It's finally here. We've been fearing it all winter and it finally arrived. Ada caught a 24 hour flu bug and it hit her yesterday afternoon. Talk about a rough 24 hours for the poor kid, not to mention tough on us (and our plans for the weekend now that we are contagious and awaiting the full-blown cootie invasion ourselves). Gesh.
We've done eight loads of laundry. Changed the sheets on our bed, her bed, her bed again. Covered the couch in blankets, towels, more blankets and more towels. Wiped up the floor in the kitchen, the floor in the hallway, the floor in the bathroom and the floor tiles in her room all due to messes caused by (what I call) the stomach flu. I've changed shirts and pants more times than I can count, both hers and mine, and finally took a nice cleansing shower at 10:30 last night when I was so covered in yuck I couldn't bear it any longer. Luckily, I suggested Rick change out of his work clothes, including his new dress pants, prior to tagging in for some Ada cuddles after work. Shortly after he changed, she begged for "wa-wa" and he succumbed to her whines, being careful not to let her have too much. But after awhile, she had worked him down and "not too much" became "more than enough" when it ended up all over him, his pants, and the couch--which got nailed three or four times even with all of the blankets and towels we could find to cover it and ourselves (Next time I'm getting garbage bags or a plastic drop cloth).
After changing her outfit three times in the first hour, I decided our house heaters, and her temperature, made it okay for her to don a diaper and a blanket or towel as needed. At one point, we had barely pulled the towels out of the dryer in time for her and Rick to dry off after her second shower of the night.
You know it's bad when, after draining the tub and wrapping her in a towel, she curls into the fetal position while still in the tub and hunkers down as if for the rest of the night. That was my sign that she desperately needed some rest and was too tired for me to even bother with a diaper at that point. She was so dehydrated that the diaper wasn't going to do any good and I knew she'd be up in three hours anyway.
I highly recommend you have a "tag team" system in place for sick kid days. I, once again, have no clue how I would have handled it all without Rick. Between running up and down the stairs for laundry, across the street to pick up dinner and, later on, shakes. Lifting Ada up and down out of the crib, off the couch, into the tub, out of the tub, into our bed, out of our bed. And then there is the whole task of waking up in the middle of the night with her. Rick got the first two times as I was a worthless lump in the bed at that point. I got the early morning wake up call at 6 am, which turned into me being the "wa-wa" sucker and having it come back to get me, literally, half-an-hour later in the form of a mess on the kitchen floor.
So if you want to see your heart break, just spend time with, or even look at, a sick child who doesn't understand why her little body is expelling a bunch of crud from her tummy. She just doesn't understand yet. All energy is drained and she can't understand why you won't give her water, even when she asks politely. It's awful.
On the bright side, I learned a few more tricks to add to my Mommy-arsenal.
1. Cover large areas with bath towels - or even beach towels if you get desperate- and then layer them with smaller hand towels, cloth diapers, or burp cloths that are easier to wash and replace.
2. When your child is demanding water, give them a few sips and then rub a piece of ice on their lips. Wrap the ice in a thin washcloth or a handkerchief and let them suck on it.
3. Consider raising the heat or just keep them covered so you don't have to wash their clothes every five seconds. Turns out that sick kids hate being dressed and undressed.
4. Have a lot of blankets and backup bed sheets on hand whenever possible, just in case.
5. When in doubt, just keep feeding movies into the DVD player while snuggling on the couch. Ada highly recommends Finding Nemo, Cars, and Toy Story 1 and 2.
Moral of the story: Sick sucks. Call in backup for help with mess reduction and pull out your patience reserves. You're going to need them... and a nap.