Monday, March 10, 2008

It's almost like I'm psychic

I am a pretty frequent commenter over at Parent Dish. On Saturday, Linda posed the question, "When was the last time you were up all night with sick kids?" In my comment, I said...
I don't want to think about being up in the middle of the night with my kids, because if I think, "Wow, we haven't done that in a while..." they'll be up puking tonight. You can bank on it.
Sure enough, last night I was up at 3 am with Claire. She has come down with some kind of cold, she had a low grade fever, and her eye was stuck shut this morning.

I really hate being right, sometimes. At least there was no puking.

At the same time, it reminded me that I need to add the following to my two under two series....

Two Under Two and the Flu

I'm using "the flu" in the old school sense - the stomach virus sense. Technically, I guess I mean gastroenteritis, but that's really hard to spell and it doesn't rhyme.

Few things strike fear into the heart of a Mommy like the sound of retching. At the first "bleuchhhhh..." you begin to write off everything you had planned to accomplish for the rest of the week. As time goes on, you begin to forget what it was like to have healthy kids, and start to wonder if it is some kind of SuperVirus that you will never get rid of. You think of taking the kids to the doctor, but realize that they're just going to charge you $20 to tell you that there's nothing they can do (or worse, depending on your insurance), so you skip it, but you feel like a terrible mother and wonder if maybe it isn't the flu... Maybe they have something awful, like leukemia, and just as you start to really panic and pick up the phone to dial the doctor to make an appointment, you start to throw up yourself. The good news is that your kid doesn't have leukemia, but the bad news? You've got two under two and the flu, too.

So, what do you do with two under two and the flu, when you have the flu, too? (ok, enough Dr. Seuss).

Here is my sage advice... Ready?

Go to bed.

Seriously, you are going to accomplish nothing. Everyone feels like dirt. Pile yourself and your two babies into the bed. Take the following:
  • an "emesis basin" (or, in our case, a stainless steel mixing bowl to hurl into)
  • any children's books that you have memorized, so that you can "read" to your child while she turns the pages, eliminating the need to open your eyes
  • videos, or the TV remote - now is not the time to have opinions about children and television. You're in survival mode, sister. Use any tools you have, including the boob tube
  • Sprite or 7-Up, at room temperature is fine, and a glass or sippy for everyone
  • suckers to get the nasty taste out of mouths after puke
  • a box if Saltines
  • beach towels
Huh? Beach towels? Yeah, seriously. Put a beach towel down across your bed so that it is under the head and shoulders of all parties who are puking. That way, when someone hurls and you miss it (and you will miss it), you have a chance at catching it on the towel and not having to wash all the sheets and blankets. Last time we had the flu, we would just get everything washed and put back together, and someone would hurl again. I did laundry constantly for something awful like four days.

If you have a mother or mother-in-law who can come down and help you, beg. Offer her money if necessary. Last time we had the flu, BJ was on a business trip and his mom came down to save me. Of course, she came down with it, too, but by then I was feeling better so it all worked out.

One thing that you don't want to do is put any kind of medicine on the nightstand with all your other supplies, because those child proof packages aren't child proof, they are child resistant, which is a completely different thing. If you're half passed out and in a fever-induced stupor, you may not notice that Junior has eaten his way through a whole bottle of Tylenol until it's too late, so don't take the chance. I've heard that you're actually supposed to keep all medication - both prescription and non-prescription - under lock and key, but that seems pretty extreme to me. For now, we're just keeping them well out of reach. You'll just have to get up every 4 - 6 hours or so.

So, that's my advice. Lower your standards, go to bed, and don't get up until you're feeling better. If one kid starts to feel better before the rest of you, bring in some quiet toys and shut the bedroom door - let her play on the floor (and watch videos) until everyone catches up. Mary Grace has been a big fan of my iPod lately, and that would be a good idea if your older child is the one who's better. Let her groove to her tunes (I have a "Kid Tunes" playlist on mine) while you recoup.

Be well!!

1 comment:

Shawna said...

The beach towel is an excellent idea. We so needed to do that when my two year old had the virus. We also used a clean Country Crock Margarine container as our puke bucket. It worked well. Then, after everythings over, you can just through it away.