Midnight Triage Parenting

It was 12:58am when I heard the knock on my bedroom door. I can tell you this with certainty, because I had to hit the “home” button on my phone so I could have a modicum of light as I navigated the dog-filled carpet from my bed to the door. (Only one dog was nearly stepped on.) It was a rushed walk, as my 10-year-old had informed me through the closed-door that his stomach hurt and he thought he was going to throw up. His younger brother had a bout of tummy unease over the weekend, so this was a legit concern.

As I opened my bedroom door, I found my middle child laying in the fetal position, rocking on the floor. “My stomach hurts. My stomach hurts!” He was wailing. I got him up and told him to head to the bathroom. I feared I knew the next act in this nausea play.

And that’s when I noticed my oldest child’s bedroom door was also open. She looked at me from her bed and cried, “Mom, I don’t feel good. I have ninety-six nine.”

What? My midnight brain has no idea what this means. I have to ask her to explain.

“Ninety six nine!” she sobbed, “on the thermometer! I have a fever!”

Oh. 96.9. Okay, brain, let’s do math in the middle of the night, shall we?(I feel like midnight mental math should be deserving of a cookie or at least a sticker or something.) The average body temperature of a human is 98.6, meaning she does not have a fever.

Here comes the midnight triage parenting. I imagine this scenario is a lot like those scenes in the old TV show, MASH. (Awesome show, by the way, I totally loved it. And, a former boss once referred to me as “Radar,” which I definitely took as a compliment.) In MASH, when a chopper would arrive full of injured soldiers, the doctors and nurses had to decide – who needs the most help at that very moment?

So, there I stood at – let’s go with 1:00 am, since it probably took about two minutes to climb over the dogs, open the door, make out what my child was moaning on the floor and head down the hall. It’s 1:00am and I have not one but two kids now telling me “I don’t feel good!” You know what case made it to the top? The potential vomiter. My 10-year-old son was told to head to the bathroom, while my 14-year-old daughter was told to go to bed. I told her (I hope compassionately) that she did not have a fever and that sleep was her best option. And yes I meant it. And yes, she had to go to bed.

Then, I turned my attention to the 10-year-old, got him calmed down, and what felt like nine years later, back in bed. At that point, I was wide awake. Just me and my mom guilt.

I should have tried to treat my daughter, too.

I should have been nicer. What did I say?

I should have patted her head and told her she’d feel better soon.

I should have offered her a cool rag for her head.

So, instead of slipping back to sleep, I laid there thinking of all the shoulda, coulda, wouldas. And then… I tried to shift my thinking to the fact that I needed to count my blessings. My youngest was feeling better, my middle one was falling asleep and my oldest appeared to already be asleep. And, we can check “first back to school illness” off our list.

When it’s midnight and you’ve just woken up by a sick child, you are forced to make decisions. Those decisions grow exponentially with the number of kids that are awake and needing your attention. And boy can those midnight decisions be difficult!

What about you? What do you do during Midnight Triage Parenting? How do you handle it when more than one is sick?




Nurturing Our Little Ones

I may have mentioned my sons were both sick the last couple of weeks – taking turns, if you will – with a nasty fever/tummy bug. On the third week, I thought we’d made it through. I was wrong.

On Wednesday morning, I woke up and told my husband I felt like I had a hangover. By midday, I was achy all over – my neck hurt, my eyes, I felt exhausted and my stomach hurt. It was, essentially, a recap of what my little boys had experienced over the last couple of weeks. (They both weren’t sick that entire time. One got sick for a week and the next took his turn the following week.)

By the time I got off work (after taking my lunch break, sleeping in my car) I was ready to crawl under a rock. My husband had to work late – so I knew what was ahead of me: feed children, check homework, play with children, put children to bed. Normally, this is not that big of a deal. But, when you feel like crud – the task is equivalent to climbing Kilimanjaro.

I picked up a movie for the kids. TV time hardly ever happens at our house – so this was a big deal. Then, I begged my daughter to please, oh please, make herself and her brothers some cereal. She flipped on her “mama mode” switch and was in full swing before I knew it. She made me a bowl of chicken noodle soup while she poured her brothers Cheerios.

While the kids ate cereal and watched their movie, I lay on the couch, shivering, under two blankets. I had a fever. I hurt – everywhere. My eyes stung. My stomach felt like someone was occasionally stabbing it.

The next day, I felt about 50% better and today I’m nearly back to my normal self. Unfortunately, my husband now has it. My daughter seems to be the only one who escaped getting sick. She was so sweet, caring for me. She brought me a cool cloth for my head and kept checking on me. I bought her a little thank you gift for being such a sweetheart.

My friend was sick with the same thing and she says it was likely Norovirus, considering how rampant it’s been in the schools and community.

Have you guys been dealing with this nasty little bug? And/or have any of you experienced the tables turning and your child caring for you?

Another Visit to Vomit Town

As I write this, my poor little seven year old boy lies next to me on the couch. (Crap. Is it lays, lies, lay? Man, I know we went over this in high school English. Ugh.) He is moaning in his sleep, flush faced and trying desperately to sleep off a 102.6 fever. Poor thing. At least he finally ate something. And kept it down.

Last night, he refused to eat dinner. This morning, he refused breakfast. While the rest of us ate our bowls of oatmeal, he threw up in the kitchen trash can. I could hear my daughter dry heaving a room away. Nothing like that lovely sound. But, here’s the thing – I think I’ve lost my other-people-vomiting gag reflex. For two weeks straight now, I’ve cleaned up some sort of mess off the couch or out of the carpet. And yet, no gagging. Odd. I even watched the dog barf the other day. Nothing. (By the way – if you pour white vinegar over the stain, sprinkle it with baking soda and leave it a few days to dry, the stain will vacuum right up.)

This lack of other-people-vomiting gag reflex leads me to believe I am either one of two things: A really bizarre Superhero or a mother. Yep. Well, you caught me. I’m not wearing a cape. In fact, I’m wearing an oversized sweater that my son said looked like a weird dress. That must make me a mom. The cleaner upper, make-me-better, hold my hand, put a cool rag on my head, bring me water mom.

After two weeks in Vomit Town, I may be no super hero, but I’m pretty sure I might soon be named mayor.

Here’s hoping you steer clear of this stomach bug. Believe me, you don’t want to run against me for this job.

Brightly Speckled Carpets

We just moved into our new house a couple of weeks ago. Our new house with light cream-colored carpet. It was bound to happen. And so it did.

My three-year old son was sent home sick yesterday with a fever. 102.6. He complained of a stomach ache. You’re thinking about my cream-colored carpet, aren’t you? Nope – wait for it. Not yet. I took him home and after some medicine, he was feeling a tad better. He went to sleep and woke up several times throughout the night not feeling well. You’re thinking about my new carpet again, aren’t you? Patience, my friend, patience.

After several hours spent tossing and turning, the alarm clock finally went off, although we were already awake. He’d woken up a few minutes before that, crying. This time he was saying his neck hurt really bad. Now, I don’t want to be “that” mom but I have been known to frequent WebMD a little too much. Darn symptom checker is addictive. Anyway, I have gotten away from all that and now play it case by case, child by child. However, I do know that neck pain and a fever are not a good combo, so when I called the doctor and they said they needed me to bring him in right away, just in case he had meningitis, I didn’t hesitate to make an appointment.

As we prepared to get out the door to his doctor appointment, my little three-year old bundle of unhappiness sat on the couch moaning. Then, it happened. The couch got it. The carpet got it. Did I mention the only thing he’d eaten in the last 12 hours was bright-colored gummy treats? My cream carpet now looks like an Easter egg exploded on it.

Oh, and I made the rookie mistake of pulling the T-shirt he was wearing over his head. It. Was. Everywhere.

After throwing up, his fever came down and now he says he’s feeling much better, although he’s been sleeping for the last two hours. Poor little monkey.

I’ll probably regret this, but what’s the nastiest thing that’s happened to your carpet?

Rent a Mom?

I’m working from home today. My daughter’s sick. I’m sick. She’s 103.3. I’m 101.3.

You may recall, my sons were just sick a few weeks ago. I missed a lot of work staying home with them while my six-year-old had pneumonia and my two-year-old had an ear infection. Now, it’s my daughter with bronchitis. She can’t go to school, which means I’m home for the day.

Since I knew this ahead of time, I asked my boss about it yesterday. I’ve run out of leave/sick time with my kids being sick SO often , so, beyond becoming an indentured servant of my employer, what could I do?

They graciously agreed to let me work from home, but also gave me a homework assignment: find a trusted person/service who can stay home with my sick kids when I can’t. My boss (also a single mom of three) says she used to use a “Rent a Mom,” for a lack of a better word.

Surely none of my friends who would be home would want my sick kids around their healthy kids. So… do any of you know of such a service? What do you do when you don’t have any more leave/sick time available, but have to take a day off because you or your child is sick? (I’m pretty sure my coworkers aren’t too appreciative that I was coughing/sweating all over everything yesterday in the office.)

Not Quite Breakfast in Bed…

This morning definitely had a different kind of start to it, compared to yesterday’s super sweet breakfast in bed. This morning, my six-year-old woke up, moaning with the fever again. It was up to 103.8 last night. While taking his temperature this morning, it was still counting at 103.5, when he started coughing. Then, he threw up. Poor guy.

I scheduled a doctor’s visit first thing. Much like taking your car to the mechanic, and it stops making the noise, I took him in and he said he felt, “three acres better!” Which, is great, of course, that he’s feeling better. The only problem is, now he doesn’t. The fever is back. So is the moaning. Except now, he won’t take the ibuprofen.

The doctor said to give it a few more days on the antibiotic, to make sure his ear infection clears up. He’s also gained another miserable symptom: mouth blisters. As if he didn’t want to eat already, he certainly doesn’t want to now. Heads up parents, the doctor said the mouth blisters are going around. No fun.

Hope your kids are staying healthy!

Oh- and please look again- that’s a thermometer, NOT a pregnancy test. A few friends were wondering…

Week Two of Sick Kids

I was awake at 3:30 this morning, trying to calm my six-year-old down. He had a fever. Again. He’d already been to the doctor. Twice. He was on his third day of antibiotics and still nothing. He’d had Tyenol and a bath. I laid down with him and we talked. I put a cool rag on his head. He whimpered. I felt awful. That way all parents do when your child is sick and there’s nothing you can do for them. Finally, after an hour, he was calm and we both went to bed.

This morning, I woke to the sound of the toaster. A few minutes later, my six-year-old emerged in my room, with a plate and a travel mug full of coffee. He’d made me breakfast in bed.

As you can see, breakfast consisted of a piece of toast, cheese crackers, a packet of fruit snacks and a fruit roll up. Oh, and coffee. It has got to be the sweetest start to a Monday – EVER!

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