Thursday, January 17, 2008

DCMM: Horizontal Parenting

I successfully poisoned my husband the other night.

Unfortunately, I also managed to poison myself.

The chicken seemed fine, but after my husband and I both became violently ill within minutes of each other at four in the  morning, it became rapidly clear that I had done something wrong in the kitchen the night before. I'm not the greatest cook in the world, but I've never poisoned anyone. Until now. This was maybe the first time I was glad that my kids refuse to eat what I cook for them.

But this is not a post to point fingers at who did what in the kitchen and who poisoned who. There's enough of that going on at home. My question for this post is: How do you take care of your kids when you are so sick you can barely get off the couch?

For us, we started the day by falling prey to my kindergartner's claim that he was sick and couldn't go to school. "I may not throw up today," he said. "I may just have a fever." Forget it, kid, I don't for a second believe that you're sick, but I also don't believe for a second that I'm driving you to school at 8:30 in the morning. Especially because you're the self-reliant one.

Our next decision was which one of us would drive the younger two kids (and the other kid I drive to school a couple days a week) to preschool. Well, I'd thrown up more recently, so it was less likely that I would barf all over the car. So, me.

After that, it was a simple matter of taking naps while the oldest entertained himself with and whatever Noggin was showing that day.

When I picked the other guys up at preschool, another mom asked if I needed help with child care. "Oh, Sam's home," I said, "so he'll take care of the little ones." (I never claimed to be mother of the year.)

My husband and I semi-recovered enough to be vertical by early afternoon, so we were at least able to change the channel for our kids. And all three of them survived the day, so we succeeded in parenting, although we didn't do a great job.

As I see it, there are a few options for parenting when you're sick. They are:

Play "Small Servant," wherein your children fetch you things. Like water. And buckets.

Play "Short Nurse," for which you teach them to take care of you. This game is similar to Small Servant, although it improves the game tremendously if they know where the Advil is.

Play "Tiny Couch Potato." See the above description of my day for how to do this.

Play "Mini Caveman." To play Mini Caveman, all you have to do is abandon all of your rules.

Got any others?

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