I can't say it was my worst New Year's ever. 'Cause there was that one time I had the flu. But this one comes pretty close. Since before the end of 2014, I've been fighting bronchitis, which my husband also caught. Fortunately, the baby didn't get it. Unfortunately, the baby did end up with a stomach bug. Which I ended up getting, on top of the bronchitis. Now, a week after my son's first ever fit of projectile vomiting, we're still all recovering.
There are a lot of "parenting secrets" my friends let me in on before I had Ronen. The ugly and awful and wonderful things that can happen when a tiny human comes to live with you. One thing that never came up was how ridiculously long the tummy flu can last in an infant. The fact that, no matter how secure that diaper is, things - horrible, terrifying things - will leak out of it, covering cute onesies and pajamas and blankies and sheets and pillows.
Yes, it's been very hard watching over a sick baby for whom I can do very little. It's been mostly cuddling and napping. Which I guess might sound like a dream to some folks, maybe those who don't get to see their kids as often as they would like. But even his physical therapy has fallen by the wayside, leaving me feeling guilty about - well, everything. I was in a panic yesterday because he isn't consistently responding to his name. Yet, even sick, he figured out how to sit unsupported and will now do so happily for several minutes at a time, looking around, or holding a toy. He likes his blocks.
Yet I still worry. I think I'd worry less about his development if I hadn't gotten cabin fever lately. I could not believe how isolating it's been. The fact that the median temperature this week has been zero degrees and snowy has not helped. I also didn't realize he'd be contagious this long, and both of my parents are already in bad shape physically, so the thought of giving them the stomach bug was unbearable. So, although Ross has been an incredible help (even calling off work so he could care for the baby when I was too weak), it's still been lonely. Very lonely. I got out for the first time in over a week yesterday, and it was pretty much just to buy a new pillow. I'm eagerly awaiting the day that I can bundle the little dude up in his monkey suit (literally), strap him in his carseat and heat out without worrying about hosing things down when I get home.
I'm almost 100% better myself and looking forward to returning to a more physical lifestyle. My parents gave us their old but very nice treadmill, and two of my girlfriends and I are committing to a 5K in April. Not surprisingly, it's a superhero run, in which the participants frequently wear full masks and costumes - not just Green Lantern T-shirts. The three of us are going as the DC ladies - Supergirl, Batgirl and Wonder Woman. The proceeds go towards supporting abused children, and frankly, there are few more worthy causes out there, so it's a chance to be a real-life superhero for kids! As it is, though, I'll just be walking it unless I can get back into the swing of regular exercise. I've lost almost 10 pounds in the past 3 weeks, but I'm afraid much of that has been due to being sick and having zero appetite. The trick will be in continuing to lose as my appetite returns!
The hardest part of the past three weeks has been in feeling totally aimless. Yes, I've been sick. It's kind of an excuse. But I haven't written. Like, anything. I haven't gotten out of my pajamas most days. I just have a hard time believing this is what God wants for me. I know being a parent - an attentive parent - is about the most important task the world has ever seen, but is this it? What am I missing? I feel like I am forgetting to be myself. It's exactly what I was afraid of when I was pregnant. I need to regroup, do things that make me happy. I started this week, by re-reading Jane Eyre in two days while the baby was sleeping. Not only is it, of course, an amazing story, but it was a treat to have a real paper book in my hands again. It reminded me of who I really am. I'm at heart a reader and a learner. A scholar. A speaker, a writer, a performer, an informer, a teacher. Two projects - one promised, one potential - encourage me. On Tuesday, I will begin teaching our church's drama group, Troupe 4:12, again. (We had taken time off during the holiday, then because of the baby's sickness.) I'm honored that my pastors have given me literally carte blanche with this group. It's not a Bible class. I teach theatre history. We rehearse plays. We work on improvisation. I'm excited to add more structure to the workshops this year and watch the kids improve their skills even more. I also have the freedom to write and perform my own work, and, frankly, for this control freak, being able to write and direct and cast my own pieces is a dream come true. Even if it's on a small stage and just for my church.
The other potential project is a reunion of sorts - maybe. A few college pals and I got the crazy idea for a staged reading of William Shakespeare's Star Wars. More on that as - if - it develops. It's something to hope for!