“I’ll stay with Tommy another day ” L’Homme said to me yesterday evening, down the phone from the hospital. “You stay at home with Léonie and have a day off. No driving 50km in the blazing sun, no hospital, no dodgy camp-bed, no nurses coming in all night. I’ll stay here with Tommy. You can take over on Saturday.”
Hoorah, I thought, and considered keeping L’Homme for another few years. His thoughtful side is coming out now he’s 35. I flopped down on the sofa, weary from a day at the hospital and the long drive home, relieved not to have to do it again the next day. I wrote a list of things to do, with or without Léonie, in or out of the shade, during naptime or during wide-awake time, and then I went to bed.
I was woken up at 8 a.m. (erm, not counting the two Léonie awakenings in the night), “MUMMY! MUUUMMMMYYYY!” and I went to get my little girl out of her cot. She was standing up, bouncing about, desperate to jump into my arms. I took her back into my room, keeping the shutters closed and waited for her to stare at me with those huge blue eyes of hers and start flashing her fingers from fists to star hands and back again which of course means “milk”. So I fed her and sat her back on the pillow on L’Homme’s side of the bed, listening to her babble. But it wasn’t just her mouth babbling. A funny gurgling sound was coming from her tummy, a churning, burbling sound. Before I could react, she was sick all over the sheets. Once… twice… and a third time all over me as by then I had her in my arms and was cuddling her. When she had finished being sick and was just hiccuping, I stripped the bed and carried her and the sheets down to the kitchen. She was thirsty so she had a glass of water, looked at me, blinked and promptly filled her nappy up with what I could only imagine was the equivalent of the glass of water but a different colour. I took her into the bathroom, stood her in the shower and took her nappy off. Indeed. Diarrhea explosion. I gave her a shower, wrapped her up in a towel and called the doctor.
This morning was the third time she had been sick in the last ten days and she has had diarrhea for nearly a week. I had hoped it was just a tummy bug that would clear up on its own but it’s just getting worse and she is getting thinner. And so the day unfolded: doctor’s clinic, laboratory (try to get a urine sample from a 19 month old – it took us 2 hours) and even hospital to visit Tommy seeing as the lab is just over the road. Léonie went through 9 nappies (we had to steal some from the hospital) and I became a dab hand at dealing with stinky mud landslides in public places, not to mention applying mini pee bags onto a mini fanny. I also discovered how to get a small child to have a pee when you want them to: you play “Sip & Ah’ which involves each of you taking turns having a sip of water and then exclaiming “AH!” afterwards. After at least 3 cupfuls of water have been downed, you then wait a bit and move onto the game “Cold Water Feet” where you sit your child on the edge of a sink (it’s easier if it’s a sink that’s just sunk into a surface) and you run cold water onto his/her feet. This is a surefire way of making them have a pee. Do not say you never learn anything from my blog. One day you will thank me for this.
Oh and here’s another tip: when your toddler opens up the cupboard beneath the sink and discovers all the test tubes and needles and special sterilised equipment, distract him/her by taking a latex glove from the box of 1000 latex gloves, blowing it up and making it into a punk/a chicken/a cow’s udder.