Sick day? As a stay at home mom? Hahahahahaahahaha!
We've caught a couple small colds this year, but nothing serious or long until this past weekend. Saturday we all felt fine. Sunday I woke up with a miserable cold. I'm not sure how much truth is in this, but I feel like colds hit me hard when I'm pregnant. In any case, this one definitely knocked me off my feet. The toddlers just had drippy noses, though we could tell they weren't feeling well by how long they slept. Our 5-year old and my hubby, thankfully, still have not shown any symptoms.
Sunday my hubby took our 5-year old to church. They then went to lunch and ran a couple errands we needed done. Afterwards, he dropped our 5-year old off at home and went to school to study for a couple hours. Monday was a regular school day for him. (My hubby is currently going through power school.) And this pregnant, under the weather momma was taking care of a 5-year old and 2-year old twins alone.
Sick days are one of those things that really truly have gotten better as the kids have gotten older. Even back when our oldest was an infant, it is hard taking care of an infant when you don't feel well. They can't do anything for themselves. If they are crawling, they are pulling up on things and falling over or putting themselves in harms way. You have spoon feeding, bottle feeding, constant diaper changing, rocking to sleep, nap schedules, and, Lord forbid the infant gets sick when you do! A fussy infant when you are also sick is so hard to manage. Then we had twins and it became exponentially more difficult. Instead of caring for one infant, we had two. Two infants when you are sick are an extreme juggling act, especially if they come down with it too! You can sometimes do fine taking care of two well babies when they are on the same schedule, but when they are both sick, they both want to be held and they both have needs that can be hard to meet when you are under the weather. On top of that, I was also taking care of a toddler, bouncing around and wanting something to do. I remember many colds where I was sitting on the floor with a box of tissues and two crying babies in my arms while my oldest rolled around on the couch watching movies.
These past two days I've been home sick with a 5 and a half year old and two 2 and a half year olds. It really has been one of those times when having twins is a major benefit and they entertain each other. Our toddlers spent much of the past two days pushing trains together and playing house in our playroom. Occasionally they would bring out their "babies" for me to ooh and aah over, little stuffed panda bears and dinosaurs cradled in their arms. They would chase each other around our family room and play hide and seek with each other. (Strangely, those types of games aren't usually too wild with two two year olds, but as soon as you throw a five year old in there it reaches a whole new level of wild.) I still had to take care of them and change their diapers. However, toddlers don't fly through diapers like infants do, so the diaper changes were less frequent. I left snacks and drinks within their reach and could direct them to the snack pile when they told me they were hungry, "It's on the table, love." They brought me diapers and wipes to change them when they told me they were stinky. If they got too wild, I redirected their play without having to get up from the couch, "Boys, too wild. Can you go find your trains to push?" When they woke up from nap fussy and groggy (they have a mild version of my cold), they came out of their bedrooms and stumbled over to me on the couch for after nap cuddles-- I didn't need to go get them out of cribs and immediately start on diaper changes and getting bottles ready.
As for our 5 and a half year old, he has been awesome. Seriously. I have been singing his praises for the past couple days. I put the art box in the office for him where his Legos and K'Nex are. He has been making me "get better soon" hearts and cards since I got sick. Yesterday he even made me a paper rose. I've let him play out front and at the park behind our house. He wears a watch and I tell him what time he needs to check in with me, "When the long black hand is on the 9, you need to come in and check up with Momma." He has religiously come in at the correct times. I do believe he feels he is coming in to check on me and not check in with me as every time he enters the house he quietly comes in the family room with a, "How are you feeling, Momma?" and lays his hand on my forehead. He can make sandwiches for himself and for his brothers, as well as get tangerines and such from the fridge and peel them for all 3 of them. He has brought me blankets, pillows, Kleenex, water... All with the sweetest attitude. He is so excited we have another baby on the way and I think he has been practicing his caretaking skills. I woke up from a short nap on the couch to find him rubbing my feet. When he saw I was awake, he said, "Hey, Momma! I'm trying to help make you feel better" He has played with his brothers, watched movies with me, played outside when he felt cooped up, and spent a lot of time building and drawing in the office.
Those have been the easy times, the things-went-perfectly times. Of course over the past two days we've had crazy times. Sunday night a little before my hubby came home, I started feeling so overwhelmed. With a pounding head and 3 kids running around wrestling and misbehaving, I didn't know how we would get through the rest of the evening. I wanted to curl up in bed with a box of tissues and some Vicks, not patrol toddlers who kept jumping on the couch. I felt too tired to talk, let alone get the boys ready for bed. Yesterday one of the toddlers fell down and bumped his knee. I came in the playroom to see if he was okay only to discover that instead of playing quietly with their cars and trains, the toddlers had dumped all of our board games out of their boxes into a pile on the floor, including 3 of our 5-year old's puzzles. Oh, I felt so deflated. It was time for their nap anyway; after tucking them in, I sat on the playroom floor with a pounding head, running nose, and started sorting through all our game pieces. Sunday afternoon while my hubby was out with our 5-year old, I heard a stool scraping on the kitchen floor. I told the toddlers to come on out of the kitchen and got the reply, "One minute!" Suspicious, I walked in the kitchen to find them with a box of markers and one of my Lennox bowls, pilfered off the counter. They've all 3 been bored at times over the past 2 days, Momma too sick and tired to plan anything during the day. They come whining over to the couch, "Moooooomma.... I want to cuddle...." which really means they want to crawl under the blanket with me and start using it as a play fort, wiggling and squirming and starting tickle fights. Silly when I am well, uncomfortable (and irritating) when I'm sick and 18-weeks pregnant. And over the past 2 days we have found so many tissues shredded by our dog, no matter how hard I try to pick them up.
Thankfully today I'm feeling better. Still congested, still a little groggy, but much, much better. Our 5-year old let out a cheer when he saw me come in the kitchen this morning and eat a big breakfast. "Are you feeling better, Momma? Yay!!" Even more exciting, the Navy has given my husband 2 days off due to the weather advisory, so I'll have lots of help today. There has been a festive air in our house all morning with Momma feeling better and Daddy home to eat breakfast with us.
Here are some of my tips when home sick:
- Don't do any unnecessary household chores. If you don't have to do it, don't do it. Wait until you feel better.
I did no dishes yesterday. When my husband came home, he cleaned up the kitchen, which was fabulous. However, if he hadn't have done the dishes last night, I would do them today when I had my energy up. Laundry... shudder. I'll be catching up on that today too.
- Snacks, snacks, snacks, snacks, and sandwiches.
Perhaps my children have been carb loading for the past 2 days, but go for easy food. I kenneled the dog and put a small supply of snacks within their reach. No, I do not normally give them snacks-- firm believer in mealtimes as a family-- and, no, they are not normally allowed to eat anywhere except the kitchen table. However, it was so nice not to have to get up and make food all day. I tried to give them foods that weren't too messy: sliced apples, granola bars, bananas, tangerines, slices of bread, etc.
- Put water within their reach.
Again, not normally something I am big on. I do not like our toddlers to have unrestricted access to something that will make a mess (or ruin our household electronics). Since our 5-year old can reach the kids cups and fill his own cup, I only put water out for our toddlers. I filled two water bottles up and set them on a coffee table within eye sight of the couch. That way I could see the water bottles and keep an eye on them while drinking them. When I got up to fill my own water, I checked to make sure they had water, that way I wouldn't hear, "Momma, more water!" after I was all settled in to my couch nest.
- Close off areas of the house.
While they may have "free reign" of the house while you are stuck on the couch, they don't need access to the whole house. I even locked several of the doors of the house that I didn't want them in, including some of the bathrooms that our toddlers could make a mess in (no, thank you to toothpaste squeezed all over the bathroom!). I also closed off the master bedroom, the laundry room, and our guest room.
- Find what is entertaining and bend the rules.
I don't like the television on all day. And I don't like the boys to be able to reach crayons whenever they want to. And I don't like our family room littered with toys (that's what the playroom is for!). But the past couple days, we watched kids' movies and shows in the morning; I watched my shows in the afternoon during nap/quiet time. I put crayons on the kitchen table for our toddlers and the art box in the office for our 5-year old. I let the boys play in the hallway to the guest room and push trucks all over the house. Yes, we keep sitting on Legos in our couch cushions, but they all played and we all made it through the cold. I received a lot of artwork the past couple days since they could reach crayons and paper whenever they wanted too-- mostly "get well soon" cards and that really helped me feel better. :)
- Try to take care of yourself.
Man, there have been many colds that I powered through and tried to do business as usual. The colds dragged; I was exhausted at the end of the day and for more days. Something about being pregnant helped me be a little more selfish, rest more, drink more water, put things off that really didn't actually need to get done (ahem, laundry). I took short naps when the boys were watching a movie and slept when the toddlers napped, having my 5-year old go play quietly in the office or sitting in the family room with his picture books. I told the boys that I wasn't feeling well and needed to rest when they pleaded with me take out Play doh (a hands on activity when you have two year old twins). Thankfully our fridge is stocked as I recently went grocery shopping, so I didn't feel bad about not cooking meals; we had plenty of supplies for sandwiches and pasta. (Plus our fabulous neighbors brought us over tons of food when they found out I was sick-- THANK YOU!)