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On The Sick...

I don’t think there is anything more daunting for some parents than having their kids off school. For most of us the thought of dealing with a flu ridden tiny terror in comparison to a power business lunch will fill you full of dread.


Marley has been off school pretty much for two months now. I am exhausted! I’m not going to sit here and make out that I’m one of these super mums who find it incredibly easy to look after her children 24/7. It’s not easy in the slightest and I can’t wait for a night off when he’s feeling a little better. I spent my little life so far looking after other people’s children and teaching their teenagers, put me with my own for long periods of time and I need a guide book!


So down to earth reality aside, how about coping with him while he is off? How have I gotten through the day by day with the pain, crying and boredom?

Fancy a cuppa?

I don’t think it matters what’s wrong with your child. Whether it may be the flu, chicken pox or something more serious. Having a sick child at home is stressful and just the complete change in daily routines is enough to drive the best of us mad.


One of the most important factors is comfort. Making your child feel comfortable if they need to be resting is really key. We have been really getting into our herbal teas recently. I took them with me when I closed down my little cafe and a good job I did too! Marley loves them in a big jar with a straw and spoon of honey. Depending on what’s wrong herbal teas can be great alleviators of different symptoms but be careful because herbs are more powerful than you think. Also make sure there is no caffeine or sugars in what you’re giving your little one.


I found a fantastic herbalist in our town of Alvor. He used to be a client of mine when I was delivering organic fruit and vegetables. His name is Nuno Oswaldo and he runs ‘Essencias’. They sell all sorts of special teas, herbs and spices and really are fantastic. He can literally answer any question and always has some great advice. I’ve really found his suggestions have helped Marley in many ways and I adore his products myself for cooking also. Check out his site which I will link below or visit him on a Sunday in Alvor market or his shop in Guia.

Essencias

Bedding breakdowns

Recently I have been trying to think of more ideas of how to cope with Marley in bed. It isn’t enough for him to be off school but the added pressure of him resting in bed has been really stressful. Balancing him sleeping at the right times, the changing in bedding, keeping it fun whilst resting... Little bit of a mind boggle. I have found trays are really good for activities and also eating and drinking off without making too much of a mess. The ones I really love come from Etsy as they do personalized options and I really love the cushioned variety. Etsy also sell really great fine motor skill trays however if you have a bit of time lots of the ideas you can make yourself and save money too. But Etsy is definitely the site to have a look at for inspiration!


The balancing act aside one of the things that brings me close to a mental breakdown when he is sick is how much bedding we can get through. I literally have cried over this I’m ashamed to admit! However after many the meltdown I think I have finally sussed it. Because we have the odd accident coming out of nappies, nose bleeds, vomiting etc I have found it so useful to double sheet his duvet and pillow. So what I’ve been doing is put a duvet, pillow case and sheet down. Then I place a plastic cover over everything or even a bin bag if I don’t have enough plastic covers. Then I wrap everything again in a new duvet, pillow case and sheet. That way whatever the accident and regardless of my level of consciousness I can quickly whip off the first layer of anything and he can get straight back to sleep. That trick has saved my sanity recently so I would really highly recommend it.


That with a hot water bottle, comfy pyjamas, snugly blankets, comforting toys and enough pillows will ensure the more restful night possible. If it’s Lilia who’s not feeling well if I don’t keep her hair out of her face I will also really regret it, so for you mummies with girls make sure you get the scrunchies out!

Etsy

Meds and more meds...

Speaking of nose bleeds above in regards to the sheets it has been hitting a real nerve with me recently. It’s been so overwhelming seeing all the blood every day. Because it has become so frequent I’ve been really trying to rationalize my feelings and keep calm because let’s face it realistically in the grand scheme of things it looks worse than it actually is. Something that is helping us at the moment is a natural remedy spray one of our specialists has given us called Bloximus. A 100% natural remedy to prevent nose bleeds and swelling. Another huge warning from me is if you have a child with a muscular disorder do not give them steroid nose sprays as I was given. They are dangerous and counteractive in children with dystrophy.


With medicines I’m really lucky with Marley and thank goodness as it would be impossible if he didn’t take them. He has between 8-10 medications a day and never complains at all. With lots of children it is a huge struggle to get them to take medicine though so if I was finding it tricky then I would try crushing the pills into yoghurt or using a lollipop to dip into medicinal syrups. Bribery always helps!


I think it’s so important in this day and age we use the right equipment as much as possible to ensure we are giving the most accurate information to medical professionals. We don’t need to rely on the back of our hands. We can reasonably invest in an electrical ear thermometer or hire ventilators from the health centre. These devices can make all the difference in a fast efficient recovery. There are also a bunch of applications you can use to help with sick kids at home such as monitoring their illness progression or applications to help with chronic pain. This site has a few really interesting apps to help parents whatever the illness.

Sick Kids Apps

Get out the fun stuff!

Whatever it is that’s wrong a bath fixes a lot of problems. Just that feeling of freshness and the steam can clear you right up. With the kids I fill baths up with fun toys and homemade organic bath salts. Fishing games and bath crayons are a favourite. Lavender and camomile essence and some big fluffy towels. They are so mushy and sweet when they come out; it reminds me of wrapping them up as babies. I find with the muscular deterioration Marley appreciates a really gentle massage but the only time he’s calm enough to do this is after bath time.


What else can you use to help entertain your little ones when they are off school? Sometimes one day off school can feel like a life time to a parent who is used to packing off to work. It was a massive reality check and the loss of my professional identity did take time to adjust to but I will write about that another day...


Just like in my Hospital Hacks tips I think it’s really important to keep entertainment new and fresh for children that are off school sick. Rotation and keeping things new and exciting is very important. We have a sick box, which has been well utilized recently. The sick box is filled with crayons, print outs, play dough, bubbles, action figures... Anything I can think of which is new and exciting and only brought out as a treat when he isn’t feeling well. Recently our sick box has been rotating a lot of board games. We have gotten really into our different games and I think it’s such a healthy way to spend time together. Our personal favourites at the moment are Guess Who, Buckaroo and The Crazy Toilet which actually sprays you with water when you’re out! Lots of giggles over some of these and I just find they encourage communication without a technological distraction.

Blow away the cobwebs

We’ve created a new tradition too of making dens in our lounge. If we can’t be part of the Famous Five at the moment we might as well create some adventurous aspects to our living room. We cover our sofas with sheets and blankets and fill the den with cushions and toys. We make it that extra bit special with some fairy lights inside and it stays up for days. It’s lovely to read stories in there or make it our special chill out space. The more special I make being at home, the easier it becomes to stay inside. Having said that I think getting outside and blowing the cobwebs away is important in moderation and depending on the circumstances productive in many ways.


The last thing I wanted to put onto paper was about how I’ve been feeling and overcoming certain feelings which have rippled to the surface in recent months. As ironic as it seems and this definitely falls under the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ category. But all parents and carers of sick children need to take time for themselves. When I got back from Lisbon I returned with a horrible flu and it was so difficult taking care of him and keeping my patience when I was feeling horrible myself. It’s hugely hypocritical making this a tip however I’m learning day by day that this is such an important factor. I won’t be young and resilient forever and I have to preserve myself for the really tricky days. Putting my work aside and making him my number one priority was a major turning point. But he’s my full time now, my everything.


I used to promise him I’d take away his pain, whatever was wrong mummy would fix it. Something my own mother used to say to me growing up and often still does. But the problem is she can’t anymore, and I can’t fix him. It doesn’t help either of us if I convince him these things. I’m trying to really maintain a balance of being matter of fact whilst caring as much as a human can possibly manage. For mothers I think this comes much easier than the matter of fact side of things. I try and be as engaging as possible, distracting at the right moments but being careful to observe and listen. After countless doctor interviews I now know how important it is to know exactly what his last temperature was or when he last did a poo! I know him better than anyone else, so only I can give the best feedback.

You are all super heroes!

So I’m off to have my second glass of wine and do a little of that taking care of myself I was raving about earlier. I’m no martyr by any means but maybe I can help just a tiny bit to all the super parents and carers out there... You all really are super heroes!

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