Welcome Home! Love, Gastroenteritis

We flew from Guatemala to Boston last Sunday. Such a short sentence for such a long trip… Our return voyage went well enough, considering we were: a 3 1/2 year old who doesn’t travel well, a 23-month-old, an exhausted Nana, and me, the insanely sleep-deprived mom, plus that we had had to get up at 3:30 a.m. and then find our way through customs and immigration in Miami. After we had collected our baggage (yes, all four bags did make it to Guate after all! Just not for a day) and piled it high on a cart, we tried to make our way through customs and then on to re-check the bags, and we realized we had a problem. With two kids in strollers, two large carryons each, and the cart piled high, we simply didn’t have enough arms to push or carry everything. The strollers were so laden that they required two hands to steer, and the cart as well, and we were two people… We pushed and veered and re-directed and slowly, ridiculously slowly, wobbled our way down the first of a series of long hallways, all the time with two complaining/ crying/ tantruming kids. The only airport security guy to acknowledge us at all said: “Move along! Hurry it up there!” It was the lovely father of a family of four traveling to Orlando who so, so kindly offered to push the luggage cart for us. And so, we made it to the gate and then home, sweet home. And a shocking 12 degrees and wind, but that’s another story.

All of that wasn’t really that difficult, however. It was the next day, Monday, when Babygirl was sent home from school, vomiting. Hubby called me at work to report, and we both said: ‘Sure hope it’s not contagious….’

No one wants their kids to get sick. But I was selfishly considering my precarious state….I was already struggling with fatigue, and the schedule hadn’t allowed any recovery days… The trip itself was wonderful, so good to see our family, to enjoy the beautiful weather, the emotional and physical warmth… but the kids didn’t sleep well. And I was in a room with both of them. There were multiple awakenings every night, then Babygirl was up relentlessly early every day… It wiped me out, and I was looking forward to being home and the kids getting back into thir regular sleep routine (that we had worked so hard to establish!)

But. Next day, Babyboy had a terrible off-day at school, and then came home, vomiting. That night, Tuesday night, was one of the worst I could remember. I mean, we’ve done the GI bug before, but this poor kid, he was exploding all over the place, it was coming out both ends, we couldn’t keep up, we changed him and the bed so many times. Hubby was doing laundry at 3 a.m.   Poor baby, but it was so foul.

Sometime in the night, I got it too, a milder version, and I lay there curled up next to Babyboy, holding the bucket for him, but also wrapping myself around him as much as possible for the feverish warmth, my teeth chattering, shivering with chills and breathing down the nausea… I wondered if I could get myself up at 5:30 and go to work. And I did. I washed hands like crazy and didn’t shake hands at all. I did beg the staff to cancel the latter half of my schedule, but I made it.

But, the kids were still so sick. We had family who we had invited  to visit for Thanksgiving. They were driving from a distance, and we had been planning this for some time. We were all really, truly looking forward to the visit, for so many reasons…. But. The weather was supposed to be awful for driving, and my grandmother was hospitalized for dehydration (also on Tuesday, but not from the Gi bug)… We called them and discussed, and all agreed it seemed that the Universe was sending signs that a get-together was not meant to be.

It was a bummer. There were other friends of mine who were home for the Holiday, people I rarely see, and I had to cancel on them as well. We were on Survival mode for the week, as I had to work on Friday, and Hubby had to travel for work this weekend… It was a rough, rough week. Hubby also got the milder version of the bug, and the kids had symptoms through the weekend.

Today, Sunday,  was actually the first day we weren’t changing diarrhea diapers, the first day when wiping bottoms didn’t cause screeches of protest from our poor rashey babies. It was also the first day we didn’t have to throw a load of vomit or poopie- tainted wash in for immediate sanitation….

Today, the kids were really good. I had them solo most of the day, and we went and fed the ducks at the pond. They love that, even when the greedy little mallards come right up to them and nip their hands. Babygirl giggles, says “No, bad ducky!” Babyboy was kind of grumpy still, but at least we got out and got some fresh air.

Only, in our house, there’s a spot in the living room that still reeks of Babygirl milk bottle vomit. It’s right near the couch, and we can’t figure out where it;s coming from. She and Babyboy both puked a gazillion times in that area, most of the time in a bucket, but, not all. I cleaned under the couch cushions again, under the cough, lifted the rug and sanitized under it, scrubbed the rug again, and it still reeeks. Can’t figure it out. But, at least everyone is back to normal…

And tonight we can sleep.


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