And the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse shall be called: Baby Squits
Today I had my first unwelcome experience of the baby-squits.
The term may be an unfamiliar one, but the explanation won’t be. I have seen friends and colleagues who are mums, wiped out by gastroenteritis, floored by their sixth cold of the year by March, and telling me about grim sounding conditions like ‘Slapped Cheek’ and ‘Hand, Foot and Mouth’ disease (new baby viruses never have terribly imaginative names — they tend to do exactly what they say on the tin).
I think most people know that babies will come down with all sorts of viruses, rashes and lurgies, but what they might not be braced for is how much will be passed on to exhausted parents.
My best pal has a constitution tougher than a Christopher Walken movie character. I rarely remember her being sick in the twenty-five plus years that I’ve know her. We travelled a lot together, ate in many a dodgy street market, worked with exotic wildlife (I got a weird tropical disease, she didn’t), accepted drinks from strangers (do not try this at home kids) and ate out-of-date food when cash was tight. On top of that she then became a zoo keeper for the love of God. Surely you’d think working with animals week in week out would yield at least one attack of E-coli or roundworm. But no, she was strong as an ox until she had her babies, then suddenly she picked up colds and tummy bugs the way we used to pick up deals at the off-licence.
Those of you who’ve been Mums for longer than me, are probably smiling slightly smugly now, with a strange satisfaction that someone else has now joined this bacteria-ridden club.
A doctor told me that it wasn’t rocket science (that was helpful). Babies and toddlers pick up all sorts of infections and viruses, even more so when they start crèche or playschool, and even the hardiest Mum is never the most rested person. The more tired you are, the lower your defences, and a sleep-deprived parent usually has an immune system to match the bags under their eyes
.I knew all of this of course, but nevertheless it was cold comfort twenty-four hours after my first “Crawlers and Explorers” group, when I was still wiping the snot trails and dirty hand prints of other people’s babies from my clothes, and I felt the rising nausea and stomach groans that signified there may be trouble ahead.
Twelve hours later and I’m sipping some lukewarm chicken soup and feeling like I’ve been beaten with a baseball bat. “Oh just you wait into he’ll starts nursery!” a friend text with just a hint of glee that for once, she’s not the one who has come down with something that means she can’t be further than ten yards from a toilet at all times.
Homeschooling is looking more appealing by the day.