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The Sickness Snowball Effect

Living in a house with five people, three of whom are under five, means that, inevitably, when one person gets sick, it snowballs until every person is sick.

Which would be fine, if all five people were able-bodied and capable of tending to their own needs.

Obviously this is not the case in my household.

I tell you, this has been a rough week for the Fantastic Family. In fact, this week I shall rename myself, Fantastic *cough* Mrs *achoo* T.

You know when you get such a bad cold, or tummy ache, or, heaven forbid, the actual flu, and all you want is your Mummy? Well, poos to that – what if you ARE the Mummy? And YOU want YOUR Mummy?! When does it end?!?!?!?!?!

It’s Winter. It it horrible. We apparently have the worst cold and flu season in five years. After this week, I believe it. Do I what.

This is a little over a week, in the Fantastic *cough*sneeze*achoo* Family household. Brace yourselves.

Saturday Morning

I woke up to news that my friend had spent the previous night vomiting. She was the second in our group of friends, though we had assumed the first had food poisoning. I was sympathetic to her plight. Obviously not sympathetic enough. By midday, another friend had been sick. Ruh-roh.

Saturday Evening

The stomach cramps began. The pain, the agony. If I were pregnant I would have driven myself to the labour ward, they were that strong. And, sure enough, the vomiting followed. I was up all night long – judging by the neatly arranged towels on the bathroom floor, I’m pretty sure I slept there. I can’t be certain, the night is a blur. Remember going out on a Saturday night and coming home, feeling a big “off”, wondering what you did the night before, and then sleeping it off? Yea, it was just like that. Except my “out” was the toilet room. And my sleeping it off was non existent. Because Children. And the Snowball Effect.

Sunday Morning

I rise from the dead, feeling barely worth standing. At least the vomiting eased a bit by mid morning. For me. Then BoyChild started. Bless him, he paints a sad picture when he’s sick. He slumps his shoulders, says, “Oh, Mum” in the most heartbreaking voice, then slumps to the toilet to be sick. At one point I found him standing the the corner with his head against the wall. I asked if he were alright and he replied, “Oh, Mum”.

Sunday Afternoon

Well, BoyChild seems to be keeping his toast down. Yay! So, of course, it’s BabyGirl’s turn! And, because she is so little and so vulnerable, it was just painful watching her go through it.

Monday

The tummy bug seemed to have magically skipped both Mr T and Princess, thank heavens for that! We are done! Until …

Thursday

Mr T turns to me and says, “How did your tummy bug start? I don’t feel so good …”

Friday

Ruh Roh. Mr T’s incubation period is obviously a lot longer than ours. Poor fella, he was sick as a dog that day. I just tried to keep the kids as far away as I could.

Friday Evening

I will ignore the sore throat I can feel developing, because NO MORE. It’ll pass, right.

Saturday Morning

Wrong. Wake up feeling a bit gross. Blocked nose, sore throat, the works. I figure, it’ll be a 24 hr thing, I just need to get through it. Mr T had to work all day long so I kept busy with things like housework and entertaining three preschoolers. Mostly by getting them to do housework.

Saturday Night

Ruh Roh. Fever, shakes, headache, stomach cramps, chest cough, the actual works.

Sunday Morning

How the heck could this cold be WORSE than last night?! I actually think my body was shutting down. The pain. The cold – I lit the fire at 9am and didn’t move from that spot all day. The fever. The cough. Oh, dear lordie. I called my Mum and cried that I neeeeeeeeeeeeeded her (unfortunately she lives 4.5 hours drive away and couldn’t come, though did offer some very reassuring words). I cried when BabyGirl headbutted me. I cried because I WAS SICK AND I DIDN’T WANT TO BE SICK. And, more than anything, I wanted to be the baby that day. I wanted to lie on the ground in front of the fire and moan and whine and be waited on. But, Mr T had to work and someone had to look after the kids. I tell you what, it’s hard work being a Mum, when the last thing you feel like is anyone touching you!

Sunday Afternoon

An amazing friend popped in and grabbed Princess for the evening. One down, two to go. I called my sister and her partner and said, would they mind coming over for dinner, I was NOT coping with the kids? And of course, they came. It was a hard thing to admit, that I wasn’t handling the kids at all. But sometimes you just have to set aside your pride for your sake AND the kids sake! My sister brought with her all kinds of necessities for a sick mumma (medication, hot lemon and honey drink, a magazine, chocolate …) and I was able to have a bath while they watched the kids.

Bliss.

Glad the worst is over.

Don’t be silly, Mrs T!

Monday Morning

RUH

ROH

I’m not sure why I’m surprised. I mean, I spent two very long days in very close proximity to all three kids, at least one of them was bound to catch what I had. But, all three? At the same time?!

While still not 100% myself, I spent all of yesterday dosing kids up with pamol, juggling cuddles, rationing lemonade ice blocks, playing games, charging ipads, getting laundry done, taking temperatures, re-dosing with pamol, changing tv channels …. and this carried off well into the night.

Tuesday

And here we are, on Tuesday morning. Day Four in a row of myself at home with all three kids, none of whom feel well enough to tolerate anything … at least I feel better. Better, mind. Not well. Better than Sunday. The entire night was a juggle of children in and out of our bed. I was up at 4am with BabyGirl, I moved BoyChild into his own bed at 5am and Princess needed a bath at 6am. No kindy today, no preschool. And no, Princess – we are not going out for lunch!

It’ll be a long day but we will get there. Slowly.

Princess’s big birthday bash is this coming Saturday, so I’m hoping that these illnesses will be long gone by then. The silver lining is that at least they are all sick at once and not dragging it out over weeks. *touch wood*.

And there you have it, the Sickness Snowball Effect. Can it be prevented? No, I don’t think so. But, I will be grabbing plenty of fresh fruit and veges and vitamins at the supermarket later on today, just to be sure.

Right, I need to get off the computer, BoyChild has been sitting behind me on my chair for the past five minutes, coughing and whining about playing a Thomas game on the computer, asking if it’s his turn yet?

Yes, BoyChild. It’s your turn. I need to go and disinfect my entire house.

 

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What Happens When Mum Gets Sick?

Being a Mum sure comes with it’s advantages. And when you become a mother, you essentially put parts of your life on hold so as to allow these little people you have created to become the best they can be.

Children are needy and naive, they require reassurance, comfort and emotional support. Which is easy most of the time. But, what happens when Mum gets sick?

I have a cold. Or flu perhaps. And last night I was convinced it was meningitis and how was I going to get to the hospital with three kids in tow? But, today I think it’s just a wickedly horrid head cold. Nonetheless, it’s yuk. I feel yuk.

Image

I’m representing all of the seven dwarfs simultaneously – all, that is, except Doc. With special mention to Sneezy and Dopey. And Sleepy. And Shivering Mess. There wasn’t a Dwarf named Shivering Mess? Well, there should have been.

This is the type of cold that, Pre Children, would have seen me lying in bed watching Dr Phil all afternoon. Then dragging my pyjama-clad, heavy body into the kitchen for some soup, perhaps flopping into the bath for a long soak, and then back to bed.

Sigh. That just doesn’t happen when you are responsible for three little kiddles. I shudder to think what my little angels would get up to if I were to take myself to bed. And a long soak in the bath? Ha! I’d barely have dipped my toes before being overwhelmed with tap tap tap knock knock knock MUMMMMM what are you DOOINGGGG IN THE BATHHHHHH MUMMMMMM I WANT IN TOOOOOOOOO.

And, even when you can’t muster the energy for food, the kids still need to eat.

So, what happens when Mum gets sick?

She powers on. She ignores the headaches, doses up high with panadol and coffee. She manages to change the bedding that got wet last night and hang two loads of washing on the line. She clears the kitchen and cooks dinner. She vacuums the floor. She sneezes and sneezes and makes the kids laugh.

Then, she sits down. She turns on a DVD and gives the kids an ice block each. She reminds them that, for today, inside voices are awesome. She, for all intents and purposes, ignores her children. And, they seem to get it today. They just play quietly. Sure, Mum may throw a tantrum when the remote can’t be found and the DVD has stopped and the baby is crying and WHY IS ALL THE CUTLERY IN THE LOUNGE? But that’s ok, because then Mum takes herself down to her bedroom and sits on her bed for a minute to “regroup”. And then makes herself a cup of tea. And grits her teeth. And looks forward to the moment when the kids are finally in bed and she can sit with her feet up, perhaps sob a little, and actually be sick.

I guess my point in all this is, Mums tend not to win the race on a normal day and when they are sick, it’s just multiplied. But that it’s ok to turn the telly on and ignore your kids, they will be ok. Sometimes we Mums have to remind ourselves to take care of US as well.

Or perhaps my point is, I’m sick today and it blows. I think it might be ice block time. For the kids and me.

And, heaven help us if Dad gets sick. But that’s another story.

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Children Are Gross – Warning. This is Gross.

smiley-face-sick

When you have a baby, someone is bound to comment about dirty nappies. Will you change them? Will your Other Half change them? Ew. Nappies. The grossest thing that comes with having a baby, right?

Wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, changing nappies is hardly one of my favourite past times, but when you are changing them 5-6 times a day, 7 days a week, for 2-3 years per child, you get used to it. I was lucky enough (*cough*) to have three in nappies for a brief moment and I would literally line the kids up on the ground and change them like my own little production line.

Every parent has their fair share of what we in the trade like to call, a “poo-nami”. Like a Tsunami but in a nappy. I use the term “IN a nappy” loosely because a poo-nami generally exits the nappy in an orderly fashion and spreads itself as far as it possibly can. You know you have struck one when you use an entire packet of wipes and end up wiping the baby from chin to back, wrists to ankles. And then carry them by their armpits into the bath because you just can’t clean them any more without the aid of water and soap. We’ve all been there.

But, what about all the other gross things kids do? I mean, there are LOTS. One of the biggest surprises I found from having kids, was just how gross they are.

Snot

Bogeys. Snot. Mucous. Call it what you will, it’s foul. Princess was only 5 days old when she got her first cold. Still getting to grips with having a new born, having one with a cold made things even harder for us. Trying to help her clear her poor little nose, we were horrified to discover that, while baby poop looks like baby poop, baby snot looks like adult snot. That was just the beginning for us – when an 18 month old has a runny nose, they manage to spread it from wall to wall. When all three kids have runny noses, you just declare you house a quarantine zone and don a radioactive suits. And never wear black. Trust me.

Vomit

Some kids are prone to vomiting, some aren’t. Princess is. She always has. Once, when she was about 8 months old, all three of my sisters were holding her and fussing over her and she power-chucked. All over them. I smile wistfully at the memory of three women in their 20s, covered in orange puke. Good times. I think BoyChild has only vomited once or twice, which I’m ok with. Because it’s not just the vomiting that is hard, it’s the cleanup. My favourite is the middle-of-the-night vomit, with the child in the bath while a very sleepy Mum and Dad rinse sheets, change bedding, pull vomit out of hair, find spare pillows, etc. Or, the middle-of-the-night-vomit: the parent’s bed edition.

Ok, that’s enough about vomit.

Soggy things that aren’t meant to be soggy

This is the one thing I can’t handle. The thought of something that was once rigid being soggy, just makes me dry wretch. Soggy toast *bleurgh*. Soggy biscuits *ugh*. Needless to say, I’m no fan of trifle (soggy sponge *barf*) or dunking a cookie in my coffee (the bits float *wretch*).

Imagine my HORROR, the day I walked into the bathroom to find a piece of toast in the toilet. I couldn’t deal with it, I had to get Mr T to deal with it. I can’t even type *flush it* without breaking out in cold sweats. *shudder*

Mouthfuls of food

Pretty early on with kids eating solids, you deal with regurgitated food. They spit it into your hand. You retrieve it from their mouth. You learn to deal with it pretty early on, actually. First kid, you get squeamish. Third kid, they spit up on your hand and you just get on with it.

Don’t do what someone I know did. She picked up a piece of banana off a plate and ate it. Then remembered her son had brought that exact piece of banana up just minutes before. Needless to say, she promptly spent a good amount of time with her head in the loo.

So, on that note, there are far worse things out there than wiping a poo bum. Until you realise, of course, that your children just smeared the contents of their nappy all over their cot/younger sister/couch/your handbag. Or, heaven forbid, they just ate the contents of their nappy.

But, folks, that’s a story for another day 🙂