Staying Sane When Dealing with Sick Kids

It’s our Winter School holidays  – ‘flu and lurgy season.

I’ve had the Little Man down with ‘flu this last week.  The whole lapsing in and out of sleep due to fevers, a couple of delightfully stinky throw-ups and a cough to make a smoker jealous.

And now the Beautiful Girl is getting sick as well.  A sore throat, head filled with snot and sore joints (I don’t like the sore joints, reminiscent of Patrick – piss off, Patrick.)

So, how do you stay sane when you have sick kids?

1.  Abandon all other plans.  The house, the small biz and the paid job can wait.  Whatever it is will be there when the kids are well (or in bed, if you have the energy).  Instead of stressing about your floors, your draft or getting your handmade item listed, let it go. It can wait.  Really, it can.

2. Prepare yourself mentally for sleepless nights.  Depending on the illness (we’ve been dealing with coughing episodes that last about 20-30 minutes and involve a lung), you’re going to be in for long and sleep-deprived nights.  If you can prepare yourself mentally for this fact, it’s going to help.  What else can you do?  When your small spawn is sprawled out unconscious on the couch, go join them.  Catch sleep whenever and wherever you can.  It’s going to help (I said that before, didn’t I!?)

{PS. If you have more than 2 kids, or little ones that need regularly scheduled monitoring, this might be difficult.  I sympathize.}

3. Cuddle.  Yes, I know that they are spitting their germs all over you when they hack, but you and the spawn are going to feel better mentally and emotionally for the cuddles.  While you sit and wait for the fever to break (we’re a fever-has-a-purpose family), you cuddle.  Not only are you monitoring the fever, but you are releasing oxytocin – the cuddle hormone – and it’s supposed to put you in a peaceful and happy state of mind.  Sick kids… Peaceful.  Not sure it will work and the cuddle is not going to break the fever, but you’re both going to feel better for the loving.

4. Look after yourself.  You’re sleep deprived, covered in spit and vomit and feeling like this week will never end.  Whatever the lurgy is throwing at you though, MAKE SURE YOU LOOK AFTER YOURSELF (yes, I know I yelled).  Plenty of fluids (every time you tempt your fever-ridden spawn with liquid, have a glass yourself); chicken broth (I’ve added my awesome slow-cooked chicken carcass broth recipe – sounds gross, I know – at the end of the post); fresh air (yes, I know it’s cold out, go and get a lung-full of it) and most importantly, don’t beat yourself up about your kid being sick.  Kids get sick.  You could very well too.

5. Remember this to shall pass.  Make this your mantra.  In a week or two, three tops, the kids will be back on top of their game and driving you to distraction all over again.  And you’ll have forgotten about the lurgy-filled previous weeks.

Any other tips to add for sick-kid sanity?

{Honestly, this chicken broth is great.  It’s a favourite winter warmer of ours, regardless of our health status.  Enjoy!}

Chicken Carcass Broth

1 large chicken carcass  (we only use free-range chickens – good marrow –  and use the carcass after a roast chicken, extra flavour)

2 medium onions, coarsely chopped (if I don’t have onions in the house, I’ll substitute with garlic)

3 medium carrots, coarsely chopped

3 medium stalks of celery with leaves, coarsely chopped

8 cups chicken stock

2 teaspoons dried thyme (I tend to halve the herbs as they can be a little overpowering)

1 teaspoon dried sage leaves

1 bay leaf

4 whole black peppercorns

salt (I usually leave the salt out, as the stock I use is fairly salty already)

Put all the ingredients (except the salt) in to the insert of your slow cooker.  Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or on low for 8-10 hours.

Season with salt.  Strain the broth through a colander to remove the large solids, the strain again through a fine mesh sieve. (I don’t strain, at all.  I’ll go through the broth and pick out the bones, gristle and icky-looking bits, but we like it veg and all)

Don’t have a slow cooker?  Works just as well on a low heat on the stove top, but be sure and keep an eye on it!


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