There are certain inevitables when raising so many children. For instance, someone is always hungry. When food is prepared, someone is unhappy about it. When the day is sunny, there is always someone who wants to play inside. And when the flu comes around, no matter what you do, someone is bound to come down with it. Continue reading
The evidence is piling up. No one believes me, but it has to be true. Despite all the reasoning, despite all the skepticism, there can be no other explanation. Even though Wife firmly disagrees, I must say it… there is a ghost in our house.
We have a poltergeist whose soul purpose is to torment first Wife, and then me. And it finds the most devilish ways to do it. Primarily, it wakes up the small children late at night. Under the guise of a nightmare, or a wet diaper, or cold feet, our phantom prods a baby or two awake, which in turn keeps Wife or myself awake. At times the fiend is so successful that it can ruin a night’s sleep for the both of us.
Yet, we have not been idle, no not in the least. We have continued to have children so to eventually overwhelm our phantom. And the fruit is beginning to ripen. Our older girls already calm down and put back to sleep the toddlers most of the time. #1 especially, takes care of her younger siblings; changing diapers and refilling bottles, she and #2 are a great help in securing their parents’ sleep. More and more often, we can sleep through the night, only disturbed by the new baby still growing within Wife.
But the phantom is not defeated. If it cannot keep us up with normal methods, it ushers in the flu, a most unkind trick. Wife, with all her motherly instincts, can not help but bring our sick, suffering children into our room. Normally, she mothers the child to sleep a couple of times a night, and always puts him to bed with us. He then, almost immediately turns and kicks me. The other night #7 fell prey to not only the flu, but also our fiend, who kept waking him up every hour, on the hour. It is not right for a father to have evil thoughts about his own son… but yes, I did. Oh so evil thoughts.
Luckily, flus and colds are seasonal. So our poltergeist has large parts of the year in which it has neither viruses nor bacteria in its bag of tricks. It then works overtime causing nightmares for our girls, especially #3. She has the unique disposition to get night-terrors after watching a lot of movies, due to her overactive imagination and I’m sure a little prodding from our fiend. There are few things that will get me out of bed quicker than her soft stumbling and shrill whimpers. Among its tricks, I find this one the cruelest.
Then the sun rises. In the bright, early rays our fiend retreats to whatever dark hole it dwells in, for it seems that even poltergeists need their sleep. Once the oppression of the phantom has lifted, spirits in our household also rise, and I am met with joyful children as if the night had never happened. Even when the children are sick, the morning brings them a special kind of rejuvenation. So as the happy noises of playing children steadily increases, I have a spiteful thought. I hope the phantom sleeps under the floorboards so our children can keep it awake, returning the favor.
Here’s something that is a little controversial, vaccines. I have heard and read all kinds of opinions on the matter; from those who staunchly believe all children should receive every vaccine known to man at the very moment the child exits the birth canal, to those who are convinced that vaccination was the cause of their child’s autism. With this wide array of conflicting opinions, I thought I might as well add my own just so that you and everyone else could get even more confused.
We did in fact vaccinate the first six children. With the way the pediatrician talked about it, if we did not immunize the children bad things would certainly happen (like polio or the start of the zombie apocalypse). After dealing with that I believe that pediatricians must get paid a bonus per shot, because of the way they push immunizations onto unsuspecting parents. I began to feel like I was dealing with a used car salesman, rather than a doctor. I’ve known some pediatricians who will not even become the primary doctor of a child, if you do not first get the child vaccinated. Not all pediatricians do that of course, but they are always harder to find.
Now, every time one of my children got their shots (it sounds like we are talking about dogs doesn’t it?) the child would get a slight fever. The doctors always said that was to be expected, and we never questioned it. So we would deal with the three or four feverish children for a week or so because it had to be done.
Then something happened in our family. Two of my sisters went into the medical field. Now understand, my mother did not vaccinate myself or any of my eight siblings; so as you can imagine, when my sisters started working at the hospitals, they had to get all the vaccines required. After they did, an incredible happened; neither of them got sick, no sniffles, no fever, no nothing.
So… here’s our count, six out of six children (all under two years old) got feverish every time they got their shots. Two out of two sisters get every vaccine under the sun and got nothing.
I am starting to believe that vaccines are really designed for adults and are only pushed onto infants because they cannot run away. Needless to say, #7 is without vaccinations. So far there has been no apocalypse…
In my household, the unexpected is to be expected. Very cliché I know, and not at all original, but I was at a loss of a better way to describe it. You see, with nine individual people in the house, someone is bound to throw a wrench in the gears.
Last Sunday there were at least two women who would have noticed that I did not write anything; they are my mother and my mother-in-law. To you two, I offer in writing my profound apologies. I have been told that writers are lazy by nature… well, they’re right. BUT, in my defense I have been quite busy with Pre-Mothers Day, Mother’s Day, and a whole brigade of viruses that we thought had been defeated two weeks ago; but were really laying in wait for us to drop our guard and open the windows. Sneaky little assassins.
Out of a clear sky the younger boys were struck with the flu, again. Through a busy week Wife did battle with her miniature foe, and finally succumbed herself, again. Unfortunately when Wife was laid up with the flu, it happened to be the weekend that some of her extended family was arriving at her parents’ house. The following day I threw in the wrench by catching the same bug. Two weeks planning for this reunion and my family got sick, one… at… a… time…
And so I move on. It’s in my caricature to hold on and ride out the storm. But Wife on the other hand steams onward through thick and thin on a steady course. While Wife was down I carried on with the care of the children. When Wife was back up she not only set to right the house I had neglected but also the children I had not neglected. With the skill of a watch smith and the finesse of a drill sergeant, she set her skills to work pulling wrenches out of all points of the house and children. With an energy previously unaccounted for, she set all to proper working order.
I stayed in bed with my flu and kept my wrenches to myself.
With all the seasons I could get stuck with, ski season, duck season, football season, swim season, or even planting season, but no I was stuck with a late flu season. Of itself and because of Wife, flu season is usually not a trouble because of her incredible gifts of organization. When the flu hits us the cards most often fall like so:
1- One child gets the flu (nine times out of ten, it is the preschooler)
2- One or more come down with the same virus while Wife has the first on the mend.
3- One to three children are sick at a time as the flu makes its run through the house. Between sick kids healing meals, Wife some how keeps the laundry caught up.
4- The one who brought the flu home in the fist place catches it on the rebound just to monopolize Wife once more.
5- I catch the flu on the weekend and get Wife’s undivided attention.
A week of the flu season – max.
Now here’s what happened. Wednesday Wife calls to inform me that she will require help that night as she is unwell. I am amicable. As I did help create the children; I, with great vigor, will endeavor to take charge of my beloved’s responsibilities of the children through one night. She however neglected to tell me that she was not the only one ill.
I found four children complaining of “stummy aches” and the last three just plain sick. I could handle that though. Wife does it all the time. All I have to do is do what she does. So, taking a leaf out of her book, I went to lay out blankets on the floor of the living room so they could watch a movie to take their minds off their illness. So…… where does Wife keep the blankets?
I gathered the children and bunched them all together. I figured that way when a child started throwing-up I would be able to find the kid. I did not have long to wait.
I was wakened from a dead sleep by a “Mom!!! So-n-so threw-up!”
#1 left a trail of vomit from the kitchen all the way into the bathroom. That just about set the tone for the night. As soon as the carpet was cleaned and #1 was back on the couch #5 began throwing-up down his shirt and onto his pillow. That was when I almost added my own contribution to the mess.
Understand; as I am writing about vomit covered pillows, I am trying not to get queasy myself.
At one point in the night, while I was changing #6’s pajamas Wife got up to help clean the bedding, and was quickly chased back by her own stomach cramps.
I confess, I now believe Wife to be made of something equal to cast iron. Twice, I ran from a child in order to calm my own stomach. There was a huge pile of vomit caked blankets and sheets in the laundry room. And the pile of sick kids in the front room resembled a kind of blanket covered mass grave.
To put the matter in a nutshell – we had an entire flu week condensed into one night; and I was in charge. How did we survive?