Nursing your kids when they’re unwell is a parenting rite of passage. We all do the cough, cold, croup dance – waltzing in and out of the doctor as each child catches their sibling’s ailment. At least we can all smile and nod in agreement at these perils that we all put up with when our kids are snotty and sneezy.
1. You will never hear the word ‘mum’ more than when your kids are sick.
“Mum – I need a tissue!”
“Mum – I’m hot!”
“Mum – I’m freezing!”
“Mum – I’m bored!”
Annoying yes, until they yell out for the umpteenth time, you scream, “What now?!” and they gently ask for a cuddle. Well played little germ-bearer. Well played.
2. Your partner will get sick.
And they will be way sicker than the kids, and need far more attention. Worst of all, their sickness means they can’t help you with the kids. You’re on your own.
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3. The house will look even more like a bomb site than usual.
When the kids are sick, even if they can’t move from the lounge, they will still require a dozen drinks in different cups and three changes of clothes. They are, of course, too sick to put anything away. But they’re not too sick to get it out.
4. You’ll play a game every morning called ‘Send Them or Don’t Send Them?’
This is the fun debate you have when you’re trying to decide if your child is too sick to go to daycare/kinder/school. Whatever you decide, it will be wrong. If you send them, you’ll get a call saying they feel sick and want to come home. If you keep them home, a miraculous recovery is just around the corner.
5. No matter what you do to make them feel better, it’s never quite right.
The tissues you bought are too rough. The soup you made is too hot. The one exception to this is your cuddles. They’re always just right.
6. Suddenly, everyone’s happy to share.
Your children probably normally hate sharing with their siblings, but they’ll revel in sharing illness with their brothers and sisters. Because if there’s one thing mums love more than one sick child, it’s multiple bedridden tots.
7. Gastro. Enough said.
Actually, let’s elaborate: if your household falls victim to the gastro curse, be prepared for more unpleasant vomit moments than in a low-grade horror film. And think of it as a prequel. Because once this gem of a virus has finished with your children, it will move onto you. And you’ll have no clean sheets, towels, patience or energy left. Remember, always see a doctor if you are unsure or if you or any of your family members are particularly unwell and not getting better.
8. If you thought you didn’t understand what your baby wants – wait until they get sick.
Trying to decipher illness issues when your patient doesn’t possess the ability to speak is all kinds of tearing-your-hair-out fun.
9. You know how fussy your toddler is on a normal day?
Take that, multiply it by ten, then throw in a good dose of whining and a sprinkling of restless sleep. Now there’s a recipe for a fun-filled day!
10. At some stage, you will get sick.
But remember, it doesn’t count. The best you can hope for is a pretend cuppa in a plastic Peppa Pig mug.