Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Different Belly Button

We are entering into that time of year.  No ... not autumn leaves and crock-pot dinners.  Not crisp mornings and extra blankets on the bed.  Not hot tea and slippers.  No ... we are entering the time of year of sniffles, sneezes and stuffed noses.  Sigh....

In the past week, I have had each of my children begin the runny nose sniffing (Get a tissue, please!), the arm sleeve rub (Get a tissue, please!) and the dreaded finger wipe (Get. A. Tissue.  PLEASE!)  Also over the past several weeks I have put up with an annoying cough, sometimes just a niggling tickle in my throat; sometimes an all-out coughing spree.  Ugh.  I'm ready for my lungs to stop seizing up whenever I laugh or breathe.  But those actually, even as bad as they all sound, aren't the worst of it.  The worst are the mystery maladies.

Tell me if this is familiar.  Your kiddos are tucked in bed and then there is a small voice from the top of the stairs, "Mommy ... I don't feel very good."

"What's the matter, honey?"

"I don't know ... my throat hurts."

Then the guessing begins.  Is it just because she's tired?  Is it because she's thirsty?  Is it because she didn't get dessert?  Is it because she has strep?  Is it because her brother mentioned his throat hurt and he got some medicine? Hmmmm...

Or how about this one ...

It's T minus 10 minutes until you are headed out the door to school and your kid says, "I don't feel very good."

"What's the matter?

"Uhmm ... my head hurts and my tummy doesn't feel good."

Well ... Is there something going around school?  Is it because we were up late last night giggling?  Is it because you have been using that high-pitched screechy voice since you got up? Is it because you had the breakfast of champions (i.e. frosted mini-wheats)?  Is it strep?  Should you stay home?  Should I send you with a note?  Should I dose you up with drugs before sending you off?  Groaaannnn.....

Okay ... here's one more.  Your little, non-talking person, who never has trouble going to bed and always sleeps until morning, starts fussing about 11:00 pm.  Just a little groany moan and some restless flopping in his bed.  Then a little coughing starts up. This could be a long night.

Is he just having a dream?  Is he going to wake up?  Should I try to take his temperature?  If he does wake up, should I give him some medicine?  Was he pulling on his ears earlier?  Is this going to mean the start of something more?  Am I going to have to cancel our plans tomorrow?

Anybody else had these mind-numbing discussions with themselves over the varying ailments of their kids?  Or is this just me? :)  I don't know about you, but I would take a full-blown cold any day over the an evening or morning of wondering if we were getting sick ... and if the symptoms persist, if I should do something about it.  I hate second-guessing myself when it comes to my kids' illnesses.  I worry about sicknesses getting worse, about sharing the junk with others and about spreading it around (and around) the family.  All of which are completely inevitable ... I might add. :)

In light of this, I have always wished that our kids came with a little button on their bellies and a little digital read-out of what was going on in their little bodies.  If little junior is sniffling, you could just push the little button and out would pop the diagnosis.  No more wondering if it's a cold, the flu or teething.  No problem, Mom ... it's just allergies.

If little sissy is complaining of her tummy hurting, you could just push her little button and out would pop her diagnosis:  too many sweets ... contradicting your suspicions of stomach flu or food poisoning.  In addition to just the diagnosis, perhaps you could have the LX edition that would also inform you of the duration of illness, when to take her to the doctor and how long she's contagious.  Wouldn't that be awesome?!

Unfortunately, God didn't think that little upgrade was necessary.  That's why He gave us our little Mommy & Daddy-instincts.  We can almost always pick out when our kids are really sick (they are cuddly, slumped on the couch or super-duper clingy) and when they are just not in the mood to be healthy (they swing back and forth between bouncy and bummed ... depending on if you are watching!) And all the other times, when we aren't 100% sure ... that's when we wait it out and hope that it's just a fluke.

I hope that you are unscathed in the area of illness this fall and winter, but just in case you end up with a sicky or two in your home, here are a few little tricks we use to ease the aches and sniffles.

  • A humidifier is a must with cold season.  We use ours regularly (and shift it from room to room as necessary) at night.  The extra moisture in the air seems to help a lot with the typical cold symptoms.
  • Lots and lots of water.  We really try to get our kids to drink a lot with the hopes of drowning those nasty little germs.
  • We use a sinus rinse to really get the gunk out and let our heads/noses/sinuses heal.  You can buy a saline kit from Wal-Mart for under $10.  It takes a little getting used to (okay ... a lot), but Aaron does it himself and I'm convinced it has saved us from a number of sinus infections.
  • For annoying coughs, try Vicks VapoRub (or the generic brand) ... on their feet!  I don't know why it works, but a liberal layer on their (and your) feet and then a pair of socks knocks the cough out!  I know it sounds weird, but what do you have to lose? :)
  • When their little noses give out from all that blowing, a little Aquafor or Neosporin under their noses does wonders.
  • Rest, rest, rest.  If that means a movie morning snuggled on the couch, so be it.
If you have any little tricks you use in making the cold season a little less lousy ... pass them along!  We could all use a few new ideas in our Doctor Tool Kit!

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