Teyla has a cold.
That is to say, she’s become a snail.
That’s the first stage of the rhinovirus in our house. The bubbling nose, the slimy trail of snot that leaves a silver streak on my jeans, my shirt, the couch, my basket of clean laundry. The river overwhelms all attempts to quell its flood.
You’d think it would curtail her mood. That much mucus would stop me a bit short. But Teyla is a toddler, drunk on discovery, so she simply smiles and laughs and runs her finger through the glistening path under her nose. The first stage of a cold can only damper; it cannot conquer.
The next stage is harder to fight off. It’s the walrus, when the goo begins to thicken and the nose is stuffed with rattles and snorts. I would guess that sometime tomorrow, when I hand Teyla a sippy cup or cuddle her in my arms to nurse, I’m going to hear a silent gulp, gulp and then a huge gasp for air as she realizes she can’t drink and breathe at the same time. She’ll try, but it will lead to all sorts of noises, and in the end, I’ll end up blowing my own nose on her behalf, because those wheezing snuffles make my olfactory nerves cranky.
It’s also possible I’ll get bitten in a place where no one should bite because Teyla the Walrus will be frustrated with the congestion. Can’t say that I blame her. But still. Ouch.
After the walrus comes the seal, when the virus enters the steamy sauna of the lungs and decides to hang out for a while. The barking and the coughing and the hacking and the gagging grow particularly painful at night. Even a toddler’s lust for life is dimmed when sleep is elusive, and the daytime hours are tepid and dull.
The final stage of the cold is the parasite, when the sweet, exhausted, mending baby infects me with the virus I’ve helped her rebuffed.
It’s the slime trail of life when you’re a mom.
I should have invested in Kleenex stock years ago.
Kelly, who is just now realizing that Teyla's colds always appear two days after a morning spent in the church nursery, blogs at Love Well and wipes noses 24/7.