The Lady of Snotland

It’s turning into One Of Those Days.

We had plans. Plans to Leave The House. We were even going to meet up with real people and play.

Instead, we’ve made a return to Snotland.

On top of that, I found Alpha in Zulu’s cot 45 minutes after I put Zulu down for a nap. Nap over, baby not rested. Mummy not impressed.

Then Alpha showed me how much I need to lift my game in the child proofing department by handing me a spanner and a mini flamethrowercandle lighter. After I padlocked the toolbox, he promptly jammed his fingers underneath.

So we’re off to a brilliant start, really. The dust has settled a bit, so I thought I’d share some more observations on having sick kids (because it’s more productive than pulling my hair out one strand at a time).

– don’t make plans to leave the house when your kids are sick. You know you’ll just have to cancel them, so why bother? Stay home in your pjs.

– don’t attempt to introduce weetbix to a sick, snotty baby. Just don’t.

– if you ignore my sage advice above, remember that weetbix is an appropriate substitute for concrete and must be rinsed of all surfaces immediately.

– ‘all surfaces’ includes the baby’s face.

– if you decide halfway through to switch to pouch food (because you think you have a chance of it being eaten), don’t select one with blueberry in it – unless you want to see just how far the droplets of your child’s snot goes when they sneeze.

– bibs are useless when your child is sick. Just stick it all in napisan and be done with it.

– some days there just isn’t enough coffee.

– frozen milk in your coffee an affogato doesn’t make.

– my new best friend Frida is nowhere near as gross as you’d think.

– Glen20. Hand sanitiser. Tissues. You can never have enough.

– actually, don’t even bother with the tissues – your baby will only consider your sleeve as an appropriate receptacle for his beloved snot snakes. Your face is also acceptable.

– if you run out of ideas for new games/tolerance for ABC2, there are hundreds of blogs with ideas for games. One of my favourites is Toddler Approved. I found the inspiration for these soft drink bottle skittles there and they’ve been a real hit today. 20140626-152721-55641385.jpg
That’s it for now…anyway, I’m trying my best to remember that every cloud has a silver lining.

It’s just that today that lining is snot.

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Surviving the Snot

You may have noticed there was no Toy Tuesday this week. The toys have been putting in some pretty long hours looking after two sick boys and haven’t had energy for play, so I’ve given them the week off.

I hope they realise I intend on taking next week off myself and they’re on full parental duties.

So, the boys are still/again sick. Hard to tell if it’s new or the same illness – they sort of roll into one after a while. It’s prompted me to share some observations on parenting sick* kids.

– Kids have some sort of internal calendar that tells them when weekends, public holidays, important work meetings and compulsory family events are on. That is when they know they need to get sick.

– This calendar also syncs with the closing times of your doctor and pharmacy.

– Kids have absolutely NO concept of universal hygiene precautions.

– On a related note, a sneeze in the face is how some cultures express love and devotion to their elders.**

– Childproof lids on medication bottles become adultproof after midnight.

– Medications with those funky ‘oral dosage devices’ that mean you don’t wind up tipping syrup all over the table are fantastic…until you lose the matching syringe. Then you’re stuffed.

– If you do happen to have the correct syringe, I strongly advise against removing it from the top of the bottle while you’re holding the bottle upside down.

– Medication syringes are a total pain in the bum to clean. The best way I’ve found is to turn them into mini water pistols while you’re washing up.

– The brand of drug your toddler will tolerate will make your baby projectile vomit.

– Vaporisers are brilliant. Just don’t set it up next to the baby monitor or you’ll be worried about the ‘strange talking’ you hear in your baby’s room.

– The day after you finally put the vaporiser away (even if it’s been unused for, maybe two months) will be the night your kids start coughing again.

– Everything gets worse at night.

– If you decide you’re not sleeping, you’ll be more appreciative of the hour or so the kids deigned to let you have.

– It’s much easier to work out a contingency plan for emergencies during the day.

– Don’t dismay if your child wipes their nose on you just before you go out*** – simply shake on some glitter and you’ve got instant bling.

– Saline sprays and snot suction thingummys require basic Jedi training to operate.

– Wiping your child’s nose would be a piece of cake if you were a ninja.

– You haven’t truly lived until you’ve caught another person’s puke in your bare hands. It’s exhilarating – don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

– They will get better. And you will get sick, and then recover just as they fall ill again…but you WILL eventually all be well at the same time. Just don’t expect that time to be before the middle of Spring.

* Just minor stuff. I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like taking care of chronically/seriously unwell kids. Hats off to all of you who do.

** I made that up. I desperately hope it isn’t true.

*** To do something thrilling and exciting. You know, like taking out the rubbish. Or buying more toilet paper.

How to go on a day trip with kids and a head cold in 31 easy steps

1. Do not leave the house with your kids for two days while they have colds. Decide you are leaving the house the following day no matter what happens.

2. Wake up feeling like death warmed up. Look in the mirror and discover you only look marginally better. Remember your determination to leave the house. Groan inwardly.

3. Realise you can’t manage a third day at home with the kids as you observe your toddler emptying all the toys into the floor and bounce off the roof. Decide against making any plans before you’ve had panadol, breakfast and coffee.

4. As the fog around your brain slowly dissipates, reluctantly decide against sharing your germs with your mothers’ group. Arrange to have lunch with your brother at the bookstore he works at so you can buy a christening present.

5. Place baby in his cot and turn Play School on for toddler so you can shower in desperate hope that you’ll feel human afterwards. Leave bathroom door open so you can hear any interactions. Call toddler’s name occasionally to check for response. Realise this feels oddly similar to playing Marco Polo in the pool.

6. Finish shower and realise you still feel sub-human. Go to check on baby and discover toddler in cot with baby. Try not to think about how he got there. Get kids dressed and sit down on couch to finish watching Play School with toddler.

7. Discover baby has fallen asleep in your arms. Place in cot. Make yourself a second cup of coffee while you wait for him to wake up. Make mental note to take some painkillers with you for your next dose. Thoroughly enjoy hot cup of coffee. Pack nappy bag for your trip.

8. Feed screaming baby when he wakes. Place baby on ground and wipe puke off shoulder. Remind toddler babies are not for jumping on.

9. Gather children and belongings and head to door. Pause when you smell something suspicious. Change toddler’s nappy. Decide the only thing good about a head cold is the greatly diminished sense of smell.

10. Repeat step nine with baby.

11. Leave house. Catch train to your destination with no mishaps. Observe on the way that you’ve dressed your boys in the same colours for the fourth day in a row.

12. Meet your brother in the cafe attached to the bookshop. Hand him the baby after he orders lunch. Begin spooning orange vegie mush into baby’s mouth. Sigh as baby’s flailing hand catches the loaded spoon and sends a fine spray of orange vegie mush across the wall.

13. Smile in relief when your coffee and lunches arrive. Watch in abject horror as your baby swipes the burger patty off your brother’s plate. Retrieve it from the floor. Swap lunches with your brother. Take baby back and hold on lap while you alternate bites your your lunch and spoons into his mouth.

14. Turn to discover toddler has spilled half a milkshake in his lap. Stuff a handful of serviettes over the carnage and pretend nothing has happened. Strongly encourage toddler to eat his lunch. Finish lunch and say goodbye to your brother.

15. Move to children’s section of store. Release your toddler into the small enclosed play area while you browse. Leave disgruntled baby in bottom of the pram to make room for your bag and books in the main seat. Finish and inform toddler you need to go and pay so that he can play in the big playground.

16. Be lulled into a false sense of security when he instantly complies with your direction. Make it halfway towards the counter before he suddenly bolts across the store. Sprint Jog haggard lay while pushing your overloaded pram after your nimble child.

17. Ditch the pram at a counter and ask the staff to watch it while you chase your toddler around the shelves of bibles. Catch your nimble child and escort him bag to the pram.

18. Wrestle your shrieking banshee-octopus beloved firstborn son into the pram while standing in front of a display of books on parenting. Add two to your purchases once your toddler is safely restrained. Move to the counter and buy the books.

19. Observe the baby has fallen asleep. Release toddler into play area and sink into seat. Realise instantly this is a mistake as you are now exhausted.

20. Look over to see your child standing motionless, slightly bent, with a look of sheer concentration on his face. Retrieve your stinky offspring and relocate to the change room.

21. Wrestle toddler onto change table and change his nappy. Hear sudden screams from the bottom of the pram – realise the dulcet tones of your oldest has woken his slumbering brother.

22. Replace screaming toddler with screaming baby. Finish changing baby and replace in pram. Turn and discover toddler is drenched to the waist after playing with taps. Return toddler to pram. Reassure yourself your hearing will return shortly. Pick baby out of pram to stop him screaming for a drink. Place bags in bottom of pram. Leave bathroom.

23. Decide once back in the store to place baby in ergo for safe transport. Retrieve ergo from bottom of the pram, emptying half a litre of water from your water bottle on to the floor as you do. Strap the ergo on whilst holding baby. (I have no idea how I managed that)

24. Notify staff of water on the floor. Return to cafe and order coffee. Sit and feed baby. Bribe toddler with iPad. Realise as you drink your coffee that this is the second you’ve had since you went out…and you had two at home. Two and two equals four…yes? No? Not enough? You’re not sure anymore.

25. Leave for train. Realise your head is pounding in time with your feet. Search your bag for the painkillers you reminded yourself to bring. Discover that you didn’t put them in. Find full bottle of children’s nurofen. Calculate volume needed for adult dosage of 400mg (there are some advantages to being a nurse). Decide a headache is better than 20mL of sickly sweet medication.

26. Get on train. Encourage toddler to close his eyes and rest. Display no surprise when he refuses. Keep eyes open for remainder of trip.

27. Get off train and head for home via supermarket to pick up a few items. Glance down and realise your toddler’s eye are barely open. Race around and get the bare essentials (lemsip and chocolate), pleading with your child to stay awake for another five minutes.

28. Make it home before he falls asleep (latest trick – getting him to wriggle his toes). Lug all belongings upstairs. Put Play School on for kids.

29. Sit rocking slightly in corner with lemsip, chocolate, a blanket and your glitter bottle until it’s time to make dinner.

30. Plan to take tomorrow off sick.

31. Remember you’re a stay-at-home-mum. Laugh wildly.

Today’s Zero to Hero post was inspired by the prompt “two plus two equals four: yes or no?” I didn’t know what to write about.

Until I counted my coffee intake for the day.