Winter of discontent

Ok, so perhaps that title sounds a little bit dramatic, but it’s definitely how it feels in our house right now. I had never been such a frequent visitor to the doctor’s office until I had my daughter 18 months ago, and I’d also never heard the word ‘viral’ quite so much. I’m definitely over it.

Millie has had a really rough ride for the last few months, since about September last year so we can chuck in autumn alongside winter too. There have been two month long bouts of teething (hoping we’re coming out of the second one now – four teeth cut over Christmas? Jeez!), and endless bugs that have caused every symptom I can think of; bad nappies, vomiting, sleeplessness, rashes, fevers, endless snot production, coughs, mouth ulcers, general grumpiness and some extended periods of crying.

I’m reliably informed that this is the norm for the first winter in nursery; the little ones get every germ going and then share as much as possible. Apparently the payback will come next year and beyond when Millie has better immunity and will be much healthier, but that feels a long way off right now!

Credit where it’s due, Millie’s been an absolute trooper, and has managed to maintain long pockets of her sunny disposition throughout the suffering. I could definitely learn from her because I’ve been less resilient I’m afraid, and I do enjoy a bit of moaning on a regular basis. I’m pretty good at playing the martyr in these situations! I can deal with all of it fairly well, except the lack of sleep.

Over the summer we’d gotten to a point where she was sleeping through about half the time, and on the nights she wasn’t it was a fairly short nappy-bottle-cuddle-down routine, and it felt good. Since September time I think I can count the full night’s sleep we’ve had on one hand, and when it’s bad (I recently rolled into work on three hours of sleep and a hell of a grump on) I just shut down. No good for anyone! The best strategy I’ve found for managing it is to bring her into bed with me and my husband. We get less space, less duvet and extra aches in the morning from sleeping around her but she’s much more settled so that’s always the winner.

At the minute Millie’s had something else viral for about 10 days, and it’s just awful seeing them in discomfort and not knowing what to do about it – Calpol’s always our first and most effective defence, I may take out some shares! It’s been a difficult one because it’s dragged on a bit and she seems to get one symptom every couple of days, which then disappears to let the next one in, so she’s never quite right.

I’ve been sending her into nursery as normal and then getting the dreaded mum guilt when they say she’s been quiet, not eaten much and laid around a bit more than usual. Should she be at home with me? I hope that the change of scenery and distraction of others perks her up a bit, but you never know if you’ve done the right thing. I’m very hopeful that we will be coming out of it soon!

So to all the other parents fighting the winter bug onslaught – keep at it. Get early nights, give them all the extra cuddles, make sure you’re well stocked and batten down the hatches for a while. It’s got to pass eventually, right?! And if you see a friend with a small child looking a bit like a zombie and perhaps on the verge of tears, give them a big hug and make them a cup of tea. They’ll love you forever.

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