We started our week knowing Aaron was going to be traveling for work, so I had a few things in mind that we’d do to keep busy. I always try to utilize the time he does travel, because once they’re in bed, I have plenty of alone time to catch up on the mundane stuff that I typically don’t want to do when I have a perfectly great husband to hang out with instead. 😉
Instead of any item on my to-do list, I have spent since Tuesday until last night taking care of my three little ladies having pretty terrible stomach flus. Disclaimer: I have never been a throw up person- give me a poopy diaper any day over spit up or throw up. Needless to say, I had some major humbling going on as I had to think quick when one child threw up over an entire patio table (my solution was scooping into paper bowls, a courtesy gag, then tossing the grossness in the toilet…then putting the bowls in the garbage outside…wow I sound so glamorous right now!? 😆 ) The quintessential white little washbasin I grew up noticing when my mom hand hand-washable laundry, but needing when I myself would come down with the flu turned out to be my BFF and a crutch I leaned on (and would say a silent prayer it wouldn’t be needed in the 30 seconds I’d wash it every 30-60 minutes my child was using it.)
I’d be a liar if I said I’ve loved life this week- but my motto every minute of it was, “It could always be worse.” Even with being woken up every 30 minutes to a child crying and throwing up all night long, to continuing our days with another child switching turns of who would be sick, to even moments of them simultaneously using the little white plastic tub—I reminded myself that I could despise it but still be thankful at the same time. I am here. I get to comfort them. They will get better. If there’s one thing I never try to take for granted, it is that I have healthy children. I probably bring this up to Aaron multiple times a week of how thankful I am for that- so when they do occasionally get sick, I remember that this is a few days versus an indefinite time…which is a gift I never want to be ungrateful for.
A few mamas encouraged me to share things that *were* helpful in the few days of having three sick kids. I figure, why not? If I can be of any help or encouragement to keep in the mental bank if someone happens to have a trio of little ones with the stomach flu, I’d be obliged! These are all pretty obvious, but if anything, they’re just here to solidify the things you might’ve learned when your parent was taking care of you as a sick little one. 🙂 Here we go:
-A positive attitude. Maybe a big “duh”- but seriously, if you get cranky, whiny, or mean, you are a derailed train. Just don’t do it. Even if you absolutely loathe a moment you’re experiencing- remember, it’s temporary (this is also my motto when giving birth, haha!)
-A stash of Pedialyte and Saltine crackers. Don’t mess with the classics. I know that they aren’t organic or natural (which my children typically eat 99% of the time,) but for the temporary season your child is so sick, the salty purple drink is one that has way less sugar than Gatorade, and the electrolytes and needed sodium that water doesn’t. I also have a freezer stash of the ice pops on days my girls seem dehydrated or wiped out from a hot summer day. Saltines were one of the only things their bodies had a hard time “taking back” to put it lightly- I think because they are dense, they really do help to settle their stomach with some kind of sustenance.
-Designating one (or a few) area(s) for life. Rather than spread our germs to every part of the room, the girls were quarantined to the downstairs living room, and spent their nights in my bedroom (there was no point in having them sleep in their beds when they needed me all throughout the night.) While I’m still (and currently) going to wash just about every washable thing in my house, it was more so about keeping the bigger messes designated to the living room and my bedroom, so I didn’t run around like a chicken with my head cut off.
-Have the little plastic white tub ready. Note to self: I am buying two more, so that if this ever happens to me, I don’t have to improvise with multiple children and give them old (trashable) tupperware instead. The white tub was the most highly coveted by the girls. 😆
-LET PEOPLE HELP YOU. This is a big one for me. Whenever people ask if they can help me, I’m quick to say, “Thanks so much, but I am totally okay.” (Even when I’m not.) This run around, I let my village help. A friend bringing me the pep of Starbucks and some brief adult interaction (she was brave to face the germ house,) phone calls with family, my in-laws dropping off dinner and little care packages for the girls, my little sister braving the Reason plague to keep me company at night and make me feel a little more human. Even just friends checking in boosted morale. Letting people be there for you is one of life’s greatest gifts, and I fully intend to pass it on.
-Don’t be ashamed of screen time. My kids typically get to watch a Daniel Tiger and/or a Curious George daily while I get ready, but I begin to feel ick when they’ve gone beyond that. Two full daytimes of kids too lethargic to do anything else, I embraced our collection of Disney movies and spent most of the time alternating who I was cuddling.
-Have a plethora of soft blankets on hand. In one day, my child with bad aim (putting it kindly) went through four blankets. Every time I gave her a new one, she felt comforted, and would tell me how they smelled pretty and made her feel nice. 🙂
-Baths boost morale! By days end I had three grumpy, fussy girls. They LOVE my tub, it’s a little luxury to them, so I drew a nice bath with some essential oils and had fun music playing on my iPad. They’d resist the bath at first, but within minutes of getting in, they were giggling and playing.
-My biggest and most important revelation (that came from my mama:) Love them good, it heals them faster…and if it doesn’t, at least they’ll look back at feeling loved at their worst feeling moments. Rather than get stressed and frantic about the constant throw-up (understatement,) I’d rub their backs, suck up my wimpy feelings about vomit, clean it up, and love on them, telling them how sorry I was that they were so sick. I embraced the chaos, wore my comfiest clothes, held back their hair when they needed, and snuggled them as much as possible.
Well friends, that’s all my brain can muster up for now. Cheers to the girls acting like their old selves today, to about five loads of laundry, and to the biggest miracle of them all: that I still haven’t gotten it! I attribute my immune system to those years spent teaching and getting exposed to just about everything. 😆
Hoping you have a happy, healthy weekend!