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Katy England Katy England
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edge staff writer


That's just sick

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Anyone who is not interested in hearing about kids who are sick should leave now. Seriously.

I thought I understood kids being sick. We've had a wide variety of illness in the house over the past four years, some involving ER trips, some involving various levels of ick. But this was new and long. Ever since school started the kids have had a linger cold. Outside of the usual ick, they were not troubled by this. Routines continued bus, school, home.

Then the illness leveled up. One of the girls got a fever for about five days. Five days of me periodically calling the on-call as it climbed into the stratosphere and it was wait and see. I hate to wait and see.

I like fixing things. When the kids break their books, I like taping them back together. Sole falls off a shoe, get the glue. I sew on buttons, and I can even do some minor maintenance work on appliances (as long as I don't have to open them up all the way). But sitting around while the kids have high fevers is maddening.

They are uncomfortable, and the usual things you can do to make them feel better don't work. They don't want to eat, can't really sleep, and if they hit the fluids too hard they can barf.

I wish I can remember who told me that kid isn't truly potty trained until they use the toilet when they throw up. Well, one of my kids actually figured it out. We leave a mini-potty in his room for overnight/early morning use. He also figured out, with zero prompting, that it made sense to use it when physically ill as well. He realized it meant he wouldn't lose his Pillow Bear for hours at a time. Smart kid.

And the scheduling is hard. Having more free time to work is great, until you have at least one kid out of school for more than a week straight (they take turns, you see).

And the children get deceptively well but not really. One morning, after a hard night, one of the kids seemed to be in a spectacularly better mood. Ate breakfast, was chatty, happy, wanted to go to school. We obliged. Both parents made the mistake of having obligations that day (doctor's appointment and work), and I forgot to unsilence my phone. About six phone calls, and a very understanding father-in-law later Yeah. Mom of the Year think I'll just not apply this year and save people time.

But that's not the worst of it. It's worse when people are almost better - that fey zone between being too sick to move or talk and being completely well. It's the angry zone. Whining tends to be the preferred form of communication, and yelling at whoever happens to be in your line of sight is the next course of action. When this fails to elicit a sympathetic response from Mom and Dad, and instead we ask them to take their behavior elsewhere, meltdowns of a serious nature occur.

This is of course due to people feeling better but not quite themselves and, well, making everyone kind of miserable by default. Some people do this as adults with little more subtlety, so I try to cut them some slack and give them hugs regardless of whether they've stopped yelling or not. That seems to help everyone.


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