Thursday, February 10, 2011

. . . And In Health

Millie writes:

Everybody at my house is sick.

Oh, not very sick – they've just got colds. Which means they feel rotten, with enough energy left over to tell me how rotten they feel.

I've always been of the opinion that a kid (or a husband) who's sick should just be allowed to go ahead and wallow in it. It's bad enough to feel puny without having to pretend you don't. Everyone needs a little TLC when they're under the weather, and I'm pleased to be able to provide it.

When they were little and feeling sick – no matter what the reason – it usually involved puke in one form or another. Keeping the Bucket Brigade under control was vital. Make no mistake, one of the first things we taught them was that no matter how sick you are you can control yourself until you make it to the bathroom. Control like this takes a while to learn, though, so in those early days there would always be a clean empty margarine tub or plastic wastebasket close by. You also need another wastebasket for used Kleenex and other detritus.

It can be easier to make up a bed on the couch for someone who's recuperating – easier on you, that is, especially if there are stairs in the equation. I cover the couch in sheets or blankets (cover the back and arms, too, if there's puke involved even peripherally), then add pillows and more blankets to make a “nest.” Let the little dear watch cartoons and movies (not too many, it will strain the eyes and give them headaches) while you get your work done.

If they're feeling well enough to sit up before they're well enough to get up, make them a lap desk out of a large cardboard box. Cut off the flaps on the open side, then cut two matching semi-circles out of the long sides. Flip the box over and slip the semi-circles over the sickie's lap.

With so many kids I found it convenient to make up “Sick Bags,” which are lunch-sized bags filled with toys they can only play with when they're sick. I've collected several interesting things for these bags such as magnets, magnifying glasses and ball-in-the-hole puzzle games. I may even pick up a recent comic book or stop by the library for a particularly pitiful patient.

Though eating on the couch is usually verboten, a sickie needs liquids liquids liquids and so they can have a lidded travel mug, a water bottle or a cup with a built-in straw. They also need small healthful meals to tempt their failing appetites (unless we're on Puke Watch or the BRAT diet).

Well, I have more to say but it's time to fluff pillows, make tea and feel foreheads. It's a lot of work but I'm not worried; I'll have plenty of time to rest next week. That's when I'll get the cold – and be left to my own devices!

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