The Family in the Bubble.

Lenora started day care two weeks ago yesterday. We love her school, and she seemed to have a great time…then she got hit with RSV, which is a nasty viral respiratory infection that spreads like wildfire around day cares. This is actually the end of the RSV season, which runs from November-March, so we were just unlucky enough to get in on the action. She was the fifth in her class to succumb, so I’m guessing that a few others got sick during this last week. From what I’ve gathered, pretty much nothing will stop RSV once it gets going–it just spreads like crazy.

In babies, RSV causes a respiratory infection that leads nervous parents (like us) to the ER in “holy shit! the baby’s not breathing!” mode. In adults, it causes the worst fucking cold of a lifetime. I’m not kidding. I have been out of work for a week with this stupid cold. I haven’t been out sick from work or school for a week since I had chicken pox in first grade. And that was in 1980. My body is producing levels of mucus that I can only describe as “unprecedented” and “large.” We have gone through six boxes of tissues in the last five days.

Lenora has gone from “wheeze wheeze wheeze” to “cough cough cough,” and I’m hoping this means that she’s finally going to expel this virus from her body. Her appetite has finally recovered, which is good, but she’s not herself quite yet. Meaning…she is not smiling. She has not smiled for almost a week. I understand that it is hard to smile when you feel like shit, but come on, baby, I am doing my level best to entertain you, and it would be really kind of you to just humor your mommy just this once. For real. I feel nasty too, but I am willing to spend five minutes shaking your favorite “Lamb Baby” toy over your head and making up songs about your toes to help you feel better. You could do me a kindness and give me a smile–a half-assed one will do–to help me feel better.

So, to recap:

  • Someone has stolen my baby and replaced her with a living, sorta-breathing ball of mucus;
  • Someone has stolen my husband and replaced him with a sorta-living, generally-breathing, sweating, snoring ball of mucus;
  • I am full of mucus and I feel like crap.

I’d like to raise my middle finger to RSV! Let’s hear it for RSV! Scourge of my life!

Returning to work wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I’ve told everyone that the anticipation was far, far worse than the reality. I think I’m just a very routine-based person, and over twelve weeks of maternity leave, you develop plenty of routines that become normal. I liked maternity leave well enough, but I was glad to return to my job, which I really enjoy, and which gives me a feeling that I have actually accomplished something with my day. I am peeved that this illness has managed to regress me to the second week of Lenora’s life, where I was off the major painkillers and alert to the fact that the baby was, quite possibly, the most demanding creature in the world. Even worse than Grace, our tortie cat, who can communicate with very manipulative meows when she wants FOOD RIGHT NOW, and will proceed to jump on things, run around under your feet, and pester one of the other cats when she does not get what she wants RIGHT NOW. Grace: most loveable shithead cat in the universe.

I’m working on some book reviews for my crafts column in Library Journal, and I’m reviewing a scrapbooking book. I find scrapbooking really creepy, but it is popular, so whenever I get scrapbooking books of decent quality, I will review them. This one is a collection of pages that can be “scraplifted,” which sounds like stealing or plagiarism but isn’t. It is encouraged! Let someone else do the really creative work for you, so you can have fun taking 9000 pictures of your nine-year-old daughter’s first zit. (I’m not kidding. There’s actually a page layout featuring photos of a nine-year-old washing her face, along with a story about how her skin got “suddenly oily” and how she is too young to have a pimple. I fear for what will happen when this poor child gets her first period. I wonder if there’s a page design that can be “scraplifted” for such an occasion, or if you just use the “first zit” layout and replace the artsy photo of Noxzema face wash with an artsy photo of some maxi pads and tampons in a pretty basket.)

I totally understand parents wanting to scrapbook the big days in their child’s life. Birthdays, family vacations, holidays, important firsts, etc. But this process of scrapbooking the not-so-big days of your child’s life (first zit? the day your child annoyed you, so you felt like a bad mother? your trip to Jamba Juice?) creeps me out. Especially when they involve dimensional letters and chipboard shapes. A one-off Facebook update like “Today we took Hannah to Jamba Juice and she loved her smoothie!” is much, much less freaky than taking umpteen photos of the experience and then spending three hours and $50 in supplies to create a colorful two-page spread of the blessed event.

I hope all of these children whose lives are being scrapbooked to death become goths or Juggalos or whatever rebellious kids these days are becoming. I’d love to see a scrapbook layout of “Ben’s First Gathering of the Juggalos.”

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3 Responses to The Family in the Bubble.

  1. Anne says:

    The first zit scrapbooking thing is new to me, and I am mildly horrified. I mean, when I was a teenager, the thing I wanted most was for everyone to STOP MAKING SUCH A BIG DEAL OUT OF EVERYTHING. I can’t imagine having crappy days/occurrences documented for all time.

  2. jenny says:

    i totally had this cold. my whole office did.

    i would like to see a juggalo scrapbook.

  3. Laura B. says:

    My sympathies on the Day Care Bug of Mucous. If it makes you feel any better, Tessa had colds and ear infections nearly continuously every winter until she was four. All of the crud boosted her immune system so well that she missed one day in six years of elementary school. Of course, she brought the bugs home and passed them along to Quentin and me, but you can’t have everything.

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