Where to begin?
I've been missing for almost a week because that's how long we've all been pummeled, again and again, by the flu. It started with little J having a sinus infection, which he gave to me. The very night that I was thinking to myself "one more good night of sleep and I have this sinus thing beat!", the little guy proceeded to spend the whole night throwing up on me, my husband, and all of our worldly possessions (at least that is how it felt at 3am). In the midst of this, the husband reported that he was coming down with the sinus thing, which hit him full force the next day. And then as little J came around from the belly bug and started to improve, it hit the poor husband full on, and he spent the weekend battling away what has to be one of the worst stomach flus I have seen in awhile. Finally, as he and the little guy both took a turn for the better, I took a turn for the worse, coming down with some hybrid version of the stomach thing which did not involve vomiting (thankfully), but did involve all the other symptoms suffered by the husband (and presumably the toddler, who is not equipped to complain as articulately as we are), including a migraine headache and the feeling that someone had beaten on my whole body with a sledgehammer.
All of this sickness has made for many wakeful nights at our house, which seems to have sabotaged a careful year of sleep training for the baby. He went from sleeping eleven glorious hours a night prior to this plague, to going on a complete and utter sleep strike. As in, he has barely slept during the night or napped in the last several days. The husband and I have traded off who sits out the night with him, and who holes up in the guest bedroom with white noise and ear plugs, trying desperately to get the rest we need to really kick these bugs out of our systems. The result has been a kind of a delirious malaise settling over the household, marked by bad jokes, bad hair, and limited patience.
All the while, we've been attempting to keep on trucking in our normal (and ambitious) routines; the husband cranking to meet deadlines at his two jobs, and me keeping on the job hunt, writing cover letters and calling daycares and trying to figure out what comes next. Couple this with piles and piles of flu-laundry and my Quixotic quest to disinfect the entire house lest some other strain of the flu put the final nail in the coffin of our sanity, and you have a very tenuous situation.
It's really no wonder that sleep deprivation is a torture tactic for prisoners of war. Lack of rest colors your ability to deal in reality in such a very profound way. As a result, I've gone to some fairly strange and dark places in my psyche in the last week or so, coincidentally a period of time when the world has been rocked by more major tragedy than it is possible to comprehend. And beyond what is happening in Japan and Libya, I've had some friends dealing with some very real health issues, which make me feel almost ashamed to be so emotionally weakened by a simple bout of influenza. In all, times have been weird, and meals have been toast, eggs, cereal, and take-out matzo ball soup from my favorite Jewish deli in Brookline. Blogging just didn't feel right.
This morning, I decided I had to make a change no matter what. Despite having slept only between 11 and 1:30 and 5:30-7, I headed out on a run with the baby first thing, determined to let endorphins carry the day. The bracing cold cleared my head and seemed to calm the stubbornly sleep-deprived little man. I think my gait belied my exhaustion, though, because as I rounded the mile-mark of the pond, an older woman walking had a good chuckle at me, panting and pushing 50-odd lbs of stroller. I decided to ham it up, and stuck my tongue out for effect, saying "he's heavier than he looks!" as I passed. She shouted back to me in heavily accented English, "At the finish you feel good! This is all that matters!" And I decided to let this quote buoy me for good.
Eventually we'll all feel better again, and the boy will sleep again. I'm proud of the husband and me for sticking together and not turning on eachother in our stress and exhaustion. I'm grateful that the flu will soon be gone, and that beyond this we have our normally robust health. I'm grateful for friends and family who've supported us through these dark hours. Life is good, we are good. And at the finish we'll feel good, and this is all that matters!
I'm looking forward to getting back in my blogging groove, and have one of my very best giveaways ever up my sleeve for next week, so stay tuned!