As a parent of three or more, this time of year, (let’s be frank) can suck. Kids are grumpy because there is half the amount of sunshine, school is in full swing so they are tired and hate do homework when it’s so dark outside and all they want to do is go to bed. Yet when they go to bed, they can’t sleep because it is really too early for them to be there.
But the worst part is cold/flu season. We’ve all been there. The never-ending runny noses. Trying to ninja move our way out of a kid’s line of fire as they sneeze four times in a row. The early morning coughing session on our pillows as they snuggle in our way more comfortable beds and you just can’t say no. Not to mention the increased budget line that includes things like, vitamins, juice, soup (or ingredients for soup depending on the day), Vick’s Vap-o-Rub, kleenex and books or magazines on how to beat cold/flu season this year. Don’t forget to account the gas required for the late night drives to the nearest drug store to buy yet another humidifier because the last one you bought went kaput, or was too noisy for the kids to sleep.
Our parenting award for all of the above? Getting the damn virus ourselves and being so tired we never know if we have a superbug that never goes away or if we just keep getting the newest virus that walks through the door. It doesn’t matter in any case, because we’re parents of three or more kids and there is no time for us to be sick. Is it with any wonder I pitched a few day getaway down south to Mr. L a couple of weeks ago so I could just rest and try to clear up my own six-week cough?
In any case, we all hate it when our kids become ill and are on constant alert wondering if it is viral, has it turned into an infection? Is that a dry, hacking cough or phlegm-filled one? Do we need a refill on puffers or saline drops? But the worst is the little “man cold.”
Jacob, an impish good-time kid, turns into a monster when a virus enters his body. It seems to magnify his dissatisfaction with the world and belief that mommy is here to serve him. I can usually see it coming a couple of days ahead. He turns surly but wants attention. His energy levels swivel between extreme highs and lows. Then the cough hits along with the runny, stuffy bulbous nose and puffy eyes. The next day comes the fever. Not a high one, but enough to make him uncomfortable.
Having two girls to compare the little “man cold” to they are two completely different situations. When the girls are ill they don’t whine and complain. They are content to lay quietly reading or watching TV shows and if I say enough, they are okay with it. They go and rest as needed and eat the soup I put before them. Jacob, screams “NO!” to any suggestion to go and lay down. Unless the television is on, and mommy is at his beck and call, everything is a battle. Lunch today was a prime example.
“Okay Jacob. iPad off. Lunch time and then nap time.”
“Yes. I’m counting to three.”
As he gobbles his apples, crackers and cheese, (this kid’s appetite is not affected) I chatter on about how great the soup is going to be and make him feel much better.
“No it won’t. I hate soup.”
“I don’t think so. Remember at preschool last year? You had soup at least once a week and always ate it. You want to get better right? Chicken noodle soup is great to get rid of colds.”
“No it’s not. I don’t like it.”
I make a mental note to pull out Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess sometime soon. “Just try it.”
I plunk a steaming bowl in front of him and take some soup as well reminding myself that I am lucky he wants to eat at all. “See. Mommy has a cold too. I’m having soup. Mmmmm…”
His hazel eyes narrow. “Soup is not good for colds.”
“Yes it is.”
“I hate it!”
Trying to be understanding that my sweet guy has been overtaken by the “man cold” syndrome, I try another tactic. “Do you know you can eat soup in a funny way?”
“Watch this.” I proceed to slurp my soup in the most elegant way possible wiping my chin with a paper towel hoping it wasn’t the one he just blew his nose with.
“See. You try it.” There is no response. I can see this is going to take a bit more effort.
“Mmm…I’m going to slurp my soup faster than you.”
“No way. I’m going to.”
Eureka! Jacob goes to town slurping up his soup. His gloomy face brightens with a smile allowing the affects of the little “man cold” to release him for the moment. We slurp happily together until I say.
“So, you kind of like it?”
“Yeah, it’s delicious. I love chicken noodle soup.”
Unable to help myself I say, “Really? Maybe sometimes you should listen to Mommy.” There is no response but it doesn’t matter because after a good bowl of soup and a story, he goes for a nap without complaint and all it took was for me to slurp my soup to beat the little “man cold” syndrome.