There is a direct correlation between healthy babies and a smoothly running household. If the baby is sick, the household doesn’t run properly. I’m grateful as can be for a now healthy little one, and a household that is slowly coming to order once more.
I must pause, however, (now that I’ve had some sleep and my head is clear) and note that there is something wonderful about sick babies. It’s that they need you so much. They need you to hold them, snuggle them, carry them everywhere. They can’t get enough of you, neither can they seem to get high enough on you. (Have you noticed how they just climb higher and higher when they’re not feeling well, until they’re almost perched on your shoulders and head like an eagle?) They need to be all over you, in your face, until they’re the only thing you can see.
They need to fill your view.
I’ve spent weeks holding a crusty-nosed 17 month old who wanted me to do nothing but make her feel better. We spent countless minutes together with her perching on me in various positions, trying to find relief.
And as much as I hated it, I also loved it.
My three year old also spent a few days like this. It’s definitely tougher when two of them are warring for your everything. Still, it’s a priceless opportunity to have them want you, to be the one they think can fix it.
Yes, they wipe boogers all over you and cry and arch their backs and thrash around.
Yet it also means they’re close enough for you to study them, to drink them in. Close enough to contemplate their sweet little hands, close enough to look deeply in their eyes, close enough to marvel at their eyelashes and relish the chubby sweetness of their smell. When they’re healthy, they don’t want to sit still long enough for you to wonder at these things; they’ve got a world to explore. When they’re healthy they’re off on adventure. When they’re sick YOU are home.
If you think about it, changing clothes several times a day is a small price to pay for this privilege. In fact, all the mundane things we do are small in exchange. It’s an honor to be a mother, even a mother who hasn’t had any sleep and who can’t remember the last time her shirt was clean twenty minutes after her shower.