Sick Day

Sick Day

Despite two sick kids and two more who may be coming down with more of the same, despite having many things on my to do list left undone, despite floors that haven’t been vacuumed in a week, despite all this and more, today I feel very successful. Today I feel like a domestic goddess.

The day started early with Sophie and Ben screaming. I did some consoling of unhappy children long before I got out of bed and started breakfast. But despite all that we somehow managed to get out of the house by nine to run to Target. Though I bought four packaged of diapers for Anthony last week, I bought them a size too small. Little man has grown, as Friday’s checkup revealed. And having two midnight diaper leaks (all over him and on my nightgown too) made me realize it was time to change now. So back we went to return diapers.  But I resisted temptation to get just one or two things more. Diapers were all we got. Then, since the trip to Target had been completed in record time and Anthony seemed content to snooze a while longer, we stopped at the playground on the way home.

Our first trip to the playground this year did not begin on an auspicious note. Sophie took a tumble before we got out of ht parking lot. While I was comforting her (a little tricky since Anthony was in the sling at the time) Ben and Bella ran on ahead to the play scape. Ben began to climb and the older woman who was there with a small girl who I figured was probably her granddaughter took it into her hands to lift Ben down off the ladder he was climbing. He began to scream bloody murder, of course, at having a stranger manhandle him. Heck, he’d probably have screamed if someone he knew had done the same but he was especially offended at this weird lady who had violated his dignity.

I put him back up on the ladder but he continued to scream and cry. It wasn’t made any better by the fact that the little girl kept trying to push past him and the grandmother was hovering nearby. Eventually I led him away to sit with me on the bench and have some Cheerios and water. It took him probably a full twenty minutes to calm down. Longer before he was wiling to leave the bench to go play with his sisters. It took a couple of tries before he was really ready to go. The first couple of times grandma was too close and he came fleeing back to me. Finally they retreated to the other side of the playground and he felt safe venturing forth.

Unfortunately by the time he was ready to be independent again, Sophie had wandered back with a glassy look in her eyes. I asked her why she looked like she wasn’t having any fun. She came and sat with me and asked for some Cheerios and water. Then she started complaining that the sun was in her eyes. I didn’t have a sun hat for her so I tried to just pull up the hood on her jacket. She complained that her head hurt and asked if we could go home. I tried to call Ben and Bella but they were having too much fun.

I set a timer on my phone to appease both factions but before it went off Sophie began to sob so I went to put her into her car seat.before I grabbed Ben. She was sound asleep by the time we got home and the playground is only about a mile from the house. I put her on the couch and she slept there for the next few hours, waking occasionally and trying to get up, only to sink back into oblivion once again.

While Sophie and Anthony slumbered I started a loaf of bread and began folding the mountains of laundry that had been piling up.  At some point we realized Sophie was burning up and dosed her with some tylenol. Poor thing was 101.5 and her cheeks were bright magenta. Then while the bread was in the oven,  Sophie woke herself up vomiting profusely all over the couch and Theresa grabbed her and sprinted to the bathroom. I’m so glad she was home today as I was in the middle of nursing Anthony and so was not able to leap up quite so swiftly.

So more laundry, including Sophie’s favorite quilt. I decided that soup was in order for dinner given the state of affairs: Ben coughing while he napped int he office, Sophie throwing up, my sister still feeling ill and Dom complaining of an upset stomach after eating a deviled egg that had been on the counter for too long. But Dom hadn’t got around to making stock on Saturday because we’d all gone to Home Depot and afterward he mowed the lawn and planted the lilac bush we’d bought and then grilled up some steaks and eggplant for dinner.

I’ve never made stock before; but I’ve watched him. I decided to just do it. Four pounds of chicken bones, two gallons of water, some carrots, celery, onions, peppercorns, bay leaves and bouquet garni—three hours later I had a pot of stock!

I made a chicken soup for dinner. Diced carrots, celery and onions, beet stems and leaves, half a head of kale, some elbow macaroni, a can of cannelloni, and a couple of diced chicken breasts. Everyone agreed it was awesome. 

Five years ago I couldn’t have imagined navigating a day like today. I was intimidated by things like bread baking and stock making. Not to mention taking four children anywhere. As much as I feel like I’m perpetually behind, I know I’m actually managing quite well.

Look who figured out how to lift up his head today!

So my house is still a mess. But my family is clothed and fed and the sick ones are tucked safe in their beds. I managed to hold my tongue and not tell off the well-meaning busybody at the playground. I think I’ll call today a success. And tomorrow I’ll vacuum and clean. If the sick children let me.




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  • A great sister is hard to beat!  I’m blessed with 2 and thankfully we all live within 30 minutes of eachother.  I don’t know what I would do without them and am pretty sure they feel the same way! smile

  • Next month we are moving, yes with all four children, into my parents’ house. And I am so grateful my children have such a close relationship with their grandpa. It is not something you could put a price on. Same with their relationship and your sister. And it is always humbling and Christ-like to accept help. It humbles us and it gives others the chance to live love and kindness.

    If ever you wonder though if you could do it without help, you know how much you love your children and would do anything for them. You do what you need to do and God gives us the grace we need when we need it. Back when I fell in love with Bronte’s Jane Eyre, there was a quote that always stuck with me. Jane’s friend Helen tells her, “It is weak and silly to say you cannot bear what it is your fate to be required to bear.” What God gives us to bear he likewise gives us the grace to bear, so we need never worry or be afraid that we will not be able to do what He asks us to do though it might be easy to worry we wouldn’t be able to when we aren’t, because we are not given the grace for it then.

    I don’t mean to be preachy. I have to remind myself of this all the time. But if there is one thing little ones do well it is help keep things in perspective. You and I both know we cannot be and do everything all the time, especially with patience and grace, but these little cherubs help us be and do what matters most the best we can. And when we have help, that help always factors into the equation.

    You’re family is very blessed to have your sister sharing your lives.

  • Thanks, y’all for your words of encouragement. They really do help.

    Michele, I love the way you put it: “That’s not what family is about.”

    You know, the funny thing is I do think it should be the norm. I’ve written about that before. And I love having my sister living with us. I love having my parents come for a month each after the births of our babies. I really think it is the way things should be. So why do I struggle so much with the nagging guilt that says I should be able to do it all on my own? Where does that come from? Is it all rooted in comparing my life to others’? Comparison is pernicious and I’m not doing it consciously.

  • Melanie, I think most moms feel that way. I think it comes from either a fear that, simply by not doing it all on our own, we are somehow less than the mothers we should be or a fear that others will think so. I think society kind of wires us to think of adults as people who should be completely independent and the idea of accepting help to such a mentality suggests some sort of weakness or failure rather than a humble confidence, Christian trust and deep appreciation of family and friends.

  • If you think about it, what you are doing was once the norm – living with, or very close to, extended family and quite naturally sharing the care of children. Many children in the past grew up with loving Aunties on hand, and I’m sure in many parts of the world still do. Isn’t it sad that we have so largely lost that in our Western society. I wonder how much it is a factor in declining birth rates?

  • I agree Kathryn!  Melanie you are very fortunate but I do think it’s really something that is supposed to be the “norm”.  I have often longed for that help over the years and am grateful to now have older children who automatically jump in and assist.  There have been times when I felt guilty about it but then realized I was buying into the world’s idea that having had all these children I had to do it all, all by myself.  That’s not what family is about, although it’s a mindset that’s quite prevalent.

  • I’m sure your guilty feelings are there because you’re such a great mom and you WANT to do it all yourself.  But, there are times when you can’t and luckily you have the help you need right under your own roof.  I have lots of family members nearby but we all have our own kids and my parents have 19 grandkids, so we don’t really get any help from anyone else.  However, my husband is such a blessing to me and my kid’s go to a Catholic school which is the biggest “helper” of all.  I feel guilty that other moms can stay home and homeschool, because I WANT to give my kids the best.  But for us, we are giving them the best when we can pay the bills and provide their meals.  And that wouldn’t happen unless I was working.  So we all have our mom-guilt issues, but we need to be thankful for whatever situation we are in and realize that God does and IS providing exactly what we need.  Great post!