I mentioned several angst-ridden posts ago that there are just some things that you can’t possibly be prepared for as a parent. It’s true, and some advice you just don’t internalize. When I had a baby I called my sister any number of times to howl “Why didn’t you tell me about [blank]?!” Her response: “I DID. You just didn’t want to believe me.”
…Fine. Sully the past with your “truth” and “logic.”
Today I’m writing to you from Stomach Plague Central, aka my couch. Christmas was a very subdued affair, as Maggie succumbed to her thrice-yearly round of multi-day terrible illness in the wee hours of December 24. Moira followed suit around 4am on December 25. When presented with their Father Christmas’s sparkling bounty, Moira put her head between her legs and Maggie threw a blanket over her head and lay down on the couch facing the wall.
We have video of this magical childhood moment but I won’t post it. It’s just too pitiful.
They rallied and I set about the tasks of caregiving: a notepad for tracking fever-reducing dosage times, all the spare towels and linens for making up beds, and setting up stacks of clean prefold diapers and buckets at various positions throughout the house to serve as shields and receptacles when necessary.
After almost four years as a parent, this isn’t my first rodeo. This isn’t even the first (or second, or third) time that both kids have been ill at the same time. But it got me thinking: what do I wish I had known the first few times? Here’s what you should have on hand as soon as you start suspecting that a rotten state is about to settle over your abode.
Popsicle molds: if you can find the kind with a straw built into the handle so the juice will drain down and they can drink it, so much the better. Mine were 3GBP at the local supermarket. Maggie refuses to eat solid food when she has a fever. Won’t do it. Isn’t super-psyched about water, either. But she’ll eat popsicles, and making my own ensures that she’s getting lots of good stuff. I make mine with berries (I have dark brown leather couches, so…proceed at your own risk with dark juicy fruits), peeled apples, which I puree and then I thin the mixture with tea. What kind of tea? Next!
Traditional Medicinals Cold Care tea: make and dilute as directed, and if your child is over 12 months old add raw honey while the tea is warm. The tea shouldn’t be HOT, otherwise it kills the antibacterial benefits of the honey, but just warm enough to dissolve the honey into the tea. If your kid will drink it straight, awesome. If they’re like mine, that’s why you have popsicle molds.
Probiotics for all ages: Maggie doesn’t get sick often thanks to a diet of whole, healthy foods and supplemented with probiotics. When she does it’s generally a superbug, which is miserable. If I can get her to take her probiotics, that’s wonderful, and if not I double the amount that I take so hopefully I can avoid being sick at the same time. Thus far, it’s going okay.
Coconut oil: this is a staple at our house, but I use it with a drop of lavender oil for a fever massage or after baths. There are so many baths being taken right now. So many. So much yuck, because having little girls with thick hair is beautiful and also sometimes the WORST and that is all I will say about that. Anyway, a nice post-bath massage offers comforting touch when they really need it and keeps their skin from drying out.
Laundry: at the very beginning of an illness, wash and dry all their pajamas and any towels or sheets waiting to go. Your preparedness will pay off. Trust me. Also, now is not the time to wear anything you really like.
Any other tips? I’ll check in the girls begin to recover because for now I have to aim them away from my expensive electronics.