Ted and Ivy are in bed. Ted has insisted he wants to sleep in a large cardboard box and Ivy has her Snow White washcloth on her face because she feels hot and funny. Temperature is normal, but she doesn't look quite right. Also, she's complaining of a sore neck. I have to take into account Ivy's acting chops though. She could play Ebola Victim and fool Keith and I. Decide that when she can read well enough to Google symptoms, we are screwed. Keith is in Canberra. I am buggered. I take to the couch to finish and send some writing work before I can watch My Kitchen Rules on my laptop and eat Ovaltine.
George is awake. She joins me to quietly admire Manu Feidel. Teddy can't sleep in his box and I convince him to get into his proper bed.
Ivy is awake and wailing from her room. She is hot and sweaty and her temperature is 38 degrees. OK, I think. Here we go, gastro, or flu, or meningitis, or whatever exciting illness you will turn out to be. I wrestle with and am defeated by the child-proof lock on the new Panadol bottle. I give her the remains of the baby Panadol, check the meningitis symptom list, and think about how to juggle the other two kids if this sickness turns ugly and needs hospital.
I wet Snow White and cool Ivy's forehead. We watch Mr Bean and some ABBA clips on YouTube. I read the rest of Bethany the Ballet Fairy and feed the baby. Finally, I get Ivy back to bed where she grips my hand and makes me sit on the bed for ten minutes to listen to 'Five Little Ducks' on her CD player.
George and Ivy are both back in bed asleep. I clean my teeth and go to bed. I'm watching an ABC doco on my laptop when Ivy wails awake again. I fetch her, put her in bed with me, give her an earplug and a drink of water and pat her down with Snow White.
We're all asleep.
Teddy wakes up shouting. He insists that he must sleep in my bed too. I falter in the early argument and lose my case. I don't have the energy to battle. I stick him on the other side of me and squeeze in the middle. Teddy immediately falls asleep with his head so close that no matter which way I contort my head I have his fluffy hair in my mouth.
George wakes up hangry (hungry and angry.) I take her to the other room to feed her. There's no room in the bed so I must get her super-asleep before putting her back in her bassinet. She'll only sleep soundly at night when she's in our bed.
She's sacked out. She's down.
She's awake. Swaddle over her head. Legs kicking madly, Snorting like a buffalo. I stagger out of bed and rewrap her and she goes back to sleep.
Teddy falls out of bed with a massive crash. He wails so loudly he wakes the other two. It takes some time to restore order and even when the other two have gone back to sleep he keeps stage whispering for half an hour. 'Mum? Can I have some milk? Mum? Can I watch a show? Mum?'
The baby is hungry again. During the day, her thunder-thighed rotundity delights me. But at night when I am the haggard machine keeping the fatty fed, it is miserable.
She's fed, re-nappied, re-wrapped and back to sleep. When I return to my bed, both Ivy and Ted are blissfully starfished, leaving me just inches to curl into. I'm so tired I don't even care.
George is awake. It's Groundhog Day. I rewrap, re-dummy and pat her back to sleep.
Ivy has a nightmare and wakes up shouting. Ted wakes up too and I pull the plug and send him back to his own bed. He's mad. I'm implacable. Returning to a huge expanse of free space and a pillow of my own is thrilling.
George wakes. Hungry. I can barely see her through my bleary eyes but I feed her, then tuck her between Ivy and I. She's awake for the day, and happy as a clam. She kicks me with joyful abandon until I am driven out of bed to start the breakfast and school run. Ivy is fine. Ted is as mellow as ever. Me, I am Haggis McBaggis.