and back to sleep. When I return to my bed, both Peanut and T-Bone are blissfully starfished, leaving me just inches to curl into. I’m so tired I don’t even care.


Pudding  is awake. It’s Groundhog Day. I rewrap, re-dummy and pat her back to sleep.


Peanut has a nightmare and wakes up shouting. T-Bone wakes up too and I pull the plug and send him back to his own bed. He’s mad. I’m implacable. Returning to a huge expanse of free space and a pillow of my own is thrilling.


Pudding wakes. Hungry. I can barely see her through my bleary eyes but I feed her, then tuck her between Peanut and I. She’s awake for the day, and happy as a clam. She kicks me with joyful abandon until I am driven out of bed to start the breakfast and school run. Peanut is fine. T-Bone is as mellow as ever. Me, I am Haggis McBaggis. 

We’re in isolation. I need to wait for a call tomorrow from the GOVERNMENT to tell me what our next steps need to be,. for big kids and small. Along with all my whingy, big-baby feelings of loneliness and frustration and exhaustion, I am sad that I can’t go out and buy hot pink and orange paint to repaint the shaggy old bathroom cupboards tomorrow. I’ve come over all painty. I can’t stop.
Could this infectious disease be the universe staging some kind of style-intervention? A forced cooling-off period over my Monsoon-Wedding colour scheme fantasies?
Wah wah wah. Somebody find my dummy.