The stomach bug has entered our house, and is picking us off, one at a time. Ellie was the first to go down, kicking it off early Tuesday morning with a diaper blowout so foul, I thought I would have to throw the sheets away. Thankfully for all of us, she typically remains a happy, happy baby, even when she’s sick. [If the video below doesn't make you smile, then I'm pretty sure you have no heart.]
Rebecca was up next, after bedtime on Tuesday night. Here’s the thing: Rebecca is a PILL when she’s sick. And she is a PILL when her sleep is disrupted. So waking up two hours after bedtime because she’s puking everywhere? HOLY SHIT. The hysterics, I cannot even describe. She, obviously, was not going to school on Wednesday.
Knowing it was only a matter of time, I kept Daniel home from school, too. And while he probably wouldn’t have actually puked AT school, it wasn’t long. By early afternoon, he was the next to fall. And for all of his recent dramatic tendencies, he tends to just be lethargic when he’s sick. M stayed home to help me tend to the sickies, and we pretty much plopped the kids in front of the TV and movies all day, while we took turns napping and trying to figure out how long it’d be until we got knocked out, too.
And so it was, early Thursday morning, that it was my turn. Oh, lucky me. While both older kids were improving, neither was ready to go back to school. Ellie is still on Pedialyte because her tummy clearly isn’t ready to go back to formula. M was fit as a fiddle and behind at work. So off he went, with me on the couch and three sort-of-sick, sort-of-well kids.
I mostly laid about on the couch, and put on Empire Strikes Back at the kids’ request. Whatever, sick days are when screen time rules pretty much go out the window. It’s all about survival. And we were doing alright for the morning. But by the time I put Ellie down for her afternoon nap, I desperately needed one of my own.
The big kids are pretty much done napping. Most days, we still try to do some “quiet time” in their rooms, but even that is becoming a battle. And after a morning of laying low, I really was not in the mood to convince them to go upstairs. So I made them a deal: if they could play nicely and leave me alone for one hour, I would give them a star. We discussed rules and expectations, and then up I went.
THANK GOD I have kids who are willing and able to do this. I know this wouldn’t work for everyone. For some kids, the temptation for mischief is simply too much. For some sets of twins, it’s nearly impossible to keep them from poking each other’s eyes out. I’m not patting myself on the back for a job well done, but rather thanking my lucky stars that this was even within the realm of possibilities.
I’ve always been on the side of “benign neglect” as a general parenting philosophy, in that I have always tried to encourage my kids to amuse themselves and each other. But the fact that it seems to have worked, and the fact that they generally play well together? Oh, halle-freaking-lujah.
We all know there’s no such thing as a sick day in this job, so I’m glad I was able to get an hour (and a half!!) in bed without the house burning down in my absence.