Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Germs are Not for Sharing

One of the few downsides of having several children is the length of time a particular germ can spread around the family.

Last week Bridget brought home something nasty.  Yes, vomit was involved.  Then I caught it.  Ben and a couple of the kids were feeling a bit off, but we had averted a full-blown puking epidemic.

But, for the past couple of weeks, Connor has been complaining about not feeling well when he wakes up.  Usually, he confuses hunger with a sick tummy and perks right up after a big bowl of oatmeal.  However this Monday he complained about being sick at school, I was called, and I brought him home.  Miraculously, he claims that the 2-mile long car ride to our house made him feel "all better".  He suggested he could either go outside to play or watch TV.  Um.  No.  Dear boy, you are taking a nap.

So, yesterday after his "illness" recovery day, he went to school, ran around outside for hours and generally felt great.  This morning when he complained about being sick, I felt his cool head and told him in my firm, authoritative mommy voice that he was, in fact, just fine and he would be going to school.  He complained that he couldn't because his legs hurt.  What mom would let a kid stay home for that?

I said he could sit at school and he would be fine.  I employed tough love instead of the sympathetic cooing of a mother to her sick child. Finally, my child got up to get dressed.  And proceeded to throw up all over his floor.  Oops.  That was a poor mothering moment.

This is how I would rather remember my mothering of my sick boy today - lovingly watching over him as he sleeps, perhaps while knitting a new sweater for him.  (No, I don't know how to knit). 


I cleaned up the mess.  He watched me disinfect his floor and put away the cleaning supplies.  When I came back he said, "Mom, why didn't you clean up that other spot that I threw up?"  Thanks, buddy for the heads-up.  It would have been handy info when I was cleaning the bio-waste the first time.

Since I was in such good practice, the cat decides to heave all over the floor a few times, too.  My job is very glamorous.

Here's a few handy pointers for when your children are sick in addition to the standard "disinfect the doorknobs :

  1.  Employ the beige diet.  Don't give your child anything that will stain when it is thrown up on carpets, rugs or special blankies.  Bananas - good.  Strawberries - bad.  Cheerios - good.  Generic Trix - bad.  Saltines - good.  Colored goldfish crackers - bad.

  2.  Giant kitty litter pails work well for puke buckets.  They have higher sides than ice cream pails, preventing splatter.  They are also stable enough to not tip over and can be rinsed easily.

  3.  Write down who got which medicine and when.  I know you think you will remember.  But when you are starting to wear down from taking care of kids (and may be getting sick yourself) you will not remember which kid got Tylenol or cough syrup and how many hours ago it was.

  4.  Give sick children their own hand towel in the bathroom to stop them from spreading cooties to other family members.

  5.  Give them sympathy (not like I did this time) and some extra special time to read together or watch a favorite show.  BUT then send them to their bedroom for most of the day.  I want them to feel loved, but not have such a great time being sick that they don't admit when they are all better.

1 comment:

The Drinkwaters said...

Thanks for the advice on the kitty litter pails, luckily we have a few kicking around here.

I also agree that writing down all the medicines given and the times is very helpful. We usually include the temperature taken at the time if there is a fever present as well.

Love your writing, your humbleness makes me giggle and relate...