I'm following up from Cara's post yesterday on H1N1. She and I differ greatly on vaccines so we're not going to discuss the pros and cons of it. And since we're not medical doctors (nor do we play ones on TV--read our bios if you want to find out what we pretend to be in the afterhours), we're just going to give you some food for thought.....this is not advice (Read: AAP don't come get me!)
I don't care how you slice and dice it. If you're reading this blog, chances are you have more than one young kid. Chances are you are pregnant, too. Chances are your kids are under the age of 3. Flu shot or no flu shot, chances are sickness in some form or fashion will wiggle its evil head into your home. Your job is to be prepared. We're preparing you now. Your kids will get sick. Kids stick fingers up their nose, rub dirty counters, lick stair railings and suck their thumbs, sometimes in that order, so just accept it.
So now that you know that someone will have croup, flu, ear infection, stomach virus, strep throat, upper respiratory infection (which means no drugs), or any other combination of fun things, we're going to set you up with a few fun suggestions.
Your main goal should be to keep YOU well. Because when Mama is sick, the whole house falls apart. It's like the whole oxygen mask on the airplane theory. Put your mask on first then help those around you. This may seem like an impossible feat, but put some extra energy into hand washing your own hands. Take your vitamin C and some extra garlic pills. (Garlic has antiviral properties that actually can help fight flu and viruses. Score!) Most importantly, sleep. When you put the kids to bed, you head to bed at a decent hour.
Stock up on on over-the-counter meds. Nothing is worse than having a kid with a 102-fever at 2 a.m. and finding no Motrin in the house. Take stock on what you have, what's expired and what you need. This includes Pedialyte.
Also, don't forget to stock up on yummies for you and the kids. Online grocery services like Peapod are running free delivery for 60 days with your first order. So now you don't even have to leave you house with your kids, which makes it easier to relax and get well--any and all of you. Amazing what a few lollipops and popsicles will do to cheer everyone's spirits.
Get your bag of tricks ready. This means have a few "rainy day" activities for sick days--movies, cheap toys, new books, coloring books, fresh PlayDoh or pull some out of the mix now to reintroduce later. One of the occupational hazards with Baby Bunching and illness is that almost never are both kids sick together, but they almost will always be back-to-back. So it's possible (and probable) that as one gets over the sick, the next one gets it. Managing a well kid with a sick one can be difficult and it's hard to ask friends to take in the well one when chances are they are germ infested as well. Get creative and just realize this too shall pass.
A walk can do wonders. A chance of scenery or fresh air really can lighten the mood. If your kids don't have fever, bundle them up and take them for a walk in the stroller. It's a great way for exercise for you, fresh air for them and the well one (especially if he's the walker) can run off some steam.
Most importantly, stay calm. Sick sucks so use it as an excuse to say no to obligations, cuddle up with the kids, watch family movies, drink tea and relax.