Is He Really Ill or Is It Time to Chill? The Secret Joy of Sick Days

K. Emily Bond

sick toddlerI’m happy to report (well, kinda) that my little guy hasn’t been sick all summer. I “mumble” kinda because the last time he was feeling down in the doldrums, I kinda enjoyed it. Let’s hear a drum roll, please, for the worst mother of the year.

I certainly felt bad for the little guy, vomiting and pooping as he was. But oh all the things I was able to get done! The floors got mopped, clothes were put away, blog posts were posted. I even watched a movie ... in full.

Between upchuck cleanups and “oh-my-god-will-he-be-alright?!” anxiety spells, I relaxed into hands-free splendor while he slept off the bug that ailed him. Before doing so, however, I checked out the Mayo Clinic’s symptom checker for children and categorized him according to the following sick toddler checklist:

Category 1: Definitely sick but within an acceptable mommy chill-out range.

  • Change in appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Oral temperature lower than 102 F (38.9 C)

Category 2: Obsess over symptoms online and repeatedly ask your mother or spouse, “Should I call his pediatrician?”

  • Slight fever
  • Some diarrhea
  • Irritability and difficult to settle
  • Vomits a couple of times

Category 3: Call his pediatrician.

  • Oral temperature of 102 F (38.9 C) or higher
  • Bad diarrhea
  • Forceful or projectile vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • No poop for days
  • Yellow, green, or gray snot
  • Fluid draining from eyes or ears
  • Unexplained and sudden rash

Category 4: Flip out and rush to the hospital!

  • High fever that is not abating
  • Cold to the touch
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blue in color around the lips or mouth
  • Bile-stained vomiting
  • Red rash that does not blanch (go away) when pressed

Other than that, hey ... kids get sick. Sometimes a cool washcloth, baby vapor-rub, a hot toddy, and lots and lots of sleep, kisses, and love are all they need.

In the meantime, mama, the best thing you can do for yourself is take advantage of his sick days to recuperate a little yourself.

Image via mollypop/Flickr

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