Parenting lesson #16: You’re not allowed to be sick.


The toilet Zach stopped up for the umpteenth time.

The toilet Zach stopped up for the umpteenth time.

“Mommy, you have to come see the toilet.  The water is way, WAY high!”  That was interruption #3 yesterday during my perfectly orchestrated, one-hour sick nap.

“Did you poop?” I groaned.  “Yes.”  “Did you wipe yourself?” I followed with fearfully, knowing the answer before he spoke because he likes to use half a roll.  (Why do they do that?!?!)  “Ye-esssss.”  “Okay, Zach, don’t touch the toilet.  Don’t flush the toilet.  Leave it alone.  I will get it later.”

You see, I woke up with a fever yesterday morning and peeled myself out of bed, taking all of my energy to pour some bowls of cereal and put a movie on for the older two right when Ethan was going down for a nap. The plan was flawless; real life with three kids is anything but.  Interruption #1 was Greg coming into the room after his nice, leisurely shower to get dressed.  Interruption #2 was the dog barking outside to come in, me hollering for Eliza to let her in, and then the alarm going off because Greg set it so the kids wouldn’t run away while I snoozed.  As if.

As if you can really sleep with three kids in the house.  It’s hard enough to fall asleep when you have one child, wondering if yours is the first super human 2-month-old who can climb out of his crib.  Once you add the second, you know the infant can’t get out of his crib, but the other child could burn down the house.  By the third child, you’re willing to assume your kids will sit nicely in front of the TV while the baby naps because you’ve gotten way more chill and you also have an eldest who will indubitably tell you if anything at all goes wrong.  But you still don’t sleep.

Growing up, I thought my mom never got sick.  I’ve long since realized it’s not that she didn’t get sick, it’s that she wasn’t allowed to be sick.  When moms are sick, they still have take care of everyone.  Even if we need to spend all day in bed to get better, it’s not happening unless someone else takes care of the kids.

I think my older two watched about five hours of television yesterday while I sprawled.  I managed to toss them some crackers and bananas for lunch, and I’m so thankful they actually BOTH napped while I lay in my bed with Ethan, nursing him a lot for fear the illness would hurt my milk supply.  Greg brought some take-out soup home for me for dinner, kissed my forehead and went, “Whoa.”  Yes.  Thank you.  Validation. I was burning up.  I finally took some Tylenol.  I felt much better.  And somewhere in the middle of the afternoon, I did manage to plunge the toilet.  I’m pretty sure that’s the only thing that got done yesterday.

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