As you may have read, two weeks ago my daughter and I had an adventure at Akron Children's Hospital (ACH). There was a good week of nights where I was up 2-4 times a night before our experience at ACH. Since then, my child came down with a double ear infection (another visit to ACH yesterday) and my sleep has been sporadic. I jump at every cough or cry like a resident jumping to a page when trying to get a couple hours of sleep at a hospital. This has just been a season of virus after virus since January. All the children at her daycare are getting sick and a legion of blurry eyed parents are roaming the streets of our area (be forewarned).
I haven't had this many nights of limited hours of sleep since college. It is a wonder any of us graduate with all the distractions to keep us from sleeping in those days? I'm also amazed at anyone who manages to keep a spotless house with a sick child, too. My attitude? Child first, sleep second, housekeeping third. Some dust and lack of organization has never been a child's main memory of their early years. However, knowing that one's parent was there for them, holding them in their arms as they fought off a fever or a cough can create a lasting impression.
I have been told that every child goes through this phase of one virus after another. Studies show that children in daycare are healthier when they get to grade school and I can see why. I would rather have my child exposed to all of these germs, build up her immune system and be healthy for grade school than go through all of this when her studies are more important.
As for me? I realize that there will always be something in her life to keep me awake at one time or another. Yet, I do longingly remember those distant days when I could just "veg" on the couch, watch a John Hughes (Sixteen Candles) or Gen X/80's movie while talking to my friends about our jobs and date du jour. That little fantasy-memory doesn't last long because "Mama!" usually breaks me from my spell and I roll out of bed to cuddle with my daughter who tells me "hold me" as we spoon and I remember that this is my new dream-fantasy.