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Dealing with Being Sick: When Mom Gets Ill

Dealing with Being Sick: When Mom Gets Ill It’s awful when our little ones get sick. Then, once we have cuddled them and soothed them and worried about them and stayed up with a coughing baby, and sent our husbands out to buy Motrin at 4 a.m., they get better, and we get sick with the same thing.

It’s winter, which means coughs, colds, the flu, and there’s some kind of stomach virus going around where I live right now. We seemed to have lucked out, until last week when my kids turned into poor little miserable snotty things. I kept praying that I wouldn’t get it too… but come Friday, both Daycare Baby and Toddler are gleeful bundles of energy again and I’m feeling like the Grateful Dead are playing a gig in my head. My legs are taking three seconds to respond to commands from my brain and if my teeth didn’t hurt, I’d hurl if I wanted to try to eat anything.

I have eight hours of daycare Baby, and everyone – Daycare Baby’s parents, my boyfriend, me – we all need to go to work, no break for anyone in these cash-strapped times, so there’s nothing to be done but to get on with it. At least I’m not going to make the kids sick, since they gave whatever it is to me.

The plan, if it can be called such a thing, is to lie on the floor and let the usual rules go. Safety rules, such as absolutely no whacking Daycare Baby with a saucepan, and no playing with the stove, stay. Things that make the house untidy meet feeble resistance from me, but I figure if they are happy and occupied I can rest and clean up when I feel better.

Toddler removes all the paper from the printer. Daycare Baby removes all the Tupperware from the kitchen cupboard. Toddler starts doing art. Daycare Baby empties a basket of clean laundry and rolls around in it and drools. Toddler experiments with which Tupperware containers he can stand in. He’s disappointed that I don’t have any Tupperware that Daycare Baby will fit into.

I’m glad I live in a little apartment in which if I lie in a strategic place I can see just about everywhere at once and keep an eye on both of them. I haul myself up and change diapers, and with that herculean task done, lie down again.

Toddler takes all the cushions on the couch and jumps around on them. Daycare baby finds the printer paper and starts shredding it. Toddler starts singing Hannah Montana song. “Singing” means that he knows one line from one Hannah Montana song, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. Daycare baby is delighted by the entertainment and there’s nothing that can make my head hurt any more so whatever.

It’s Daycare Baby’s nap time. I get her to sleep, and deploy the ultimate toddler distraction: TV. We have Cars on DVD. I cuddle up with Toddler in the heap of couch cushions, he watches and I snooze for an hour.

More tea for me, more Motrin, I feel slightly less subhuman, at least just enough to make lunch for the kids. Only a couple of hours to go.

I know most of Toddler’s books by heart, so we spend some time reading, which I can do with my eyes closed. The rest of the afternoon passes in somewhat of a blur, then Daycare Baby’s mom comes to pick her up, and then Toddler does some painting, mostly on himself, and then I feed him dinner, wipe him down, watch the rest of Cars, and mercifully it’s bedtime for both of us.

Saturday morning, I still feel like I’ve been whacked in the head with a saucepan but at least I can function with the aid of maximum dose of Motrin allowed and about a gallon of tea. By Saturday afternoon I’m just about fine again. Whatever it was made the kids feel sick for a couple of days, and hit me harder but was much shorter-lived.

So what should you do when you get sick? The best thing to do is to find someone to watch your kids while you sleep and get better, but often that’s not an option. I think that the next-best thing is to have things that are usually not allowed and let the kids play with those when you are sick. My toddler rarely watches TV so Cars was a big treat.

I think what I’ll do to prepare for next time, since sickness is inevitable, is organize a box of new and interesting toys, to be gotten down only in a sick mom emergency, as something to entertain the kids and keep them happy and I won’t need to do much except try not to hurl.  99c stores, the dollar section at Target, sale items, safe but usually forbidden household items, new art supplies, are all good and fairly inexpensive resources for things to put in the kit.

OK, now I need to go and do that basket of laundry again and wash the tupperware. I wish you and your babies a healthy winter, and a speedy recover to any of you who are sick!


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