Happy December first! It’s time to deck the halls—with Clorox and Lysol.
Unfortunately, most of my friends have been nursing sick kids this week. One poor baby has the flu, an ear infection and strep, all at once. My friend’s son has a bronchial infection, while the flu has knocked another family over like a row of dominoes. Hearing about all these flu cases has made me shudder over my own procrastination in getting immunized against it.
All three of my boys are vaccinated, but I keep forgetting to get my shot. So I’ll be that germ-o-phobe at the grocery store, looking like Mr. Humberfloob in “The Cat and the Hat” scrubbing down my shopping cart handle with antibacterial wipes and gingerly touching the debit card keypad with my knuckle before applying hand sanitizer.
My older boys have had barking coughs all week, forcing us to miss the holiday party at our homeschool group. And while Jonah is over this particular bug that he so graciously shared with the rest of us, he is grumpier than ever as his first molars prepare to break through. I’ve been able to peek inside his mouth while he’s screaming, and it looks like someone shoved a couple of frozen peas under the poor babe’s gums. He can only say a dozen words so far, but his crying and biting everything in sight clearly communicates exactly how miserable he is—especially when we lag between doses of teething tablets and Orajel. I can’t say I blame him—it looks miserable.
It’s also given him some tummy troubles. Granted, all the experts who write the parenting books say that teething does not cause diarrhea or low-grade fevers. But as a mother who’s already been around this block twice before, I am here to tell you that it does.
Can I get an amen from the other amateur doctor Moms out there?
What the books also don’t tell you is how to deal with what my poor friend Jen had to face over the weekend. She has four young children, including a set of toddler twins. Her Facebook updates unfolded like every mother’s worst nightmare, but Jen managed to keep her sense of humor through it all.
“Sick 3-year-old in the middle of the night. Bedding in the wash. Now her sleeping vomit breath lying next to me is quite delightful. Hope the twins don’t get this…”
“Barf-o-rama Part II commenced. Jessica had to run to the bathroom four or five times. Now Josh just barfed all over our room. If my child who never gets sick is vomiting, the twins have no hope.”
“Julia just woke up and puked! Still to come: Jack, me and Dave. Dave’s been steam-cleaning carpet since 6:00 this morning as Josh left a trail while running to the bathroom.”
“And another one bites the dust: Julia woke up sick. Jess and Josh can’t move or even take a drink of water. Laundry and steam cleaning. Still to come: Jack (he and Julia share pacifiers). But please, please, please not Dave and me!”
“Jack barfed, too. Only Dave still stands, but the house is the quietest it’s been since the twins were born…”
I’m happy to report that even though Jen and Dave ended up getting sick, too, everyone recovered within 24 hours and Jen’s freshly cleaned carpet looks just beautiful for the holidays.
Oddly enough, I’m thankful that I got over our bug in time to keep my dreaded oral surgery appointment tomorrow. I’ve changed the appointment twice due to illness and didn’t want to change it again. I opted out of general anesthesia, so I’m hoping it won’t be too awful. It can’t be worse than Jen’s stomach virus fiasco. I think I’d rather have twice the oral surgery with half the anesthetic than have my whole family puking at once.
Unfortunately, we don’t get to choose. Isn’t that what we say to little ones, “You get what you get and you don’t complain?” I’ll try to keep that in mind as we embark on yet another cold and flu season. Because when you have children, “’Tis the season” takes on a whole new meaning.
Kari Apted is a writer and speaker residing in Georgia with her husband, three sons, and an ever-changing menagerie of pets. She writes a humorous weekly parenting column for The Covington News and freelances for various publications.more»