Well this whole week has been one giant learning curve for me, as this is the first time I've ever had to care for a child with gastro, so I have decided because I am just such a kind and giving person that I needed to share my new found knowledge with you guys. If there is anyone out there who is yet to have a child (one of my good friends Kelly is due to pop very soon, if she hasn't already so this may be hugely helpful for her) then this may help you guys to avoid making the same mistakes I did this week. So grab a pencil and a notepad, and make sure you haven't eaten anything too heavy before reading this, because it gets pretty yucky.
1. Don't wear your finest clothes for a while
This is a big one. You will get vomited on. Several times if you're lucky. So you're going to need to make sure you leave your dry clean only clothes in the closet until the infection is well and truly out of your house. Stick to dark colours, something that is easy to rip off while you are dealing with a screaming child that is also covered in vomit would also be helpful. Oh and a nice thick jumper probably wouldn't hurt as it can help prevent seepage into undergarments. Just saying.
2. Don't worry about trying to get them to the toilet in time
This one took me two whole days to learn. My first instinct when someone is doing a faithful recreation of that scene from the exorcist is to try to get them to the toilet or at least a basin as fast as possible. The problem with this is small children lack the ability to hold it in until you get them to an appropriate receptacle, meaning that you'll probably end up with a clean toilet, but a nice long trail of vomit (or poop) for you to clean up. After I spent two days mopping every non carpeted floor in the house, and disinfecting every carpet in the house I started just carrying a bucket around with us. It saved a lot of time and cleaning.
3. Learn a few shortcuts to make this time easier
If you've got a kid with long hair, put it in plaits for a few days. Put a towel over their pillow to make cleaning up a bit easier. Put them in clothes that are easy to remove without spreading their entire digestive system over the rest of their body in the process. Place buckets strategically around the high traffic areas to save having to scramble for one at the last minute. It is the little things like this that will make dealing with stomach catastrophes easier to cope with.
4. Take any help that is offered to you
Now I don't know about you, but I feel guilty making other people clean up my daughter's spew. But the time it took to completely deal with a mess when I was alone compared to the time it took when I had helpers was a lot longer, and more stressful. On the plus side I was less embarrassed about mopping our floors and doing laundry in my underpants, until I remembered that it was pitch black outside, and I hadn't shut our laundry blinds, so if my neighbors were the spying kind, they would have seen everything. I'm going to assume that given that I haven't been presented with any bills for psychiatric counseling this week that no one was looking, but I'm still checking the mail every day just to make sure.
5. Don't feel ashamed if the little things get forgotten for a few days
So when you're dealing with sick children, you tend to get a lot of extra work piled on to your already giant to do list. There's the extra laundry, extra cleaning, extra hugs and kisses needed, extra fluids to hand out and lots of time spent worrying. If you can't be bothered cooking a three course meal for every healthy family member during this time, then don't. If you decide to stock your freezer with microwave meals and tell them to figure it out for themselves, more power to you. Now I can say with great happiness that I do not have a huge mess waiting for me once Miss K is completely healthy again, but that is only because I had mum here keeping the place clean, as well as my beautiful big sister who made her kids help tidy up the lounge room every day this week while they were visiting us. My laundry and Miss K's are only completely up to date because Miss K decided to test the stain resistance of every item we wore this week, so I had to keep on top of the washing so we didn't descend into total nudity before the end of the first day. Everything else was at the back of my mind.
6. Try not to spend too much time worrying
This is a hard one. Like I said at the very beginning, gastro can last up to ten days. That could mean ten days of freaking out because your darling little one is ill. It's a horrible bug, and it will knock the stuffing out of them, but they will survive it and so will you. I have almost cried every single day this week just from exhaustion and concern. I hate seeing my baby so sick, and I hate the feeling of being thrown up on. I hate having to refuse to give Miss K milk because you can't give a sick kid dairy (and Miss K loves her dairy products.) and I hate not being able to take her pain away the most. But today she almost had her old sparkle back in her eyes. She was playing almost like normal again, to the point where she was frog hopping around the doctor's surgery while we were waiting for him. It's been four long days since I've seen the old Miss K, but she is slowly (so very, very slowly) coming back to me, and we are almost at the end of this awful infection. And despite the sleepless nights and long days, we have both survived. But I'm sure I'll still be a twitchy nervous mess for another few days. I seriously hate vomit.
Well that's all from the quarantine for now, I'm off to get some well deserved sleep, and I think Miss K and I are going to tempt fate tomorrow morning by giving her a glass of milk. Her first one in four days, but I promised her today if she made it through an entire day without throwing up, we could start eating dairy again, and frankly, I think she's earned it.
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Is it sad that this is our reward?
Stay awesome everyone and I'll be back again soon hopefully.