Lessons Learned from my Dear Sick Children

This week has been an exciting one in my home. Not only was it spring break in my school district (read: the Princess has to work extra), but my children chose this specific week to get sick. How fun.

 Actually, it started last week, Friday night, when Art went in to take Ryan to the bathroom. Our son requires two trips to the bathroom each night. Unfortunately he does not in fact wake up for these trips unless we go in there and bodily remove him from his bed, preferring instead to stay asleep and empty his bladder all over his Thomas sheets, his pajamas, his Kiki, his stuffed animals, and half of the North American continent. So each night before we go to bed we take him potty, and each night when I wake up for my nightly trip I take him too.

Last Friday night’s first bathroom trip became rather messier than usual when Ryan started crying that he didn’t feel good. Being the good daddy that Art is, he told Ryan that he would feel better in the morning and guided him out from the bathroom into the hallway. At this point Ryan’s stomach decided to prove he really was sick by violently disgorging its contents all over the hallway, the bathroom door, and somehow the floor and wall of the bathroom behind the door. This would be because when Art realized Ryan was puking he tried to turn him around and run him back to the toilet to finish the deed. That would be a big FAIL. Which brings me to Sick Child Lesson #1.

Sick Child Lesson #1. The only time your sick child will vomit into an approved Puke Receptacle will be when his tummy is empty. Following the rather extensive cleanup required to remove the amazing contents of my son’s stomach from the hallway and bathroom and his pajamas, we lovingly provided him with a bucket, which we placed right next to his bed prior to tucking him in. Wake us up if you throw up, we said. But first, grab the bucket and throw up in there. This is where the entire free world starts laughing hysterically. It’s possible some of the unfree world is laughing hysterically right now too. Two crying-in-the-night, sheet-and-jammy-changing sessions later, my dear sick son finally puked into the bucket. Final tally: Puke on floors, walls, doors, pajamas, bedsheets, blankets, and sacred stuffed animals: six gallons. Puke in bucket: one teaspoon. Score one for the barf bucket.

Thankfully, Ryan’s bout of tummy disaster only lasted about twelve hours. Pretty soon he was demanding jell-o, sprite, toast with jelly, and steak. Good thing he got better so fast, because Monday he got sick again.

Sick Child Lesson #2. Green hairspray temporarily cures illness. Call me a bad mom. Ryan was running a fever overnight Sunday night. Monday morning he seemed to be fine, and I had grocery shopping, a visit to the eye doctor, and several hours of work demanding my attention. While I was debating whether or not to send him to daycare, the darling child remembered the promise I had made that for St. Patrick’s Day I would dye his hair green. Suddenly he was feeling perfectly fine, never mind that fever he had had overnight. I believed him. He lied. I sprayed his hair green and took him with me to work, then later returned from a field trip with my school-agers to discover that Ryan wasn’t feeling so well. And he felt hot again. That night his fever went up to almost 104. Way to go Mom.

 Sick Child Lesson #3. The more expensive your child’s medication is, the more likely that your HSA debit card will run out of money right when you go to pay for it. See, the day before we discovered that Bubba had Influenza B and Stinky was very likely toget sick too, I ordered myself new glasses with lenses treated with fancy anti-reflection stuff. My bad. How was I to know that the doctor was going to prescribe medication that would cost me $114 after insurance? The good news is that our HSA gets more money put in it on April 1st. The bad news is . . .

Sick Child Lesson #4. No matter what the original diagnosis was, Sam will get an ear infection. I’m not sure if the child ever got the flu or not. He had a fever, and a cough (classic symptoms) and possibly a headache (although it’s sometimes hard to know if Sam actually has a headache or if he just is a headache). Then all of a sudden he got a nasty green runny nose, and, joy to the world, eye gunk. Sam gets eye gunk every single time he has an ear infection. I have taken that boy to the doctor like three times thinking he had pinkeye, only to discover that what he really had was an ear infection. So that’s my assumption. I can’t be sure, because:

Sick Child Lesson #5. Sam will get symptoms of an ear infection on a Saturday. Not just on Saturday, but on Saturday at 11:45 am, also known as fifteen minutes before the doctor’s office closes. So I called the office and said I needed to make an appointment for my son for Monday morning because I think he has an ear infection. Immediately the receptionist’s BAD MOMMY RADAR came on. “Is he going to be okay until then?” I assured her that if he got really bad I would take him to the urgent care clinic and she finally gave me an appointment for early Monday morning. But not before she made me feel like an evil jerk. Maybe I am a bad mother. Because the ultimate rule of sick children is this:

Sick Child Lesson #6. No matter what you do, if your kid is sick it will always be the wrong decision. Keep him home, he’s fine. Send him off, he’s sick. Take him to the doctor, there’s nothing they can do. Don’t take him to the doctor, he’ll develop a raging infection in both ears and possibly break an ankle in the meantime. Having a sick kid is the easiest way to bring your Mommy Guilt up if it’s lacking. For example, this week I have been made to feel guilty by the following things: 1] making my son eat all of his dinner last Friday night, only to discover he really was sick; 2] sending my son to daycare when he had influenza b, 3] having to work a lot and therefore not being home with my sick children, 4] feeling annoyed when Ryan started to feel better but wasn’t better enough to go places and therefore was bouncing off the walls and tormenting his brother, 5] not getting sick myself, 6] not allowing Ryan to go to church Wednesday night to say goodbye to his best friend Faith who is moving away– his temp was still up over 100 but poor kid! 7] enjoying the fact that because they’re sick they’ve been sleeping in in the mornings, 8] not recognizing yesterday that Sam was probably getting an ear infection and therefore taking him the doctor today, 9] not taking out stock in the company that makes the very expensive antibiotics I’m sure Sam will require, 10] rolling my eyes when the kids start crying in the night and I have to get up and pat them and tell them to go back to sleep, 11] breathing.

I guess in the end it’s a good thing that the boys got sick, because my supply of mommy guilt was getting pretty low. Always look on the bright side, that’s what I say.

 My only regret is that their stomach bug seems to be gone. Guess I won’t be able to steal all their chocolate bunnies after all.

 Happy Easter, everyone. 🙂


One thought on “Lessons Learned from my Dear Sick Children

  1. Oh my goodness — Is this so funny!! Ma and I just laughed and laughed – mainly cause we have experienced almost all the same things you have. Great lessons and so true!!

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