I had every intention of crawling into bed and curling up into the fetal position until I passed out tonight (which would probably take… oh, six seconds or so). But as I brushed my teeth, I realized that I needed to write tonight. Today was hard, and I think that I neglect to write about the reality of parenthood sometimes. I’m always eager to share my good days, but sometimes the hard days are the ones I need to share most, so that I can remember that I did survive them… and that a brand new day always comes the next morning.
My hard day actually started yesterday. Ruby had an unusually short nap after church, and when she woke up I noticed that she felt a little warm. She had a low grade fever but it wasn’t anything serious, so I just pushed the fluids and gave her a little Tylenol before bed. She went out like a light at 8pm, and I should have gone to bed with her. Alas, I stayed up until almost midnight watching a show on Netflix, enjoying a few precious moments alone.
At 3am Ruby woke up crying. She does this occasionally, and she often just needs a hug or to be tucked back in before she will drift off to sleep again. The Hubster heard her before me, so he got up and went in to her. He went through the usual routine and got her back in bed, and when he returned he mentioned that she felt rather warm.
So, I waited. Sure enough, less than five minutes later she was up again. I went in, armed with a thermometer and a glass of water for her. Her temperature had spiked up to 101.5, so I gave her another dose of Tylenol with a drink of water, tucked he back in, and slipped out of her room.
She was crying before I even had the door closed, and I knew then that my night was just beginning. It took a long time for her temperature to come back down, and she was only calm when I was either holding her, or laying next to her bed on the floor. I tried bringing her into my bed with me, but there are only certain positions I can sleep in right now with my bad shoulder, and we just couldn’t find one that we were both happy with.
So, I brought my pillows and a little blanket with me and camped out on her floor. It was almost 5:30am before she passed out and I quietly collected my things and prepared to slip back into my own bed.
…but of course Hank woke up just then, ready for his first breakfast. I nursed him and rocked him, and by 6:15am he was mostly asleep, though he seemed a little restless. I put him in his bed and prayed that he would crash and let me get an hour of sleep.
By 6:50 he was wiiiiiiiide awake and ready to eat again. When I heard him on the monitor, I glanced over at the Hubster and seriously debated waking him and making him take Hank downstairs… but I knew he would want to eat and even though I felt like a zombie, I was already up.
And thus began a long, long day. Ruby’s fever came and went all day long. She would go from being her usual, chipper self then would crash and become small and whiny each time the fever reared its head. Hank was spared from the fever, but something was still a little off and he would not nap today. He was exhausted, but wouldn’t settle. It took him almost two hours to fall asleep this morning, and bedtime tonight was a disaster.
Having been awake since 3am with no real opportunities to get a good nap in today, I felt like a zombie all day long. My house is a disaster, I didn’t even get time to do my hair or put make-up on, and I can’t even remember if I ate breakfast or lunch.
But that’s okay. As much as today sucked for me, I knew it was worse for my kids. I could tell that neither one felt themselves, and it broke my heart that there was so little that I could do for them. They are both asleep now, and I can only hope that tonight will be a little less eventful for all of us.
So, I’m exhausted, and I honestly can’t even remember the point I was trying to get across when I first started this post. But maybe that is the point–someday, many moons from now, when Ruby and Hank have children of their own and encounter these hard days, I’ll be able to look back at days like today and say, “I understand.” And even though this day was filled with several excruciating moments, they do pass. Your ninth wind kicks in, and somehow the hours pass and you survive the day.
Being a parent is the best job in the world… but sometimes it’s also really, really hard. When your kids don’t sleep and whine all day, and your house feels like a disaster zone and all you want to do is sleep but your bed is buried beneath a week’s worth of clean laundry that you have yet to fold–I understand.
Just push the laundry back into the basket and go to bed. It can wait.
Tomorrow is a new (hopefully fever-free) day.