It’s February in the North East, which means my family and I have been recycling the same cold for the past three months. As soon as one of us stops sneezing, the next person starts having an itchy throat. Once that clears up, someone else grabs the baton, filling the house with their raucous coughing.
How are my kids such germ magnets? Do they have welcome signs on them, alerting every passing virus that they would be a great host? My 18-month-old doesn’t go to daycare because I’m a stay at home mom, but he compensates by licking everything he can at Target, Trader’s Joe’s or wherever I drag him on that day’s exciting outing. Bonus points if he remembers to put his fingers directly into his mouth after doing some hilarious thing like lying on floor by the register.
Meanwhile, I’m pretty sure half of my 5-year-old’s school curriculum is dedicated to being sneezed on and coughed at. And of course, even though he’s not a toddler anymore, there’s the licking. Why, God? Why so much licking? Pencils, desks, light switches – you name it, my sons will lick it. Why just experience the world with your sense of sight, touch, and feel, when you can experience it taste-wise as well? Mmmmm delicious germs.
So basically, we’re all sick all the time and that’s just how it is. But recently, my youngest son had been acting crankier than normal. He’s generally a pretty happy kid; even if he’s snotty, he’s usually clapping or dancing and smiling at anyone or anything. The other moms at our baby music class jokingly call him “The Mayor” since he usually makes the rounds, peering at the other babies and flirting with the moms and nannies.
Not this week. Nothing could cheer up my little guy. He cried for no reason, was extra tired and refused to eat. The days were grueling … as any parent of a sick toddler knows all too well.
Here’s a look at a sick day with my 18-month-old, by the numbers:
10: Times I looked at the clock thinking it had to be later than *that*
9: Times I read him the same book over and over (and over) again.
8: Times he threw up
7: Articles of clothing we had to change
6: Times I wondered why I didn’t live closer to my mom
5: Bites of sweet potato (his favorite food) that he spit out before I realized that no, he wasn’t going to eat anything
4: Times he threw his water across the room before the lid popped off and it exploded, splashing the walls and soaking the cat food
3: Loads of laundry (so far)
2: Ears with infections
1: Sleepy, snuggly, cranky, crying baby who will hopefully feel better after his meds kick in