Gus is 429 days old today and, man, am I tired.
Becky and I keep wondering when we’ll ever catch up on our sleep, or even just get five hours of uninterrupted shut-eye, but all of our friends who have lived through this just laugh and roll their eyes when we ask.
To make matters worse, over the past month, Gus has had two sicknesses. First, a stomach flu that walloped both him and me and now a cold that has really knocked Becky for a loop. In both cases, Gus has fared better than his parents, but they really set his sleep training back.
Just as we were getting into a groove of five hours of sleep, 30 minutes of nursey time, followed by another five to seven hours of sleep, his upset tummy and his fever derailed what we thought would become our regular routine.
During our mutual sickness, when I took three days off from work, he and I basically napped for an hour, woke up and snacked when food was palatable or used the little-boys’ room, and then crawled back into the sack for another hour of sleep.
Sometimes during those hours of wakefulness, whether it was 3 a.m. or 3 p.m., we would sit in his little play area and both listlessly push toy trucks back and forth while grumbling every time a stomach cramp washed through our bodies.
He recovered more quickly than his dad but the following week we were at play group at Sophia’s Hearth in Keene, N.H., when he started gnawing on a wooden toy that had previously been in the mouth of another snot-nosed little one.
Sure enough, a few days later, Gus’ cute little nose began dripping mucus and before I could rush to the store to purchase a box of tissues, the drip had turned into a stream. Becky and I tried to keep his nose wiped, but as we learned, there is just no way to keep a 14-month-old from spreading his germs everywhere.
Gus is slowly getting better, but Becky is miserable. She has a rasping cough, she has almost lost her voice, when she’s not sweating she’s shivering, and her sleeping has been far from restorative. Thursday night, I came home to find Becky sitting on the sofa, wearing warm clothes, a flannel shirt, wrapped in a blanket, and a wool cap on her head. In one hand was a cup of tea and in the other a tissue.
Meanwhile, Gus was snoozing away, but the minute we shut the lights off he woke up, needing mommy’s attention. Sometimes Gus will take a bottle from me, but in the middle of the night, and when he’s not feeling well, only mommy will suffice.
Now here we are stumbling into another weekend, hoping to get some rest but not holding out too much hope. With Christmas coming ‘round and relatives coming to visit, it’s time to bust out the cleaning supplies and chase down all the dust and dog hair that tends to accumulate in odd corners of the house while we’re busy chasing Hurricane Gus from room to room.
Even when he’s sick he’s scattering tea packets in the kitchen, pulling carefully folded laundry out of the basket and throwing it every which way, dragging toilet paper from the bathroom into the living room (shredding it on the way) and pulling books off the book shelves.
As if that’s not bad enough, ankle-twisting toys end up underfoot, mashed banana squeezes unexpectedly up through the toes and I can’t find any of the four toothbrushes I’ve unwrapped since last Monday!
Hopefully, we will all have recovered by Monday, when the relatives start to trickle in and ooh and ahh over our marvelous little boy. It will be nice to see them, but to tell you the truth, the best part of having family over to visit is knowing we’ll have help with child care.
Bob Audette is the day managing editor at the Brattleboro Reformer and proud father of Gus. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311 ext. 160.