This year we decided to stay home for the holidays. No traveling, no scrambling for winter clothes, just a quiet week at home with our family, a luxury we rarely get to experience. My husband had the whole week off so we were excited have a fabulous staycation.
Christmas Eve and morning were just like we had imagined; good food, great friends, the excitement on both the boys and our parts for Christmas morning. It was really perfect. Until the boys started coughing Christmas night. I had a sliver of hope that it was just over stimulation from the rush of Christmas or even a small cold because the temperatures were dropping. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. What started off as a promising holiday break, basically turned into the black plague hitting our house fast and without remorse. It began as a horrible cold that morphed into a stomach virus and continued with an unsettling intense cough that has kept on for days.
All of our dreams of a magical Christmas vacation were dashed by some dreadful infection that kept us house-bound for the entire week. At first I was so bummed that we were finally home for a holiday and this happened, however, I soon began to think differently about certain aspects of this turn of events.
Please pass the germs
I remember when I was pregnant and researching everything twin related, I came across a blog written by a father of twins. One of the things he said was when one gets sick you might as well rub the toothbrush of the sick one all over the face of their twin because inevitably they will get sick too and you might as well get it over with. I kept thinking of that article as Kris and I ran from room to room and kid to kid, trying to clean up everything that had just come up. That dad was so right. As hard as it is taking care of 2 sick babies, it is way better than one getting sick and then the next one. With both boys sick at the same time, when it is done, it’s done. There is no passing it back and forth, putting us on a revolving door of illness. There is also no trying to keep one twin entertained while the other is laying on the couch desperate for you to hold him. We can all snuggle together and be miserable as one.
I realized that Kris and I make a pretty good team. Two 2 year olds, having intense coughing fits, throwing up, crying and 2 dogs, one being a puppy we are watching, running all over the house, trying to eat whatever the boys threw up, having to go the bathroom every 3 hours, made it a bit of a zoo at our house. And yet we were able to keep a sense of calm between us and within the house, taking turns and tag-teaming when needed.
I became so grateful that they actually got sick when my husband was home. Taking care of two sick babies alone is no small feat. Each boy had a parent to help them. No one was ever left out of being taken care of, even for a minute. We could divide and conquer. At night the boys only wanted me so Kris slept on the couch while I slept in the bed with at least one twin every night for the week. He was able to get some sleep so that during the day I could get some sleep after being up most of the night with them. Just being able to get some rest during the day made the nights so much more bearable.
Normally, with Kris at work, I have to handle most of the night shift and all the day shift, which is exhausting. When the inevitable happens, after a week of having double the germs spewed at me all day and night, I finally get sick as they are getting better, there is someone there to help me. They are still at the age that once they are better they don’t really notice I can barely stand. They are bursting with everything that encompasses a 2-year-old; a sh-t ton of energy. So having Kris home so I can lay down mid-day has truly saved me.
Unable to sleep myself, at 3am as I was uncomfortably propped up so the boys could sleep against me at an incline, I had a moment when I looked down at one of the their flushed little face sleeping against me and thought this is going to pass and will never happen again. I wasn’t thinking about their sickness ending but the security and comfort sleeping against me gives them. Just the small gesture of holding my hand while they slept enabled them to relax enough to actually get some sleep, which they desperately needed. That won’t happen forever. There will come a time when they will be too big for that, or too cool, or someone else’s hand will give them that comfort. Just thinking about that during the middle of the night, night after night this week, made it completely ok that I wasn’t going to get much sleep. I actually kind of looked forward to bedtime in a weird way. To me, everything is more beautiful at night, and the nights this past week, being quiet with my babes, taking in this brief moment of time when I am more than medicine, was in a certain way, quite lovely.
How I Spent Our Christmas Vacation
Our Christmas vacation was supposed to be day trips, museums, hitting a bunch of playgrounds with the aid of another adult, just do all the things we normally don’t during the rest of the calendar year due to work schedules or other trips. Instead it was a week of malady at home. And yet, the boys will never know what they “missed.” For them it was time with both of their parents for 8 days in a row where they watched their first movie, “Peanuts” (thank you screeners), sat quiet outside in the sun on our laps, played with all their toys, old and new, with both mom and dad all day and they got to eat popsicles. Minus seeing my kids sick, it was kind of a great Christmas vacation.