Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Christmas Flu for Mommy

Today's post comes from our dear friend, Mrs. Darling. She has contributed many wonderful posts over time and this one is about how much fun it is to get the flu right before Christmas...


I’m going to wrap presents today. I’m also going to haul out a brick of cookie dough that’s been taking up space in the freezer since thanksgiving and make delicate confections of wondrous delight. I’m going to find the rest of the playmobile holy family so that the Baby Jesus will no longer be set upon by the three wise pirates. From this day on I am going to be a Christmas beast.

I will do this with confidence (if not any actual skill) because I have recently emerged from the dark side a wretched bout of seventy-two-hour-but-let’s-give-it-another-day-since-I-am-still-a-feverishly-damp-sight-to-see-and-no-one-will-want-me-to-volunteer-at-the-holiday-book-fair-looking-like-this-anyways-flu.

For me, the flu has always been a tidy kind of illness. I never feel the symptoms until I’m suddenly tackled with the three headed hydra of aching body, fever and nausea. It comes as an almost blessed kind of epiphany. One minute you’re in the parking lot of your local big box toy store emporium with a sense of jingle bell purpose in the air, and the next you are realizing the crusty juice box by your foot is emitting by far the most foul stench imaginable and that you need to get rid of that and the contents of your breakfast in short order.

I found my way home after that unfortunate incident by a combination of luck and I-shouldn’t –be-operating-machinery adrenaline. I then looked at the to do list of holiday what-have-you that I had smugly made the night before. Shopping? My burgeoning headache told me that I’d be lucky if I could even point and click online. Decorate? I looked at the storage boxes holding all things seasonal. Maybe the Darling children would like to do it if I unplugged the router and cable box. Making and freezing soup for next week’s potluck? Ha.

I waited for the Darling children to arrive from school. Once all assembled, I made the solemn announcement that their mother was sick. Not under the weather, not cranky, not (ye gods) going to have a baby…I was yucky flu sick and was now going to collapse into bed. Daddy would be home soon to fulfill all their pizza desires.

What followed that night and into the next was a full on series of fever hallucinations the likes that I know could never be replicated by mere pharmaceuticals. I wore a green elf costume and was trying to make homemade Hallmark ornaments for everyone I knew. I was doing this in an effort to quell the wrath of the crazy Target lady who had taken residence in the corner of my un-sorted sock basket. I tried to tell her if she would just be cool and revert back to Maria Bamford, I could make the damn things, but she was having none of it and soon brought her posse of Real Housewives to boss me around. (I tend to keep the TV on when I’m sick- can you tell?)

Every so often a Darling child would tiptoe in my room and ask if I was going to die and, if not, was I going to be able to bring the gingerbread snack for tomorrow and would I have time to hem the rest of the choir gown because the performance was in four days and did I ever get the gold glitter and not the glitter glue because those were two totally different things and did we have any milk because it’s cold enough for hot chocolate and…I ran back to the waiting arms of the Real target Housewives and promised to do better.

And I did. I was so blissed out happy once I could stand up out of bed without swaying or retching, that I knew I was really going to enjoy the holly jolliness of what was left of the next few weeks. I’ve kept the bar so very low during my mommy career, holiday –wise (everything left to last minute, cookies are forgotten, hoards for friends insulted that they never get cards) that I have nowhere to go but up. Even if the next few days allow me to only rise to the mediocre, it will be done sans sickness, and that will make it a very happy holiday for me.

Oh! Just in case anyone was still wondering: my flu, and all of the whining that came with it, was indeed one of those ever so popular ‘first world’ problems that everyone keeps talking about. I had friend and family to pick up slack if needed. Had I been seriously ill, I could have dug out my insurance card and crawled over to my doctor. If the Happy Holiday Hooker drive has taught me anything, it is that all too many families can be thrown into chaos if something as little as flu mucks up the plans for work, childcare, and anything else under the sun. I was blessed with help and support. Now that I am properly seasoned for the holidays, I plan to spread the blessings around. The crazy Target lady of my fever dreams will be proud of me.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011


  1. I too have been praying to the porcelain gods for the last 10 hrs and it's given me time to think that my husband has it way too easy. It he was sick he would stay home from work and I would be here to take care of him. And yet tomorrow I will be on my own with the twins and if I fall asleep right now, will have managed two hours of sleep. Thanks for the humor to get me through this night!

  2. I am currently almost completely sidelined by A. Having a 21 month old that will not nap no matter what and will ALSO not be lulled into being still by the magic box so he is up from seven a.m. till 8 a constant whirl of motion. No cookies have been baked, no cleaning beyond the bare minimum.

    And B. Being in my third trimester. Delighted as we are to be having a baby, there is no getting around the fact that the combination of a 13 hour day with a toddler while very pregnant is...challenging? Insane? Crazy making?

    I can get one thing done a day. So the presents are bought and wrapped and the tree is up and I did the Christmas grocery shopping. That's it though. We made a bunch of jam back in October because I knew what LAY AHEAD, but the reality of Christmas being in THREE DAYS when I still need to clean the bathrooms and clear off the debris from the dining room table as my child takes each day by the balls and drags our home farther and farther away from MERRY CHRISTMAS and closer and closer to WHUCK IS THAT SMELL( that would be the yogurt he smeared into our new couch)is making me dream of a nightcap.

  3. Worst kind of sick with this stomach flu... all 5 us struck down, Daycare had to close one day to let everyone get healthy and to disinfect.... Would not wish on my worst enemy....

  4. I have completely and totally lost my voice, so while I don't completely feel your pain I do understand. Thank god, for email and text messaging even though I am now using it to communicate with my husand who is sitting next to me on the couch. Oh and i would write notes to my children but the oldest is in Kindegarten and just now learning to read, so i will make do the best I can and sile and nod at all the friendly people in the stores as i finish off this holiday season's shopping list and pray with little use of my throat this will pass soon.

    Good luck to you too and by the way i feel like an ass every year as Christmas cards pour in and I have once again put it off for too long that there is no way they will make it there by Christmas.

  5. I just have to say, that picture freaked me out! Looks like she is holding a beheaded Santa...

  6. I was a Happy Helping Hooker. I'm glad I was able to participate when I did, because then I got hit by the antibiotic-resistant bronchitis. I'm on round *4* of drugs strong enough to kill things three counties over, and I had to, literally, empty my savings and checking accounts to pay for the thousand dollars in medication. We had our own helping hooker step in and take care of Christmas for my children.

    This does not make for a happy mommy. I can sympathize. I hope your flu goes very, very, very far away. And lives somewhere else. For a long time. And if we could make arrangements to get it to take this crap with it, I'd be really, really happy.

  7. I'm nursing a crap-tastic sinus cold that has me wishing that Christmas would bring me a happy dose of something strong and hallucination-inducing. And yet I still have to drag myself around and deal with the 4 wee ones and the extended family that is about to descend. I look forward to celebrating when this thing finally passes!

  8. Is that Kate trying to look like a crazy Target lady? I have a hard time imagining finding that at Stockphoto :>.

    I recall the first, last, and (so far) only time I got the mommy flu (a serious if brief illness during the period when one of your kids is under the age of 3). My eldest was around 6 months, and as I lay on the bathroom floor praying to the porcelain gods, I heard, between retches, my husband saying "Honey, can you take the baby? She's fussy." Needless to say, the answer was no - and I will probably let him live that down if we both make it to the 85-and-rocking-on-the-porch stage, but certainly not before then. Let's just say his Daddy-fu is stronger now.

  9. Every single child in my DS preschool is coughing up a One was nice enough to cough directly in my face this a.m. Merry Christmas! Here is a round of bronchitis for you and yours!

    We had the stomach flu (DS and I) about 1 1/2 weeks before Christmas last year. Hubby got in on it approximately 4 days after us and was literally down for the count. 5 nights before Christmas I had to call an ambulance because he passed out cold walking from the bedroom to the bathroom ~ hitting his head once down. Off to the ER after Mommy was questioned by the policeman as if I did something to him... I am thinking ~ "Dude, it is a week until Christmas. DS and I were just out of it for 3 days or so, leaving no gifts wrapped, no cookies baked, etc. Do you honestly think I have time to plot anything right now?" Clearly the cop was still a little concerned about our neighborhood since a woman had beat up her husband the week before and had a hostage like showdown with the police and SWAT... HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

  10. Just got over a two-week long cold, then broke my finger, and then had an unexpected period. Merry Christmas??? My 7 month old just lights up when she sees the Christmas tree, so that makes up for it.

  11. Mrs. Darling...I'm glad you're feeling better!

    Everyone who commented that they are sick...feel better soon!

    Also? There should be an actual show called The Real Target Housewives. And it should star Kate and Lydia. I'm just sayin'.... ;-)

  12. Feel better wishes to all sick hookers out there.

    Here's my first world problem - I broke my wrist two weeks ago. I can type (obviously), but there are so many Christmasy things I can't do. This year there will be no cookies at the LB household. Also, I haven't wrapped gifts as quickly as usual, so I have a whole stack of gifts that need to be shipped out, but that won't get to any one by Christmas. Oh, Santa, why can't you deliver these gifts on time. I know I'm the one who didn't plan ahead, but really, give a girl a break. :-(


  13. Lol, I should probably also add that my husband is one of the most "manliest men" you will ever come across. He lays hardwood floors, is a mechanic, an hvac tech and could survive in the mountains for the rest of his life with nothing but the clothes on his back. (He's actually wanted to do that for quite some time...but that ain't gonna happen cuz Mama has no desire to also do so.) I don't think we look down on men in societ that can fix cars and can also fix a killer meal. I know I am thrilled that my husband can clean a toilet or do the laundry but can also fix anything or build anything my heart desires. These little boys that play with "girly" stuff will just grow up to be well-rounded young men who know how to make their significant others happy and possibly even be superb fathers themselves someday. People just need to pull their preconceived notions out of their @$$e$ and chill out!

  14. Oops...I posted that in the wrong place. Lol! I was reading the flu post...but my head was still on the "boy wants girl toy" post. Sorry.

  15. Three Christmases ago, my SIL’s mom gave juuust about everyone food poisoning from some cake she brought to the party. My Mom puked on the drive home, and I started with puking and diarrhea a couple hours later. My daughter was ~ 4 months old at the time, and to his credit – my hubs did an admirable job with her for the roughly 24 hours I was sidelined.

    This year, my beautiful 3-year-old woke from her nap on *December 23* with leaking, mucusy eyes. Pediatrician (God bless her) diagnosed the kiddo over the phone later that evening and called in a ‘scrip for eye drops. Took Sugar Booger into the AWESOME pediatrician’s office on *Christmas Eve* morning where she was also diagnosed with an ear infection.

    Merry Christmas!!

    Hope everyone is feeling better this week!




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