This week a little virus sped through our household: sore throats and 103-degree fevers for everyone except me. If I ever wondered if I might have been a good and kind and angelic nurse in, say, an army tent with rows of patients, the answer is “Probably not.” Six people asking for more juice, more water, a blanket, the remote, maybe another piece of toast, was pretty much all I could handle pleasantly, and probably the adverb “pleasantly” is pushing it a bit, even in much nicer conditions and with much less upsetting illness/injuries than would be in an army tent.
There are certain things I keep in the house always, so I have them on hand when illness visits us and don’t have to add “running to the store” to my toast-fetching list:
2. Apple juice
4. Sports drink powder (for Paul, who imagines electrolyte imbalances whenever he has a cough)
(I’d have bread ((for toast)) and bananas on that list, too, except I can’t really say I keep them in stock for illness, since we have them ANYWAY and since they can’t be stored indefinitely in the pantry until needed.)
Something else that has served us well is the Gift Closet, which can sometimes be looted in times like these—especially because I’ve started using it not only for Gift-sized gifts but also for little this-and-thats that can be used for stocking stuffers or to tuck in with a Gift-sized gift or, in this case, for the alleviation of illness boredom.
None of the following suggestions are Amazing! Creative! Ideas!—but it took me a number of years of child-rearing before I realized I could keep these things in stock just like the apple juice and saltines.
Coloring/activity books (photo from Amazon.com). The dollar section of Target often has ones in themes such as Hello Kitty, Cars, Toy Story, etc. When 24-packs of crayons are on back-to-school deals, I buy a little stack of them: the fresh crayons are as popular as the fresh coloring books.
Puzzles (photo from Amazon.com). I linked here to a Mudpuppy one because my mom bought two of them recently and they’re really good, but for the Illness Shelf I’d probably go with a couple of the little $3.99 boxed ones. I sometimes see them on clearance for a dollar or two—even better.
Fresh television (photo from Amazon.com). Television is my favorite way to encourage children to rest.
Books (photos from Amazon.com). We get a nice big stack of Scholastic book forms every month or two, and there are often a couple of books offered for a dollar or two to encourage you to place an order. I buy some of these and put them aside for when there are bored children lying around feeling a little better. Our library also has a book-sale room, so I can get kid paperbacks 3/$1.
There. Now sit back and wait for everyone to get sick. You’ll be ALL SET.