It always hits the weakest first. The toddler goes down. It’s messy, demanding and exhausting …for everyone.
As parents it is your responsibility to carry the load. The load is in the shape of a small box or basket in which you carry emergency supplies: A box of tissues; a packet of wet wipes; an absorbent rag; the thermometer; and, the children’s panadol. This basket is carried from room to room, as you follow them on their distracted disillusioned rambling path of one short lived entertainment to the next.
By day three it’s getting really nasty. Those clear boogers that you thought were unappealing at the time have turned green and gluey. The double-nostril-green-bubble-sneeze is a frequent occurrence. So frequent it doesn’t even make your stomach turn anymore. Child-free friends look on in undisguisable horror.
But what’s the absorbent rag for, you ask? The cough that ends in puke. Enough said.
Evenings degenerate into a whiny noise. My whinging is driving me crazy. “Would you watch TV please?! I just want to have a shower at some point today. Cook your own damn dinner!”
It’s now day four. You couldn’t smell a week old prawn in the sun if it was stuck to the front of your shirt. Your nose is raw from the tissues that claim to be as soft as duck down. You opt for using the wet wipes to blow your nose. They’re cool and comforting. Hubby says that you remind him of changing nappies. It’s the smell of wet wipes on my face. I can’t smell it. I don’t comment.
Poppet is full of energy again. She’s bouncing off the walls. “Dance, mummy! Dance!!” She’s as harsh as a Russian gym instructor and I feel like a Sun Bear. Maimed and hobbling around, hunched, sad, and missing every beat. “Dance!!”
Day five: I’m crunching on Tissue Salt pills like beer snacks.
As day six rolls around I’m back on board. I’m thinking a trip to the park might be nice today. The bedroom door creaks, and slowly, Daddy the Flu Zombie emerges.
image: Roy Lichtenstein, Still Life with Glass and Lemon (1974)