Well, it’s official. I’m sick, for the 4th time since September. That Baby was coughing and fussing all night as well, so we’re both home sick today. So it will be a day of trying to keep Stinkerbelle quietly amused. That will be a tough task. Thank doG for Sesame Street and Curious George.

One thing about feeling lousy is that it is not just physical. You just feel lousy in general.

It’s hard to be home sick and be a good parent. You have to pretend that you feel cheerful when you don’t. You have to pretend you have energy when you don’t. And you have to try to have patience when you don’t.

By any yardstick, we are lucky to have such a good kid in Stinkerbelle. She generally doesn’t give us a lick of trouble. She’s easygoing and funny and cheerful, and full of love and enthusiasm for everyone and everything. But it takes effort to remind yourself of that when you are feeling under the weather, and and trying to get through your day with her.

So when you lose patience, and speak harshly, and react less than patiently to what she says or does, it makes you feel even lousier.

My kid is a busy, active child. She’s not much into crafty stuff at the best of times. So sitting and trying to do something crafty, like making paper snowflakes or Christmas-y stuff, is going to engage her for maybe 5 minutes on a good day. And not at all when she is sick. Plus we’re still working on her sensory issues, so fingerpaints or playdough or sand or anything textured is often not a good choice for her. Baking together would be a bad choice. If she’s tired and sick, her sensitivities are going to be bigger and intensified.

So, you’d think it would occur to me that trying to keep her still and tracing her hand would be a bad plan on a day when she’s not feeling tops, and when I am feeling tired and crabby.

You would be mistaken.

You’d think I’d also know enough to just let it go and not react when it all goes pear-shaped.

Yeah. Not so much.

So, okay. There are all kinds of games and toys and stuff we can play together, right? We can sit quietly and do things together, right? Well, her patience is low. So is mine. Her attention span is considerably shortened. And she doesn’t want to be pushed to think or engage when she’s not feeling tops.

You’d think I could accomodate that, right?

Well, it seems… not so much.

So what’s left? Well, there are videos and TV shows. She’s quiet, and it doesn’t take much effort, and if you choose well, it can be educational.

But then, what parent doesn’t feel like a crappy parent for parking their kid in front of the boob tube?

So not only do I feel sick, but I am feeling like a pretty lousy mom today too. I’m having Mom Fail on almost every front.

Okay, stepping back with perspective: She’s not out playing in traffic. She’s warm, and fed, and safe, and loved.

But when she’s laying on a pile of pillows, and she’s got a sore throat and is coughing, and she’s crying because Mom has snapped at her… perspective goes out the window. And all you feel is lousy.

6 thoughts on “Lousy

  1. Sorry Mama…can you engage her in making some soup for both of you? Plus, I call foul in the lousy mama department. You aren’t being lousy for parking her in front of the TV. Besides, if you were alone and sick, you would be either reading, sleeping, or watching TV. That’s what people do when they are sick. So let her rot her brain in front of the TV.

    It’s called survival. You have been absolved of all guilt from this mama.

  2. Oh, I will come over and join you in the oh-my-god-i-suck club at the moment. Sigh.

    But as for the TV thing – believe me, before Sport came home I was totally self-righteous about TV and how much my kid would watch (or rather, wouldn’t watch.) And then he arrived, and sometimes we watched 3 or 4 hours of TV in a day. Maybe more, I kind of block out a lot of those days. A 2 hour Dora movie? Does it mean I can lie down in peace and quiet for the same amount of time? Done. And neither of us was sick, so believe me, you get a total pass on this one.

    And it’s PBS for god’s sake, not Desperate Housewives. Unless it IS Desperate Housewives, in which case you need to take some fever meds STAT.

  3. I will confess- I am a long time reader/lurker and a fellow adoptive mom of a similar aged Ethiopian sweetheart. I have started wondering if you and I are perhaps twins who were seperated at birth- your posts resonate! My daughter and I are also on our umpteenth rendition of this cold/cough since September, although we had a brief interruption by hand/foot/mouth disease and lice (isn’t daycare grand?!)

    I have no words of wisdom or even helpful suggestions for cold relief, but I do share the frustration with recurrent sickness, and guilt with trying to effectively be a mom while feeling like crap…I hope you are both feeling healthy very soon!

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