I knew it would happen. I was a sitting duck for days. From the first sign of a sniffle, to the overwhelming amount of snot that consumed our house, it was only a matter of time until I too fell victim to the preschool bug.
In many ways it’s an occupational hazard. You send your little germ magnet along to socialise with other little germ magnets and as a reward the entire family gets to enjoy week long festivals of gastro and flu.
And so we find ourselves, day six on the inside.
It started with the eldest. The eyes were watering, the nose was running. It was tricky at first to determine the extent of the bug because by nature, he can be a little dramatic. However when he refused chocolate, I knew he was one sick little sausage.
And so we waited.
Master three was next in the firing line. He fought his fevers with gusto and preferred the ‘constant cuddles’ approach to recuperation. The washing piled up but I knew where I was needed.
It was only a matter of time before our smallest crewmate fell. What a mighty fall it was. Congestion so bad she couldn’t feed, and a cough so bad that I was getting worried about something really nasty.
His approach was constant cuddles. I knew my place. istock
For days our house smelt of humidified menthol. Tissues were everywhere.
And then they started to get better. And then I started to get sick.
It's a torturous situation when your kids begin to recover from a bug while you feel yourself slip further into 'I just want to crawl into bed and die' territory. On one hand you're delighted, on the other you wish they didn't have so much goddamn energy.
Sick days before children consist of a hot beverage, some shit daytime T.V. and a house of peace and quiet. You can sleep when you want to, rest when you need. Sick days after children consist of no one giving a shit. So, fellow mums, here are some tips for getting through sickness of your own.
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Accept that the TV will be permanently tuned to ABC Kids. Undoubtedly you'll begin to feel the familiar pangs of guilt. Sure, you should be stimulating them, entertaining them but when your head feels like it's on the verge of exploding and your sinuses are more congested than a free ice cream day at Ben and Jerry's you have no choice. Go with it.
Yes, you will still need to feed them, which can be tricky is you're battling the nausea monster. Know that cereal is an acceptable meal at any time of the day. It's also something that you can encourage an older sibling to make. No hot stuff, no sharp stuff. Sure, there could be some spilt milk milk but it's better than some tossed cookies.
Consider installing a cat door, even if you don't have a cat. Friends will want to help, but being the nice person that you are, you'll not want to pass on the demon germs that have taken you hostage. Consider a cat flap for meal drop offs and leave some hand sanitiser on either side.
Don't for a second feel guilty about to T.V. Image: istock
If, for some reason you do have a family member committed enough to venture beyond the threshold of the outside world and into your germ pit, make a mental note to kiss the ground they walk on. They can entertain kids, clean, wash, bring you food. If you don't realise how lucky you are to have one of these magic angels, please send them round. I'm available for adoption.
Hold a shower party. Throw a billion toys into the shower or even a bottle of shaving cream if you're desperate. Whack the kids in and tell them to paint the walls, each other, whatever. Anything to keep them occupied while you lie on the cold tiles and breathe in the hot steam.
Hey kids! You know what's a fun game? Wiping down cupboards with pine o'clean.
It's an amazing time to be alive (even if you currently feel otherwise). You can click little buttons on your computery thing and people will bring food and groceries to your door. Yep, seriously.
Hide and seek is a great game to keep the kids amused. Hide well, really well. They'll either find your eventually or give up and go to play something else. Either way you've scored at lease five minutes shut eye.
If the thought of packaging up your tribe to attend the doctors makes you want to curl up and cry, wait until 5:30 and call an after hours doctors service to come and see you. Don't worry about the state of the house. They came to my place and my son walked out nude with a dogs bowl on his head declaring that he was 'a fly king'. They've seen everything.
Remember that there will be an end. Use the TV, order take away. Do whatever you can and don't feel guilty about it for a second. Rest up mum!