Daddy vs Chips VIII.
At New Year we were struck down by the norovirus. Over the Christmas period, this nasty little bug had tore through the twins extended family like wildfire.
On the 29th of December, the day we were due to travel home for New Year’s Eve, Cillian lay silently on the his grandparents’ sofa, his eyes red and a somber expression on his face. Saoirse, meanwhile, walked about happily vomiting on the fortunately laminate floor. Ma-ma-ma, who by now had come down with the virus herself, phoned the ferry company and moved our trip into 2017.
A few hours later, I succumbed to the virus as well. Though my immune system had fought bravely, one can only assume it finally gave up the ghost after Saoirse vomited in my face the night before.
For those of you not familiar with the norovirus, my advice is try not to become acquainted. Consisting of diarrhoea, vomiting and generally feeling bloody awful, readers will be pleased to learn this blog post is not a detailed recount of my symptoms in the days that followed.
The days that followed were, however, the nadir of my time as a parent. A survivor of many extremely bad hangovers, I am well-versed in how to behave when vomiting and tired. The cure is simple: keep hydrated, lie down (preferably near a toilet), go to sleep and, when you are able, eat something very greasy. With twins, this tried and tested strategy is not possible. As New Year’s Eve crept closer, Ma-ma-ma began to feel better and told me have a sleep on the couch. Saoirse, seeing I was not myself, kindly gave me a hug and a kiss. Cillian then brought me a toy sheep. I felt very loved and very tired. It could not last. Obviously unhappy with my response to his ovine gift, Cillian returned with a plastic car and hit me in the face with it until I agreed to play with him.
Tired and emotional, I listlessly staggered through the routines of parenthood between toilet trips. However, once Ma-ma-ma had a relapse, parenting standards fell through the floor.
As their parents began to feel worse and worse, the twins watched an awful lot of CBeebies. A particular low point came when we watched ‘Tale of Mr Tumble‘ for the second time, and I began to wonder if Justin Fletcher’s sad story of a boy mistreated at stage school was somehow autobiographical.
Dinner time, which is usually an adventure in our household, was hit hard. With the adults lacking the energy to cook and the twins still bringing up most food, their diet was reduced to bread, bread and toast. Our night time routine went out the window and we reverted to feeding them to sleep. I even, when attempting to make some soup, nearly set my sister-in-law’s house on fire.
Though we did manage to drag ourselves out the house for a walk or a trip to the park, we could not do this with the usual va-va-voom. Everything the twins did was toned down, boring and done grudgingly. In short, I had become a bad Da-da-da.
So what have I learnt?
- It is not always possible to be a good parent. When you are really ill you cannot be fun, engaging and stimulating.
- But sometimes just being passable is ok. If you can keep them healthy and out of harm, sometimes that is enough. As soon as we were better, they were ready and waiting for us.
- I do not take photos of the twins when they are ill. Which has made this post look a but dull but makes me feel better!
And so to the result:
Chips win! But fortunately, Da-da-da is better now and will return bigger, better, faster and stronger.