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 breastmilk 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 an ice block, kid.
4. What kind of idiot gives a child a red ice block 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 tissue into the rubbish bin I provided instead of leaving them right next to it for me to pick up?
7. If you wash your hands with soap, I will give you a pony.
8. All hail the TV recorder. We have approximately 7,000 hours of annoying kids television stored up. What on earth did our mums do when the daily showing of “Sesame Street” was over?
9. Of course, given the fever and glassy eyes, would this kid really know the difference if I played last night’s episode of “Nashville” instead of another grating installment of “Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom”? I really need to know what’s happening with Juliette and Avery.
10. There is nothing stickier in the entire world than children’s liquid paracetamol. I could use it to hang pictures.
11. I can understand not wanting a thermometer shoved up your bum, but what’s so scary about the ear? Kindly hold still before I sit on you.
12. Are you about to throw up? Wait, just let me get a… Whoa, that was fast. And disgusting.
13. Man, it’s been a long day. Is this clock out of batteries? It says it’s only 11 am. That cannot be right.
14. You’re not eating or playing or even moving. How is it that I’m still doing the dishes and cleaning all day?
15. Oh crap. Was I supposed to call school and tell them you’re sick?
16. I get the strangest satisfaction from extracting stubborn boogers from my children’s noses. Better wash my hands again.
17. If I get sick, who the hell will take care of me? Oh that’s right, no one.
18. Maybe mums could unionize for hazard pay.
19. If you’re well enough to jump on the couch with your underwear on your head, you are well enough to go back to school tomorrow.
20. When your father gets home, I’m going to take a shower for two hours.
21. It’s ironic that when you’re at your most sweet, docile and willing to cuddle, you’re also wildly contagious. This is motherhood.
More mums tell it how it really is:
- VIDEOS: Things Mums Know
- My #MumFail: I’m the Worst Soccer Mum Ever
- Sometimes, I Don’t Like Being a Mum