Dealing with tots when they are sick — Mommy Daze

Dealing with tots on sick days

SickDaysI keep a daily “Mom Journal” that my sister gave to me when my first son was born. Each day of the year has it’s own page, but that page has multiple sections, one for each year. So as I’m journaling for that day, I can look and see what was going on in my life that same day the years before. Interestingly, the past couple days have been the same for the past three years — my children have been sick.

The first year it happened I wrote something enduring and compassionate like “Poor James is sick and just wanted to snuggle all day. Had to rock him back to sleep a couple times tonight.” Then the following year, when baby Luke was in the picture, it was a little more frazzled, something along the lines of “James still sick. Afraid his late-night fussing will wake-up Luke. We’re all very tired.” Recently, with two sick toddlers, stuck at home, my entries have been more psychotic-sounding; “Can’t leave the house, boys are feverish, Luke never stops whining, did I mention can’t leave the house? James sneezes snot on everything. Exhausted. Lord help us all.”

Granted, I’m grateful they decide to get sick the week before Christmas, not the week of, but it certainly helps slow us all down during this busy time of year. Every morning during “sick lock-down,” I take temperatures, gauge their levels of pent-up energy and then recalculate what our plans for the day should be. Play dates get switched around, activities get cancelled and time-killing games and crafts get pulled out of thin air in a desperate attempt to make it through another day …in …the …house. Tissues are everywhere (which the littlest one tries to eat…eww), half-empty cups of juice get tipped over and the TV gets turned on way more than the usually allocated timeframe. Seriously, I truly think I could work as a personal assistant to a CEO or president of a company and have less stress than trying to arrange a day’s activities for sick toddlers.

I always have so much grace, patience and sympathy the first day they’re sick. The red little noses, flushed cheeks, pitiful-sounding stuffy voices — it all just tugs at my heartstrings. I wrap them up in blankets, feed them cake or whatever else they want for breakfast, watch hours of the same show or movie, being sure to laugh at all their favorite parts. That first day is all about caring for your poor, sweet, little sick angel-pies. Then that first night of getting up, over and over again, to tend to their sleepy stuffy cries for “one more glass of water,” “pee pee in the potty, again,” “fix my covers,” “change my shirt, this one’s too scratchy,” and every other feverish request they may come up with during those wee hours of the night. By the time morning finally rolls around, and your child is awake bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, you’re starting to run out of all that grace, patience and sympathy.

I’m sure I’m the only mom out there who’s lost her patience with a sick kid before. The worst is when they’re driving you mad, you’re about to lose your cool or maybe just did, and they come out with some amazingly sweet comment that makes you feel like total garbage. On one of the past sick nights with James, I was getting pretty tired of being called back into his room for pointless tasks or questions, so I got short with him and stormed towards the door to leave, when he beckoned me back in his little squeaky voice to tell me “just ONE more thing.” I clenched my teeth, rolled my eyes and huffed back to his bed. “I love you Mommy.” Boom, there it is. Is that Bon Jovi singing in the background? “Shot through the heart! And you’re to blame. You give love a bad name.” If only guilt trips had frequent flyer miles.

Oh well, I’m sure I’ll be sick as soon as they’re on the mend and then they can seek their revenge.

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Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, and their two sons, 2-year-old James and almost 1-year-old Luke.