With cold and flu season upon us, our kids will surely fall prey to all the various germs floating around our communities. ‘Tis the season for illnesses that often bring with them a ton of snot and puke and whining and crying, and it gets messy up in our homes.
One night I heard my daughter go into a full-blown coughing attack and as it turned into gagging violent outbursts, vomiting ensued. I ran into her room and saw her sitting on the floor, eyes wet, face red, holding some random paper bag with balloons on it.
“I threw up in this mom.”
And she handed it to me.
Parents must immerse themselves in a whole bunch of gross things while we care for our sick kids. I’ve learned from years of experience that these three things are on the top of the list:
They puke on you or in the worst place EVER.
I remember those early days when my precious babes had that look of sheer panic on their face, not understanding what was bubbling up inside of them. Before I could grab a bowl or get a towel, their sweet little stomachs purged all over me.
As our kids get older, instead of reaching for us, they simply puke in the worst. possible. place. ever.
The same kid who vomited in the birthday paper bag was having a similar coughing fit in the kitchen as she was holding a large plate with crumbs left from her meal. Instead of puking on the plate, she literally moved her plate to the side and threw up all over the floor.
“Help me understand this.” I groaned as I tiptoed around the splattered vomit to grab Lysol wipes and paper towels. “Why on earth wouldn’t you puke on the PLATE?”
Many kids erupt in the car, on the couch, in their bed, or all over that delicious meal you just made- you name it. There’s about a 2% chance our kids actually make it to an appropriate vomit receptacle. That leaves the other 98% on less ideal things, and well, it’s messy- and gross. And the wretched smell lingers for a long, long time.
They sneeze out snot and freeze, or worse- smear it everywhere.
Little ones will sneeze explosive snot all over themselves, then freeze as they look at you with terror and confusion. They don’t understand what slimy gunk just spewed out of them to cover their entire body and they want YOU to make it all go away.
Some kids might go into reflexive survival mode and begin smearing it everywhere. By the time you can help, you have a natural disaster on your hands.
We know the only success in cleaning this massive snot spill will be grabbing the wet wipes. But if they aren’t within reach by the time we get to them, much of the snot is dried up or deeply embedded in every surface that was hit. This is when it’s best to just throw your kid in the shower, bath, or outdoor pool if you have one. And throw everything that was sprayed in the wash.
They cough on everything, everywhere.
Obviously, we can’t teach babies to cover their mouths when they cough, but surely by the time kids understand their native language, they can learn this important skill, right?
Well, yes and no.
Covering their cough is not the first thing they think to do, because they are kids and don’t really care. They also don’t have a quick reflexive response or the intense infection-fighting need we parents have- so before you can remind your kid to cover his cough, he has sprayed all surrounding surfaces with a burst of wet germs or worse: Coughed. In. Your. Face.
Kids are taught to cough into the inner elbow of their bent arm. When my son actually remembers to do this, I would guess that the flesh of his little arm catches .0005% of the germs that spray forth. There’s also about a six-inch space between his mouth and the corner of his inner elbow. I’m not quite sure this is the most effective coverage.
How about our kids pull their shirts over their mouths when they need to cough?
Just my two cents.
Cold and flu season is the grossest season of all. Our kids have a unique way of showing us just how gross it is, don’t they?
Carry on soldiers.
Grab your tissue boxes, bowls, wet wipes, towels, washcloths, allthemeds, extra clothes, face masks, Hazmat suits, and a case of Lysol.
And know you’re not alone in this messy and incredibly gross business of having sick kids.
*PS: I did not include Diarrhea in this post because I can’t even… That deserves it’s own “Grossest Thing Ever” post.