Things to Do when You’ve Got the Flu…and a Baby to Attend To

“At least you can go home and get some rest!” my well-meaning coworker said as I shouldered my bag wearily to head back home early, citing the gross cough and fever I was rocking.

“Hahahahaha!” I replied.  “Ahahahah,” I added, wiping a tear from my eye.

Okay maybe it didn’t quite happen that way.  More like, I smiled ruefully and said, “Honestly, I’d rather be here — watching kids while being sick yourself is so much more exhausting than being here at work!”

And it’s true!  I mean, who didn’t used to secretly enjoy a good cozy sick day, all snuggled up in bed with some tea and that book you kept meaning to read but never quite got around to, or just the Internet there on your laptop, ready for a day of mindless clickholes and good longreads.  Ahh.  Those were the days…

Not so, though, for those of us with children to mind at home!  Maybe those of you with traditional daycare can work with that, but in my case, if I go home early, it generally means I’m picking up the kids from their grandma’s house early too (because otherwise I’m doing the usual rush hour crawl…while sick…….hashtag #nothanks).  However, lucky for you, I’m here to share my wealth of ways to pass those not-so-cozy hours as a family, because the family that sick-days together….stays [sick] together?

Anyway.  Enjoy!  And bless you.

  • Baby Pandas In the Crib: This game keeps my toddler AND baby entertained and contained at the same time, so it’s a real win-win. All you need to do is have your children watch this quick cute video of a baby panda trying to escape its zoo crib, then introduce the idea of the playpen-as-panda-crib, and you’re set.  The toddler who can get in and out on her own is happy to be the rebel panda, and the baby can be the content baby panda in the crib.  And you, sick mama, get to watch from the couch.
  • The Couch is a Boat: In this game in our house, the couch is more specifically Moana’s boat, and I am Maiu, who has been stabbed in the butt by a blowdart and is forced, FORCED, to lie down while Moana practices her wayfinding. A game where you can lie on the couch to be in character?  You’re welcome, you’re welcome!
  • Make a Valentine’s Day card for Literally Everyone You Know: Pack o’ construction paper and some markers and this took up more time than telling her to just draw until she got bored. Having a set project or goal helps when it comes to drawing (pun!) a craft out as long as possible while you nurse your cup of tea at the table.
  • Indoor Picnic: I’m not above allowing snacks in the living room on a set picnic blanket if it will buy me some peace and quiet and ability to not go to the kitchen for snacks for a while. Also, please give me some of those goldfish crackers.  Thank youuuu.
  • Go Outside and Play with the Chickens: Okay, this is oddly specific to me, but it worked. I bought myself a gooooood 20 minutes of quiet for my pounding head by suggesting my kid go play with our chickens…and she did, very nicely.  Note to self: trust that your kid can, in fact, entertain herself outside solo for a little while, if given the chance.

Whatever you’re trying to do to keep sane out there sick mamas, I salute you!

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