The flus, the colds, the coughs, the croup… Winter can be brutal when you have kids. It was a minor miracle that we made it as far into the winter as we did before being affected. A few weeks back the stomach bug came knocking at our door. That was a heck of an experience. The only good thing about having kids that struggle with constipation is that stomach issues only tend to come out one end.
It started one Sunday afternoon when my two year old woke from her nap and vomited all over herself, her crib, and then my husband. Unfortunately it lingered… 4 crib sheet changes later, after she had thrown up on the sofa and the new sisal carpet, she seemed to be through the worst of it. Then my other daughter got it. Awesome. That experience wasn’t quite as bad but when my husband got it – that was the worst. Gross. Men are supposed to be tough and strong and unflappable. The stomach bug can bring any man down to his knees. (Notice how mommy – the one cleaning up all the vomit never got sick because moms are badass.)
All in all – that entire situation lasted 1 week. We made it through, all was well, and then this past week our ship was taken down once again by this weird evil feverish thing. It started with whining. Doesn’t it always start with whining? Then it was glassy eyes. And lastly the actual fever. We were up at night. We were up early in the morning. And we whined non-stop. Holy smokes was this a doozy.
Yup. We had that.
So what does one do when the cabin fever of 48 in the house with two small children starts to set in? You can’t venture out to the library or kid gym. It’s just not cool to risk germ exposure. (Full disclaimer: I have definitely sent a child to school in that murky “not sick, but not yet 100%” place. Haven’t we all? ) During that first illness, with nowhere else to go, I loaded all 60 pounds of sick kids into the double stroller at 8am and we headed out for a walk. It was 30 degrees out but we were bundled. As we sauntered (no speed walking with 60 pounds in the stroller) down our street that intense voice inside my head kept saying, “You have so much to do today. No time for sick kids. Stick them in the car and drag them out to do errands. Sitting in a cozy carseat won’t make them sicker, will it?” And then, thank God, the sane parental person inside me took over and we continued on with our walk.
Snow was melting, buds were just starting to peak out from under the dirt, and we even saw a few ducks and geese (should have thought to bring bread just in case but mommy was tired too) floating in the pond at Binney Park. The kids were groggy and silent, I was groggy and silent, and it felt very peaceful. I realized that I hadn’t done a walk like this with them – one without an endpoint or destination – in too long of a time. I realized that another year from now Em would be too big for the stroller. At that moment I just allowed myself to enjoy the slow unscheduled pace of our “sick day”. I even let my pajama-clad children climb out of the stroller for a few minutes to crunch their way through spring snow so they could check out the playground that seemed so foreign to them after 3 months of winter weather.
Pajama party at the playground!
Aha! And there you have it. The powers that be sent me a heaping pile of kid illness and a lesson to go along with it. Slow down. Put the to-do list away. And know that this germy, sick, groggy moment in parenthood time is over before we know it. And in those moments our little ones need a lot. That need will change with time so why not snuggle, hold, comfort, and calm them now when they want it. I got the message. We did the same strolling to get fresh air this weekend as we recovered from the last of the fever. We got nothing and everything done at the same time. The “to-do listers” among us will really understand that sentiment.
And because we must never forget that a sense of humor is the key to surviving parenthood. Here’s a link to a blog that I find to be hysterically funny. This “crappy” mom has nailed parenthood at its finest hours. Check her out here.