Child #1 coughs once. Maybe twice. That is the end of it, and also the beginning.
Child #2 starts coughing all over the place. Especially at night, or at 5 am in the morning. They also develop a runny nose. Any tissue that touches even the outermost bare edge of their nostril is immediately discarded in utter disgust because BOOOOGERS. Yet there is no such similar aversion to walking around with their sleeve as a reusable snotrag all the livelong day.
Child #3 comes down with the bug just as soon as Child #2 has thrown out the last perfectly usable tissue, and comes down with it HARD. Coughing, hacking, sneezing, wailing, gnashing of teeth, tearing of garments, hurling of sippy cups, etc. Maybe they toss in a fever, just for fun. Sleep goes all to hell, unless Child #3 is held upright by you, with your shirt/skin/hair as the resuable snotrag while they sigh and moan pathetically. You perform this job gladly, of course, because snuggles are snuggles, bitchez. And hey! At least it's not barf. This time. Yet. Oh, God.
(Note that if you make it through this wave without a middle-of-the-night ear infection, it will be a goddamned Christmas miracle.)
We were deep into the third wave yesterday, but thankfully Ike woke up this morning greatly improved. Which means now we get to sit around and wait for the FINAL WAVE, which usually comes right after Children #1, 2 AND 3 are back at top speed and full volume, and consists of the worn-to-a-nub parents (who, as a reminder, have likely not gotten an uninterruped night of sleep since at least the second wave) getting whacked at the kneecaps with the worst cold of their adult lives. Or the worst cold since the LAST worst cold of their adult lives.
Anyway, I need to go take some zinc or vitamins or antibacterial soup tea or whatever, and wash my hands up to the elbows for the 20th time today. Also, does anybody know if you can just hose a house down with bleach? Asking for a friend.