Sunday, January 18, 2009

Domino fever

As I overstated previously, when a kid is sick, my feeling is that they need to stay home. From school, from activities, from church... stay home and keep the germs confined to your own house as much as possible. It is for the greater good. But there is a side ailment that can occur because of this quarantine. They can't stay home alone and even if you don't get the illness that is keeping them there ( good luck with that) you can contract a related condition.

They are sick which in turn makes you sick. Like a line of dominoes falling, one topples another and soon what was once a nice tidy vertical collection of standing dominoes falls to become a big mess. I'm talking Cabin Fever. No joke. Not register-able on any thermometer, but one of those ailments that you just KNOW you have. You are bored, although there is a lot to be done you just are unmotivated to do it. Every day looks eerily like the last. You begin to think that the big black box in the corner is a better babysitter for your sick child than you are. You begin to look forward to the Nick Jr lineup-- oh goodie! Backyardigans is on next! That Pablo...

When you do experience it, the first thing you are going to do is check on Web MD... ha ha.. you are so funny. But let me spare you the shock: when you type in " Cabin Fever" on Web MD you get results- mostly for depression. Of course this diagnosis does nothing to cheer you up. NOTHING. As a matter of fact it sends you into a tailspin. I'm honestly not making fun of anyone who might have a serious mental illness such as clinical depression. If you check the symptoms for that and you come up with more YES! points on the symptom quiz, get yourself to the doc. Better living through chemistry, Baby. What I am talking about is what occurs when you are stuck in the house too long with a child. Kids don't get sick when it's nice out, they get sick when the weather is nasty. Going outside for a shot of Vitamin D and letting the sick kid sit on the deck to have the warm breezes blow the funk off of him isn't an option. Usually winter is one long crud fest. If you have multiple kids who share the crud you could be looking at very long stretches stuck inside. Cabin fever is a an inevitability.

Want a symptom checker?
-The walls feel like they are shrinking in.Your house goes from 2500 sq feet of comfy living to doghouse overnight. Maybe birdhouse.
-The hardest household chore is getting up from the kitchen table after ingesting your daily allotment of caffeine.You make excuses to stretch out the slow parts of your day. Someone wrties these classified ads, you might as well honor them by reading them all. You succeed and the whole day becomes painfully slow. Clock ticking backward slow.
-You think going to the mailbox is " getting out".
- You begin to call your pajamas " lounge wear" so that you can justify wearing them all day.
- You have a lot to do, but you just don't waaaaaaannnnnaaaa.
-You have a burst of energy- you clean the whole house in an hour, but your husband comes home to find you in tears because somehow the sick kids messed up every room in 45 minutes and now it looks worse than when you started.

At this point a more evolved mom would come up with a well thought out list of ways to counter attack Cabin Fever. I suppose I could tell you that it will be over with soon. That you will be complaining about your busy taxi schedule in no time. I can reassure you that you will have face-to-face adult conversation again with someone who doesn't share your house. I could suggest that you give your friends a disclaimer before your first outing-- you might have a slightly wild look to your eyes and keep talking about how much you love them all and burst into happy tears when someone compliments your shoes. I could even suggest that you take up an internal house hobby to get you through your confined times. Preferably one that you can put down and pick up quickly and requires little thought and minimal cleanup. Probably not writing because just as you form a thought a kid will have to go to the bathroom NOOOW and you will not be able to f.. I could recommend that you put some structure to your day because kids, as well adults, thrive on structure.

A list like that would be handy , but I would be a hypocrite to write it. Aside from one hour at church ( including travel time) I have been at home for a week and a half with sick kids. At this moment my only non-familial interaction is through facebook and a moms message board. I have an hours worth of ironing that I COULD be doing, a kitchen that needs cleaning up from the breakfast rush, and a kid watching Imagination Movers a few feet away from me... ooh! Imagination Movers... I like this show..... that Mover Scott..

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