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Lessons from a week of illness

I'll spare you the full history of misery during the last few days in our household. It's been pretty ugly. All 4 of us in various states of sick since Halloween. But my little wild boy is back in preschool and his normal obnoxious self. My princess of a daughter is still laying on the couch all whines and cuddles and not her normal trouble-making self. You knew neither of them was feeling well when they were well-behaved. An afternoon spent together--all 4 of us--together on the sofa was evidence of disease. We napped together and made it through entire movies without complaint or sibling outbreaks of violence. It was bliss. Peaceful. If only we had these quiet, nice children always!

So instead of recounting the tale, I'll simply give you a few helpful hints. Call them suggestions for the newbies behind us about what to do when your young children come down with their first stomach bug.

--First, no matter how much they ask for flavored, spicy crackers...DO NOT give it to them. Follow the progression! Slowly reintroduce bland foods.

--Dairy is not your friend. Only give them foods you're willing to scrub partially digested off your living room rug.

--If you don't have your own laundry facility, backup quarters! Always be prepared for emergency multiple loads of wash/dry.

--Backup blankie...all your kid is going to want when their favorite stuffed dog and blanket are in the wash is their favorite stuffed dog and blanket.

--Stuffed animals fluff up nicely in the dryer after being washed.

--2 year olds are shaky on the concept of hitting the puke bucket, but can do it with help. A 3 year old is pretty good...once they realize what is happening!

--Have some room spray and fabric cleaner on hand...even the stuff they didn't actually throw up on is still going to smell like vomit for days.

--Introduce a food timer. If your kid is eager to snack again and get right back on the food wagon, let them listen for music or an alarm when it is time to have another tummy-friendly food.

--Let them finish puking where they started. It's easier to clean up one mess than a string of messes trying to get to "safer" ground.

--If it's their first time being ill, they're probably scared. Try to explain what's happening in terms they can understand and communicate about.

--Assume your other children will be getting sick soon if one of them already is.

--Just because it's been hours since their last episode...don't assume you're in the clear.

Don't know if anybody else will find these helpful. Just a few things we will be keeping in mind for next time. ...Because you know there WILL be a next time!