Last week the dreaded sickness bug hit our house and despite my husband and I not being sick ourselves, it still wiped us all out. Even if it had been us that had caught it, it wouldn’t have made much difference to our daily routine. Gone are the days where a sickness bug means you are curled up in bed with someone bringing you water, light snacks and other items to try to distract you, such as magazines, books or dvds. Actually that sounds quite nice… is it strange to want to go back to those sick days? Spending some time in bed would be lovely. No, you still have to parent if you are sick, or play at being nurse for your children when its them who are throwing up and feeling sorry for themselves. You have to get over your fear of sick and just get on with it. Nobody likes it but having children comes with the guarantee that at some point you are going to have to wipe sick out of the tiny crevices of a toddlers car seat or, worse still, you may find yourself covered in your child’s regurgitated breakfast. Lovely image I know, but you need to go into this open minded.
So here is my quick guide to surviving the sickness bug with children:
If it is your child who is sick:
Accept the fact that for the next couple of nights you aren’t going to get much sleep. If you accept this now rather than living in denial, it will become a lot easier. To be fair to my children, they give sleep a good go but I do sympathise with them as I know what it is like to feel rough while trying to get to sleep. So there is a little sympathy there. This sometimes dwindles by about four in the morning however.
As soon as the first bout of sickness starts, ring your husband (who will obviously be at work so you are left cleaning up the mess on your own. Actually even if he was at home, you would still be cleaning up the mess on your own!) and tell him to only come home if he is bringing wine.
Keep a potty or plastic bag in your hand at all times so you can follow the ill child round the house ready to catch the sick. This will save on constant washes of bedding/sofa cushions/clothes/favourite toys etc.
Write off a couple of days. You will know that not much housework, or any kind of work for that matter, will be getting done while your child is off sick. The first day is spent cuddling with them either in bed or on the sofa and while this sounds appealing, bear in mind they are throwing up every hour or so and not much sleeping goes on. If you manage to escape to do a few jobs, this is usually counteracted by your child being sick on the sofa (because you weren’t hovering with the potty), adding to your list of jobs because you now have to strip the sofa and child, then put on yet another load of washing and carry on bleaching. You may also have another child who needs your attention and would quite like to still be fed and watered thank you very much!
Once the sickness has passed they will still have to stay off nursery or school for at least 24-48 hours. So that is another day spent at home except now they are starting to feel better and are becoming increasingly annoying with their sudden high levels of energy, (how do they do that on very little sleep?!), and the need to suddenly eat constantly to make up for the lost day with no food. To get through this day I would recommend you teach them how to use Netflix and comprise over an hours play with dinosaurs for an hours “quiet time” until Daddy comes home.
If it is you who is sick:
Go about your day as normal just stopping every now and again to be sick, then carry on as if nothing has happened.
Agree to Paw Patrol being put on the TV (see my above note re Netflix), as this will give you somewhere between thirty to sixty minutes peace so you can lie vertical on the sofa and feel sorry for yourself.
If you are at the stage where you feel like eating again but not sure what you fancy, cook some smiley faces and turkey dinosaurs for your child’s tea with a few extra for yourself. I always fancy this tea after I have been ill. A perk of having children is you will most likely have these food items in your freezer already. (I say “a” perk as there are obviously lots more but we shall go into those another time!)
So there you have it. A quick guide to surviving the sickness bug with children. You can do it. Just be brave and remember you are their main comfort when ill, so you aren’t allowed to gag or indeed be sick yourself while clearing up theirs. If you have any more tips I would love to hear them? Anything to make our lives that little bit easier!