Monday, September 22, 2008

Oh, Their Aching Heads!

***Before I begin, let me profusely apologize for the long time in between posts! I have spent some time trying to help my wonderful husband recuperate from a back injury. Thankfully, he's on the mend and has left me with some "blogging time" on my hands! Thanks, Honey! I love you!***

I would like to thank everyone who posted or emailed suggestions for future posts; what GREAT ideas!! And, I am going to try to address each one in the order that I received them. So, here's the first one (just for you, Cyndi!)!

Idea: "How about addressing the issue of sick sick is too sick to go to school? what are the acceptable degrees of a running nose to take your child out in public? why can't all the kids get sick at the same time? why must I spend the next 21 days at home taking care of one sick kid after another?"

My Opinion: Maybe a better question is, "how badly do you need your child to go to school?".
I jest. Sort of.
Serious answer?
Well, it depends on the symptoms (and each school varies slightly in which symptoms are "not acceptable"): is a fever present, bad cough, constantly runny nose, vomiting? Those are all pretty obvious reasons to keep your child home; for the safety of the other children and because your child's weakened immune system can't fight off any new germs.
Also, age is a factor.
What do I mean?
Well, a 5-year-old with a persistent (and noticeable) cough and a runny nose is probably too sick for a day at school, but a 13-year-old with the same symptoms can probably take some cold medicine (I am not giving medical advice!!!!) and get through the day fairly normally.
Only YOU know how your child is, so your opinion counts for the most.

As for going out in public, well..... Again, I wouldn't want to take a vomiting child out in public; too much risk of gross embarrassment! But, sometimes you absolutely have to make a quick trip to the store (as in, you need more decongestant and tissues!), and running a sick kid in and out of a smallish store is perfectly OK. Now, if we're talking a lengthy trip to the library followed by a romp at the McDonald's playland.... Uh, no way. And, for those of you who regularly do that sort of thing: thanks for getting my kids sick!

Why can't all your kids get sick at the same time? Well, they CAN! But, that stinks, too! There are only so many "puke bowls" (my kids' term for vomit buckets) in one house, and only one Mama to get them under the right chin at the right time!
Passing a flu-bug from kid to kid is no picnic, either, I know. And, whether it's scientific fact or not, the bug seems to worsen with each kid! With five kids, I have indeed spent the better part of many "Octobers through Aprils" locked in my home.

Two things to look forward to? These "bad years" seem to go in cycles, and the more germs the older kids bring home the sooner the younger ones build up a formidable immune system. Also, starting at 2nd grade, it seems that kids just get sick less often; probably due to the fact that their immune systems have now been exposed to most things and because they have grown out of the disgusting lick-their-hands-and-everything-else phase.

Tired of seeing the same four walls for two straight seasons in a row? Me too! Cheer up, here are some nifty things to do with all that time:

- decorate/personalize each child's "puke bowl". Makes the whole experience more fun!

- Begin, or add on to, your husband's HoneyDo List.

- Scan the travel websites for the cheapest airfare to Marco Island.

- On the coldest day of winter, open all your windows and bleach EVERYTHING in your
home to kill all the germs (and to give your kids something new to complain about!).

- Match up all the socks in your sock basket. Don't look at me like that! We ALL have a
family sock basket.

- Start a running "illness" tab for each child. Include every dollar spent on medicines,
tissues, thermometers, Vick's VapoRub, etc. As soon as each child is hired for his/her first
post-college job, present him/her with a bill. (This is a fun AND practical idea!)

I'm sure I've only given you more grist for your mill with these opinions and ideas, but at least you are now aware that you are not alone!

With the virtual world becoming more normal and more available to Americans, I can honestly suggest that someone should start a Webcam Playgroup for Moms Stuck At Home With Sick Kids (WPMSAHWSK is not the coolest acronym, but whatever.).
It would be nice to see and hear (most of the time, anyway!) that other moms are losing their minds trying to cope with their sick kids, wouldn't it?

At the very least, you can always check back here and re-read this post, if only for ideas on how to make the most of your "sick days"!

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