You’re a mum, now suck it up!

TWAS the season to have the antibacterial wipes handy.

Christmas 2009 was a moist one for me and, loathe as I am to recount the experiences I endured through the silly season, I believe full disclosure is only fair (since everyone else in my life is subject to it).

Let me start by saying my son had just finished a course of antibiotics for his umpteenth bout of tonsilitus. But when his temperature began to rise again, I knew our time was numbered.

Before long, he was moaning, shirtless, in my arms – a sticky, hot-water-bottle body ready to spew forth a sundry of Christmas meats.

He cried. I cried, mostly at the abysmally small amount of time he spent healthy.

After dosing him up on panadol, nurofen and sips of water, he seemed well enough to stop in and see his Mama before we went home.

He was happy enough, so I set about making a bottle for his sister. I was in my mother’s kitchen when said baby vomited milk from her mouth and nose, turned a cranky shade of pink and went stiff as a board.

Yes, seeing a four-month old in such distress is terrifying but it has happened before and is usually made better by tipping her forward and helping her cough up.

I say “usually” because this time she still wasn’t breathing.

Using a little more force, I tried again to no avail.

“She’s not breathing,” I panicked and almost turned her on her head.

By now, the assorted relatives had rushed to my aid, smacking her back and wiping mucus running out of her nose.

She came good – sort of. Her breathing was labouring behind a wall of mucus and the spasms of breathlessness assailed her intermittently.

I rifled through my nappy bag – home to a veritable pharmacy – to find the only thing missing was my “Little Fess”. Which, for the people without small children, sucks snot out of little noses.

While my husband tried a syringe, a story from high school raced through my head of an hysterical woman running into the chemist with a clogged-up baby. Another woman took the baby, put her mouth over the child’s nose and sucked.

The story ellicited strong disgust from our group of teens but, as I saw the syringe fail to help, I knew what I had to do.

Going into the bathroom and readying my little girl, I wondered if she’d ever want kisses from her mum again.

I’ll spare you the exact details but it did work and I didn’t vomit – which was my friend’s first question after I confessed copying her story from so many years ago.

As my baby girl recovered, my son’s medecine wore thin and by the time we got back to our holiday unit, he leant in for a cuddle and threw up sausage all over my lap.

How nice it would be to say it ended there. But alas, the final indignity came the next morning, courtesy of a now happy and healthy baby who had a sudden “poo explosion” out the back of her nappy… and all down my legs.

Yes, “poo explosions”, as illustrated in a nappy advert, are very real and very awful.

But I was home alone, so no-one bore witness to that humiliation. Though I don’t think I’ve ever scrubbed so hard in my life.

And again, I didn’t vomit. After all, mums are made of much tougher stuff than that.


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  1. Trackback: Curbing cultural platforms « PetaJo

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