Ay me. I’ve been poorly. What they call "poorly sick". I lost about ten pounds in four miserable days. Fortunately only one of the children followed suit, and he had bounced back after twenty-four hours. Fingers crossed that represents an end to it.
When you’re poorly before children, you can crawl back into bed, take any medicine you fancy, and wait. Not so for me nowadays, alas.
On day one, as I fell into incapacity, they wanted feeding. Curry, specifically, as promised. No. Just no. In the end, after a spectacular disaster in the kitchen, there was an emergency dash to the chip shop. I had to hide from the grease because it was overwhelming.
You know, they want feeding every single day? Multiple times a day too, with variety, and balanced nutrients. I mean, that’s enough of a challenge when you’re fully fit and hungry yourself.
And they want taking to school, and stories reading, and clothes washing, and oh good grief they never, ever, ever stop talking.
Mummy, may I…?
Mummy, will you…?
Look at this!
I want a …
But this isn’t a post just complaining. I’m here to talk about how to survive a plague day/week.
First of all, I’m afraid you have to clean things promptly. It’s misery, but puking into a clean loo is marginally nicer than … well, a less clean loo. If you have a healthy adult around, it is absolutely their job.
Wash everyone’s hands like they’ve been playing with bin juice. Keep hand cream handy or you’ll desiccate like coconut.
I recommend antibacterial surface wipes for door handles, taps, etc. I’m not a brilliant housekeeper at the best of times, but containing the contagion is high on my list of priorities.
Secondly, drop your culinary standards. I managed an online grocery shop that was about 90% Favourites, and pointed the children towards the fridge. So what if they have beans on toast for tea a few times. Fish fingers never killed anyone either. Stock the fruit bowl if you’re concerned about nutrition.
Same for you – if you can stomach something, try it. Half a chocolate digestive for breakfast? Better than nothing. Plain pasta with nothing on? Great. Who cares if your meals don’t have a name?
The BRAT diet is often recommended at times like these: Bananas, Rice, Apple juice, Toast. Yes, yes, yes.
And finally, the tv is your friend. Who cares if it’s been on for three days straight? The children aren’t asking for things you’re incapable of providing, like conversation or intelligence.
I’m conscious, after writing "finally" there, that there’s another coping mechanism I’ve left unmentioned.
If help is offered – or has ever been offered in a general sense – then for goodness’ sake take it. Seize it. Someone else doing the school run? Take it. A few hours of child-wrangling so you can go back to bed? TAKE IT. Don’t get to the stage of sobbing down the phone before you say "Actually, yes, how about…"
They say it takes a village to raise a child: nowadays the village may not be a literal geographical place, but the support you can get can make all the difference. Let’s talk about villages soon.