The kid may be saying 'mama'. He may also just be making sounds for the hell of it, but I'm answering him like he's talking to me because I feel like we've been in a developmental rut for a bit, and it's nice to have something new going on.
Something else new is driving to the Children's Hospital at midnight on Tuesday, shaking with the adrenaline of having a reading of 38.7 on the thermometer, five minutes after it read 38. The Boy is a saint. I didn't stir when the kid started grizzling. Resolutely pulled my dream cap further down and turned my shoulder to the wall. The Boy got up, though, and the kid was on fire. Tried to squirt baby panadol into his mouth, which resulting in choking and screaming and more screaming when The Boy sneezed as he was holding him, which is one of the kid's least favourite things. Lamps on, PJs popped loose, thinking maybe a feed will help. It settled him briefly, until we tried again with the panadol, which brought on an explosive river of cherry-flavoured milk and a little bit of dinner, for textural interest. Wow, that shit smells foul when it comes back up. The screaming resumed, intensified. What with the fever and the vomiting (again) and the maternal nurse hotline being busy, we slipped into highly efficient middle-of-the-night emergency mode, and were out of the door with wallets and phones and a bag full of clothes and nappies and toys within about three minutes.
These things always happen in the dark. Driving through the deserted city, rain slamming down, smell of vomit souring on my skin. Of course, once we arrived, the car ride had soothed the kid, the fever had lost a little heat, and he put on a happy display for the triage nurse. We changed his stinky clothes and sprawled on the couches, surrounded by limp and grizzling children and their haggared, tracksuited parents. It was 1 am, and the next patient to be seen had been waiting since 8. Forty minutes later, we read the fever fact-sheet we'd been given, and decided, as the kid played happily with the other pages, that we'd all be better off at home. More smiles for the nurses, back out into the rain, and home to bed. He woke every hour and wanted only to be fed and cuddled, so no sleep for mama that night, and not a lot for The Boy either.
He was miserable all day yesterday, and drooly, but not hot, and he slept reasonably well last night. But I am shattered. Bloodshot and weary. Not very long ago, when I was deep in a fog of blackness, I honestly thought that perhaps if the kid died in the night, that would be ok, because I could sleep and have my life back and not be so constantly needed. (How can something so ludicrous have seemed lucid to me? It absolutely did.) But in the light, with sense and love and properly balanced hormones, my goodness, the thought of being without this growing creature who calls me mama...