While I was preparing for my twins' third birthday party, my sister called to let me know her daughter came down with the pukes. T had been throwing up for a few days, but on that day hadn't thrown up at all. She was leaving it up to me if I thought it would be okay for her to attend either with both her daughters or to leave the little sick one at home with dad and take the younger one, who hadn't yet thrown up. This was a no-win situation. My kids were so excited that their cousins were coming so I was either going to break the news they couldn't make it or I let them come, potentially infecting the 20 kids (plus parents) who would be attending. The doctor did tell them it was highly contagious.
In this situation, if it was a cold, a runny nose, even a sore throat on the mend, I would tell them to come. But vomiting for days straight with only one day with no symptoms? Too risky. Of course, my mom made me feel guilty for saying no.
My mom reminded me that it was her job to make me feel guilty, so I understood. I really wanted to see my sister and her family -- I missed them. But I had flashbacks to when we were all inflicted with the pukes.
I remember the very first time. We were in New Orleans visiting my in-laws and my kids were just 13 months old at the time. We were in a hotel -- all of us sleeping -- when I heard it. That unmistakable sound of someone throwing up. My daughter had thrown up all over herself and just looked confused. It was really scary and the first time either of my kids was sick like that. I took her to the bathroom to clean her up and put on fresh PJs, and just as I calmed down and sat with her to try to rock her back to sleep, she puked again. I remember crying. Me. I felt totally helpless. My husband, the ever-calm one, reminded me that kids get sick, this won't be the first time, and I had to chill out. About an hour later my son started puking. Both kids continued to throw up for the three days we were there. Thankfully the plane ride home was vomit-free.
It was the worst.
About a year later, the three-day pukes started with my son, spread to my daughter, then my husband got it, and then me. Then my son got it again. It was about two weeks of puking and I'm not sure I've ever used as many cleaning supplies in that short amount of time in my life.
So welcoming some potential puke sick into my house was not the kind of gift I wanted for my twins' third birthday. No amount of my mother's guilt was going to change that. I also really appreciate that my sister told me what was going on and left it up to me. She said she didn't want to be the reason a bunch of kids got sick just to let her little ones come to the party. Parents shouldn't let their sick kids play with other kids. Why spread the sick around? And wouldn't a sick kid be happier staying home cozied up in their PJs being spoiled with mommy and daddy snuggles?
My sister's younger daughter did end up throwing up the next day, so it was the right decision. And we're having a make-up party with just them this weekend. Now that's a win-win.
Do you have a 'don't come over if you're sick rule' in your house?