Oh man, this has been the toughest month so far.
I was really not prepared for how difficult having a sick baby all the time would be. Throw in going back to work and you've got a recipe for exhaustion and a good few weeping fits. In the past month, Benjamin has had two colds, an ear infection and tonsillitis. He's had two doses of antibiotics and more Calpol than we can count. (Although never above the recommended amount of course). He's slept in our bed more nights than not, and it feels like every time he gets better, going back to nursery gives him more germs.
From everything I've heard, this is totally normal and to be expected. But, honestly? This is more difficult than the newborn stage. Which everyone talks about as really hard, so I was prepared for it. I was prepared for the sleepless nights and the hormonal breakdowns and never getting to shower. But, I thought we were over the most difficult hurdles, because no one talks as much about this stage. The stage where you're almost back to sleeping normally, and feeling like you're in a good groove, and then you're thrown right back to the beginning. I am so much more anxious now than I was as a new mother; I am anxious because he's not yet settled at nursery, I am anxious because every night is a toss up of whether we're going to get any decent sleep, and I am anxious because my baby is sick and I can't always do anything to help. And I'm sometimes anxious because I am sick or because Paul is sick, and it is so much more difficult to look after a baby when you feel like death warmed up yourself, but there's not really any other option.
But, that's not to say that it has all been doom and gloom. Although he has been so poorly, Ben is such a little trooper and for the most part, I'm not sure you could tell during the days that he's been feeling off his game. He is getting so smart, clapping and waving and playing silly little games with me. He seems to want to skip crawling altogether, and loves to stand and walk with your help. Nursery seems to have triggered a bit of separation anxiety, so he's constantly reaching for me and has learnt to give 'kisses' (which mostly just means licking the whole bottom half of my face). His affection is everything, and I will never be bored of being his favourite person.
Who knows how long this stage will last? Both the good and the bad. We're off on a little holiday this week to rest and recuperate, and hopefully steer clear of germs for a short while, and I'm hoping that we can get back to 'normal' after that. I'm also going to use some of my holiday time to plan Ben's birthday party - how did we get here so quickly?