A sickly-sausage and a to-do list

17 Apr

Working with a poorly toddler

Last week Toby and I came down with ‘Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease’. No, I am not making it up and it’s not the same disease sheep get. It is an unbearable illness. My hands and feet itched like hell and my mouth was so full of ulcers it hurt to drink water (helped the diet along a bit). Poor Toby didn’t seem to have the same symptoms, but he had some serious D&V. I wouldn’t wish the illness on anyone and I’m cursing whichever nursery kid passed it on to us.

Any mum who sends their child to nursery is only too aware of the stress when your little one gets ill. Tom and I have juggled Toby and his nursery germs quite well and my manager has been surprisingly understanding at my last minute holiday requests to look after a poorly boy, but it’s not ideal. I tried my best not to let this virus interrupt our routine. In day two of the illness – before knowing what it was- I guiltily sent Toby off to nursery topped up on Calpol [face has gone red with shame]. However, day three was the start of Toby’s vomiting and I finally had to submit to the germs and arranged to work from home.

Working from home is usually quite productive, but comforting Toby between his projectile vomiting sessions proved a full-time job in itself and I felt absolute guilt; Guilt that I wasn’t working to full capacity and guilt that my full attention wasn’t on Toby. He soon paid me back my inattentiveness. He joined in on my first conference call and probably made more sense than me. Have you ever tried being coherent while entertaining a toddler, trying to prevent them screaming? It’s not an experiment in multi-tasking I would recommend. The conference call ended and it seemed to go as well as can be expected.

On the second conference call of the day I was not so lucky. When it started, Toby was asleep in our bed. I had everything crossed that he would sleep through. Wishful thinking! Two minutes into the call there was an almighty thud followed by screaming. He had fallen out of bed. I quickly made my excuses and said I would be back as soon as possible. Managing to calm him down quite quickly I sat him on my lap and redialed. He seemed quiet and I thought he might stay that way. This unusally restrained behaviour should have set alarm bells ringing. As soon as I reintroduced myself to the call, he vomited violently all over me and my phone. After a few squeals of disgust from me and some sobs of self-pity from Toby, I promptly apologised and hung-up again. I sat for a few minutes wondering what to do next. Toby and I were covered. It was like something out of ‘The Exorcist’ and I now looked like a total idiot. Not only did I seem unprofessional and girly due to the noises I had made, but I also looked like a terrible mother.

The lesson: working mums with ill children cannot win.

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One Response to “A sickly-sausage and a to-do list”

  1. Jane April 18, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

    As parents, you should be entitled to carers leave if your child is sick – any good organisation will have such a policy in place. My advice to all – check out your HR policies!!

    Poor Toby – Poor you – !! When is it Tom’s turn to experience the projectivel vomiting?!!

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