I never knew about getting sick until I had two kids. When I was young and unencumbered, if I felt a cold coming on, I’d make a point of ordering a screwdriver at the bar that night. You know, for the vitamin C. And then, by the next day, I was usually fine. (Note to self: Should cold medicine have more vodka in it?)
Then I had my daughter, and at first, she wasn’t the disease-magnet I’d feared. She didn’t get her first fever until 15-months-old, and I bragged that it was my magical breast milk keeping her healthy. Once she started preschool, however, there was definitely more cold catching. I braced myself for the dreaded hand, foot and mouth disease, but it never darkened our door.
Enter baby #2 — aka, Typhoid Baby. My magical breast milk kept her healthy for a grand total of five months. (So much for my holier than thou breast-is-best bragging.) It seems the germs from the petri dish that is preschool travel into our home via the big kid and infect our poor baby, who then smears her runny snot on every human, toy, and surface in the house. The four of us pass her germs around in an unholy circle, reinfecting each other over and over, like the least fun ever game of ring around the rosy. Sneezes, tissues, we all fall down.
So needless to say, I’ve been home with a sick kid more than my share lately. Most recently, the 4-year-old missed a whole week of school on account of the flu. (Our appointment for her flu shot was scheduled for a week after she got sick, naturally.)
When I’m caring for a sick kid, my tone and words are gentle and empathetic as I nurse her back to health. My inner monologue is a whole different story. Here are 21 things I’m guessing a lot of us think when our kids are sick:
1. Please don’t get me sick
2. Please don’t get your sister/brother sick.
3. At least I don’t have to cook three meals, because you’re not going to eat them anyway. Have a popsicle, kid.
4. What kind of idiot gives a child a red popsicle to eat on white sheets? This kind!
5. Come on, sneeze into your elbow. Cover your mouth with anything. For the love of God, just cough away from my face.
6. I get that you’re sick, but how much more energy does it take to drop your used Kleenex into the trash can I provided instead of leaving them right next to it for me to pick up?