What to do with sick kids-Day 1

Starting last Friday night, Elliot developed these ridiculously painful looking blisters in his mouth, a fever, and a refusal to eat. The kid might be skinny, but he’s never flat-out refused to eat. By Saturday morning all signs pointed to him having Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD).

Today is Wednesday which means that Elliot has been quarantined since last Saturday. He does not like to stay home, as he pointed out by throwing shoes at the front door for 30 minutes Sunday morning after Joel and Zach left for a playdate. Without Him.

The weekend was okay–Joel and I took turns taking Zach to his various social obligations and the one who was home with Elliot catered to the demands of a sickly tyrant. E is insistent (or unrelenting, depending on the day) on the best of days. A sick Elliot is a snot-filled mass of “do it now” and “gooooo” and “book-y”. Should now not be a good time because you are, you know, in the bathroom, he’ll throw himself to the floor and wail. Ahh—18 month old, second-borne kids, who happen to have inherited the impatience gene from one of the worst offenders–moi.

By Monday morning, Zach realized that he was also going to be quarantined. Another one who does not like to stay home. Really, neither of them inherited my homebody tendencies? How is that even possible?

Despite Mondays being Three Amigo day (as in just the boys and me), I either plan something specific to do, or somewhere special to go. To make sick tyrant quarantine even better, it’s been raining like mad here for a week resulting in ankle-high weeds–er, grass–and swamp-esque backyard conditions. So not only were we stuck at home, we were also stuck inside.

All of that, ladies and gentlemen, can make for a painfully long day. As much as I wish I could plop them in front of the TV (PBS shows, of course) all day I don’t—for two reasons. One, I don’t want to deal with the incessant pleading of my 3 year old, negotiator-in-training for just “one more show”–we have a loose rule of no more than an hour of TV a day. Though Zach has figured out the button configuration that turns on both the TV and cable box, he has yet to conquer the DVR, thus he usually ends up stuck on the home shopping network. And he’ll sit and watch them sell purses, too—the TV-addiction runs deep with that one. Elliot, on the other hand, is a TV snob. He only watches certain shows and even with those he only sits still for about 15 minutes before getting up to explore (e.g., climbing on the dining room table).

So, what’s a mom to do?

First, a mom who is supposed to be homeschooling needs to have an arsenal of craft supplies, which I do. Second, a mom who winces at the thought of actually remembering where she put those supplies (never the same place twice!) needs to get over herself, which I did.

I’m not going to lie, as much as I love arts and crafts, in the past the amount of effort involved with keeping the attention of two differently-aged children for longer than 10 minutes is usually enough demotivation for me to direct activities toward the science-y/outside stuff.

Yet I remain insistent that there is no need for me to pay for preschool when I am more than capable of teaching these kids myself. As my Dad would say, it’s time to poo or get off the pot, meaning I either need to be more focused about teaching or I need to remember that there is a preschool registration deadline prior to that date’s passing. That was my pep talk to myself as we all watched Joel drive off to work.

I remembered finding a large roll of packing paper (in the bathroom cabinet–where else would you keep packing supplies?) and it was perfect for my plan. I taped a large portion to the floor, and handed out brushes and empty containers. Zach and I did real “school” and learned about mixing colors with a color wheel. Elliot misinterpreted the art lesson as cooking school and did taste testing instead.

You can find all kinds of random stuff to make cool patterns for painting projects. I’m not even sure what this thing is—maybe something for cross-stitching? The second mystery is why I have it—I do not cross-stitch.

Elliot was unimpressed after about 4 minutes of painting and opted for a snack instead. Fine by me, he’s happy and contained. Note, his snack was vanilla pudding, the rest of the color palette on his face, hands and arms is paint.

Zach decided to paint himself a pizza. I’d like to point out that his painted pizza included both spaghetti sauce and green peppers– neither of which he’ll eat in real life.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well the whole thing turned out. Unlike the last time we painted, Elliot did not come out of the activity with a half container of paint in his hair. They even helped with the clean-up, though I have a bathroom towel that will likely never be the same.

I’ll post what we did on Day 2 of the quarantine–after Zach started getting sick–tomorrow.