The stomach bug rages on here at the Hammer household. On one hand I’m glad I made it almost three years before I had to deal with it. On the other hand, ewwww.
Still, I’ve been proud of myself for how well I’ve handled it. I’ve been covered in various bodily fluids, been low on sleep, and my kids are still alive so I’d say I’m winning at this motherhood gig lately. And because I’m so proud of how I’ve dealt with my first toddler stomach flu, I thought I’d pass along a few gems on how to survive if you need some help, too.
1. Place towels everywhere. I mean everywhere. Just cover every spare inch of carpet in towels, old blankets, pictures of ex-boyfriends, anything you don’t mind being desecrated. And not just for inevitable vomit, but also stuff coming out the other end. I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how leak proof a diaper is, some will still manage to find freedom.
2. Get all the diapers & wipes you can buy. Go to Costco and stock up. Buy two of the giant boxes. You will need all of them. I think on Monday I went through 57 diapers in an hour with Levi. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but believe me when I say you’ll save yourself a lot of runs to the store if you just buy as many as you can fit in your apartment. I speak from experience. Also, if you cloth diaper like me, give up for now. You can go back to saving the planet when your kids are healthy again.
3. Only put your kids in zip-up pajamas. When your baby’s diaper blows out or they puke all over themselves, the last thing you want to do is pull the clothing item over their heads. That’s just gross. It’s not right. Don’t do it. If they’re in zip-up pajamas you can simply remove the clothing from your toddler with minimal mess and toss it into the appointed receptacle. (See #7.)
4. Buy the movie Frozen. I bought this last week when Lils was in the throes of the illness and I’m so glad I did. It made her so happy and it possesses some sort of child hypnotism power which keeps a sick kid on the couch way longer than normal. If you’re not a fan of Frozen, buy them some special movie to watch over and over and over again while you’re spot cleaning your carpet.
5. Indulge in all your love for pizza. Do not make yourself cook dinner. You don’t have time for that or the dishes or the mess. Make friends with your local food delivery place and tip them well… mostly as a bribe so they don’t go back to their workplace and tell their fellow employees what a disaster your home is thanks to Stomach Bug 2015.
6. Stock up on energy drinks. You won’t be getting much sleep and coffee can only do so much for you–it’s not magic. So step it up a notch and get yourself some Red Bull or Monster or just start pounding B-12 supplements like they’re Tic Tacs.
7. Designate a receptacle for all defiled clothes.. In our home that receptacle is the washing machine. When an article of clothing becomes tainted, it gets thrown directly into the wash. If you notice the majority of your kids’ wardrobe is in there, it’s time to wash. Hazard warning: You may have the problem I experienced where a load was washing at the same time fluid came seeping out of my daughter onto our couch cushions. If this happens to you, swiftly remove the cushion covers, rinse in the bath tub, and wait to throw it into the washer for round two. In an attempt to keep the couch clean, please refer back to #1.
8. Make peace with the fact that nothing will get done. It’s admirable that you want to keep your home in order even while your little ones are sick. It’s not going to happen, though. Your only job is to take care of your kids. When they’re feeling better you can begin to pick up the pieces of your disheveled home, but for now… just let it go. (see #4.)
9. Take a moment to soak up all of the sick kid cuddles. My daughter’s a bit of a natural cuddler, but my son will generally only cuddle up with me when he’s tired. Having him ask to sit on my lap at one in the afternoon because he’s not feeling well is pretty sweet. It’s a crappy reason, but I’ll take what I can get while I can get it.
10. Do everything you can to avoid getting the bug yourself. Knock on wood, I’ve mastered this one.