Dear Cold and Flu Season: I had no idea how pervasive and out of control you were until I had kids.
All of our friends and family have had some form of debilitating sickness this year, whether it be cold, sinus infection, flu or all three mixed in together. We miraculously avoided even a single runny nose. I’ve been knocking on wood, crossing my fingers and doing weird voodoo dances all over the house trying to keep it at bay. And then one early, early morning.
“Mom, wook.” This from my two-year old after attempting to crawl in bed with me at 5 in the morning. I felt around his bed in the dark assuming he must have peed his pants. I wish I had stuck my hand in pee instead. I would do that all day long with a smile on my face. Kick off to the Hansen Family Flu.
For a full week, we had throw-up buckets, Kleenex piles, tea, chicken noodle soup, more tea, laundry threatening to take over and carry us all away. We had runny noses, foggy brains, upset tummies, watery eyes. It cycled through all of us one at a time and then back again. We were real-life hermits. Our friends offered to drive by and throw food at our house from the car.
Taking care of toddlers who are sick is one thing. Parenting toddlers while YOU are sick is a whole different animal. Here are my tried and true tips for making it out alive.
Watch more movies and cartoons then is probably legal in most states. Watch Cars 2 so many times, you may or may not hallucinate that you are actually in the World Grand Prix.
Let your kids feed themselves based solely on what they can reach. This meant muffins from the counter and grapes from the crisper for every meal. A banana if they could stretch high enough.
Take a nap with your two-year old while your older son entertains himself for three hours. He will probably play his Leappad until his brain fries.
Throw a load of laundry in the washing machine ONLY when you can no longer push open the door to the laundry room and nobody has any clean underwear.
Don’t leave the house for a full week. Talk yourself into driving to the post office only because your tax forms need to be sent. Barely remember how to drive your own car.
Even though you normally make dinner (and breakfast and lunch and snacks) every day to make sure your family is getting the right balance of foods with lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, unearth a packet of Top Ramen from the depths of your pantry and eat an entire bag of Popsicles over the course of two days. Been off grains for a month? Eat a loaf of bread by yourself, toasted and topped with cinnamon sugar.
Actually be grateful that the worst of your sickness was during the night while your kids were sleeping. It’s one thing to parent while tired, a whole different slice of pie to parent while wrapped around a bucket.
Now that we are mostly healthy, it’s all starting to fade into a hazy memory. Nothing left but piles and piles of laundry and the insatiable need to hire a housekeeper.
Here’s hoping your family has stayed healthy this year. If you do get sick, call me and I’ll toss a pot of soup and some Kleenex at your front door.
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