What is it like to stay home with my child all day


Yesterday we had a scare. During lunch my child’s child care centre called. Every time I see the number on my phone I hold my breath. They usually call when either one of these two things happen; he fell down and hurt himself, or he had rashes or fever and needed to be taken home. I always prayed for a fall because it usually meant he fell and had a minor bruise. If it had been the other reason, it would mean I had to make alternative child care arrangements. 

The teacher said she found 2 ulcers in his mouth and that was usually a sign of hand foot mouth disease HFMD. I groaned out loud and promised to take him to a doctor to confirm it. A visit to the doctor later prove otherwise. The doctor didn’t see any ulcers or rash and gave my child a clean bill of health. However as there were five cases at the centre and counting, my husband and I made a decision to keep him home for now. 
So today I played stay home mom and took care of him. He woke up at 830am and after sending his daddy off at the door, it was time for breakfast. Wholly unprepared to take care of him today, I shared my breakfast with him, a luncheon meat bun without the processed meat, but he threw the plain bread on the floor. So I ended up feeding him Meiji biscuits and kefir milk. When he was done, the floor had bits of biscuit all over. He spilled some of his milk on the floor and started wiping his hands in it. I spent more time cleaning the mess than actually eating anything. 

By 1030am he was hungry again so he started whining so I prepared his porridge. Luckily I had started cooking it since 9am so it was ready by then. He had an early lunch around 11am and then it was time for a nap. 

In between all that I only had time to text my team “help save me!” before I had to deal with my child again. 

In bed, he wanted me to read him his story books (I’m SO sick of this damn Gruffalo), wanted to be fed milk, and then spent next few minutes rolling and whining. I thought of the silly article by Straits Times about how babies should learn how to sleep by themselves. According to one of the pediatricians their interviewed, “that babies ought to learn how to soothe themselves to sleep, for instance, by rubbing their faces or rolling about”.  I watched my child as he almost rolled off the bed. When I caught him, I didn’t know if he was crying coz he was still awake or he didn’t manage to roll himself off the bed. Finally I gave up and nursed him to sleep. 

His nap lasted a total of 90 minutes. He woke up crying and had to be pacified again. We went out to the living room where he made a mess of the place. He took out all his toys and dragged them all over the floor. After he laid everything out, he whined for food. 

I dug around and found a can of mushroom soup. While heating it up it bubbled and overflowed and I made a mess of the stove. When I tried to give him some, he took a small sip but didn’t like it so he didn’t want any. I looked at the entire bowl of soup and then the stove I had to clean. And I sighed. 

He whined again and I scrounged the cupboards some more until I found oatmeal. I made a bowl of plain oatmeal with milk and he liked it. He ate a few spoonfuls when I decided to be adventurous and added a few blue berries in it. He took one bite and spat everything out. I tried to ignore his bib that is now covered with a lot of water because he had not mastered the straw yet, oatmeal and chewed up bits of blueberry. So I dug out the blueberries and had to cajole him into eating plain oatmeal again coz he now thinks there’s weird yucky shit in it and won’t touch it. 

I took a deep breath. 

After trying to shove the oatmeal into his mouth, he finally finished it and went back to play. As I cleaned up the kitchen, he went back to moving his toys all around the living room floor in a pattern that only he saw. In between all that, he squatted down to pick something off the floor and put it in his mouth. Once when I caught him at it, I checked to see he had been poking at a bit of dirt that must have fallen off my husband’s shoe onto the floor, and put one of the specks of dirt in his mouth. I tell you, a little bit of me died inside. I spent the next minute wiping up the dirt with Dettol wipes. We spend a lot of money on Dettol wipes. 

The rest of the afternoon was spent sitting on my lap as we watched videos on Facebook. We had to change his onesie twice coz it was drenched from all the water he didn’t swallow. I created a game where I held a plastic basin and pointed at things I wanted him to pick up and put in the bin. That one I had a lot of fun with. 

It wasn’t too long until he was whining again coz he was hungry. By 6pm he was back on his high chair bouncing excitedly for his dinner. Thankfully his father was home by then and took over feeding him. I went to the bedroom to take a 15 minute breather while I expressed some milk for the next day’s feed. You see, even when we are taking a “break”, you still don’t stop being a mom ever. 

Because he only had one nap today, he was out by 730pm. I thought yay I had some time to myself to do my own thing.  Instead I cleaned the kitchen and the dining room of our dinner, made my child a fresh batch of kefir milk, and wrote our instructions for my husband for the next day, as he was staying home to take care of our child. All this while my husband took a nap on the sofa before bedtime. I was about to sit down and check work email when I heard my child awake and crying.  

So here I am holding him in bed with my washed hair still waiting for a date with the hair dryer, while my child tosses and turns as he tries to find a comfortable position while lying on my tummy before he can doze off. I thought about that sleep article again and cursed under my breath. 

I’m so looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. 

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