16 Things Working Parents Should Know About the Horrors of Caring for Sick Children

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16 Things Working Parents Should Know About the Horrors of Caring for Sick Children

By Dustin Rowles | Think Pieces | November 6, 2013 | Comments ()


My twin daughters are home from daycare this week with something called Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, which sounds like the most terrifying disease imaginable to those that have never heard of it. OH MY GOD. DID SHE EAT TAINTED MEAT. HOW LONG UNTIL HER BRAINS LIQUIFY? In reality, it’s a mild illness accompanied by blistery spots on the hands, feet, and in the mouth, a low-grade fever and a lot of crankiness. It’ll go away in 7-10 days, and while my daughters feel well enough most of the day to participate in daycare activities, they are wildly contagious, so they have to stay at home this week. With me. While I continue to attempt to put together a website full of pop culture idiocy and Tom Hiddleston’s latest adorable attempts to promote his movie.

This happens a lot, actually. Far more often that I might have ever imagined before I had children. I never would’ve guessed how much of parenting is devoted to taking care of sick children. There’s nothing you can do to plan for it. You cannot mark it in your appointment books. You cannot schedule around an illness. It’s just one of those things that you just have to deal with, and it doesn’t matter what your profession is. If you don’t have a stay-at-home parent, you have to make allowances for it.

So, for those of you contemplating children, while my own children are lazily draped over me as snot and drool pools onto my shoulder, I thought I’d offer a quick outline of what you and your spouse may have to look forward to once you have children.

1.You child will get sick at the most inconvenient time possible. Every time. Trial about to start? Your kid will get sick. Big interview for a promotion the next day? Your kid will get sick. Huge event you must absolutely attend? Planning to take the afternoon off and sneak over to see Thor: The Dark World while your kids are still in daycare? Your kid will get sick. Guaranteed. You know how the old saying goes, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him that you really need to get to work tomorrow.”

2. If you have a child under three or four, he or she will get sick approximately 10-12 times every fall/winter season. This is SCIENCE. It cannot be avoided. There is little you can do about it, and the very reason you enrolled your child into daycare — so that you can work during the day — is the very thing that will increase the odds that your child will get sick and make daycare unavailable to you. Daycares are incubators for DISEASE. Vile, filthy diseases that are accompanied by rashes and snot and diarrhea and phlegm and congestive sounds that would make Linda Blair blush.

3. On that rare day that there is no snot streaming out of your child’s nose like the Niagara of mucous, snap as many pictures as possible. Post them to Facebook, so that people in the real world will think this is what your child always looks like. These days are few and far between because snot is just part of a child’s life, like sippy cups and diapers. Carry Kleenex with you at all times. During particularly heavy periods of snot activity, a small bucket may be necessary. When all else fails, there’s always your shirt.

Never wear black.

4. Those with employers and co-workers without children will say they are caring and understanding about your need to take off for the 7th day in two weeks, but they really aren’t. They’re bad-mouthing your lack of productivity behind your back. “Can you believe Sally is taking off AGAIN? What is wrong with that kid of hers?” You know what is wrong with the kid? SHE’S A KID. They get sick. A lot. Jerk.

5. Remember this, though: Before you had children, you were one of those jerks that scoffed at parents for taking time off because you didn’t understand how it is possible that one kid could be sick so frequently. Here’s the thing, though: PARENTS HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO MISS WORK. Unless they have retired or unemployed relative close-by, there is nothing they can do except stay at home and watch Elmo laugh until their ears bleed.

6. Here’s the double-whammy: Most daycares you pay for on a weekly or monthly basis, whether your child is in attendance or not. That means that, not only are you missing work, but you’re still paying for someone else while you’re looking after your own children. It’s an evil consequence of the daycare system. There’s not a damn thing you can do about it.

7. The number two argument (behind, “What’s for dinner?”) between couples with children is not about money and it’s not about who forgot to do the dishes, it’s about who has to stay home that day to take of the sick kid. You will both trot out a list of things you have to do that day, and there will invariably be a game of oneupmanship. “I have to get this report in by 2.” “I have an important client meeting at 11.” “Oh yeah, if I am not at work today, PEOPLE WILL DIE.” Occasionally, the argument will end like this: “If I don’t get to my job today, I will be fired. THEN I CAN STAY HOME EVERYDAY. IN OUR CARDBOARD BOX.” This person will probably lose the argument for being a drama queen.

8. You say you don’t believe in allowing your children to watch television? Or that you limit your child’s screen-time to one hour a day? Let’s see how far you bend those rules on the fourth day your child is at home, after you’ve completed enough art projects to fill the Louvre, and after you’ve read every kid’s book in your home 47 times. Television is the opiate of the people, and your child is sick and needs a lot of opiates, OK? IT’S MEDICINE.

9. Do you work at home? Then you’re double-f*cked, because your employer will expect the exact same of you because to him or her, working from home with a sick child is no different than working at home without a sick child. Congratulations! It’s one of the many downside of working from home that office workers never consider. Indeed, you will have to do the same amount of work in a shorter period of time. I hope you don’t like sleep, because most of your work will be accomplished during your child’s sleep time (which just happens to coincide with your own), or while your child is pulling your leg and demanding another rendition of “Puff the Magic Dragon.” AGAIN, DADDY. AGAIN. PLAY THAT SONG ABOUT THE THE LITTLE KID THAT LIKES TO GET HIGH.

10. Though your child is sick, and probably very contagious, Tylenol and Advil work absolute wonders on them. In fact, during most of the day, they will exhibit few or little symptoms of their illness, so they will be free to be the needy crumb snatchers you’re accustomed to, except during that half hour between the time the medication wears off and you re-dose them. Those half hours will be your own personal versions of Hell. Invite high school classes over and use those moments to teach teenagers about birth control. I promise, they will listen.

11. Some kids do not mind taking medication. You probably do not have one of those kids. Your kid will probably kick, and crawl, and scream, and wail, while you attempt to pin that child to the floor and inject a dose of medication into the back of her throat, which she will then proceed to spit all over herself, necessitating that you complete the process again. Do not do this in front of strangers. They will call DHS on you.

12. Be careful about Tylenol and other acetaminophen products. I don’t mean to alarm you, but too much will KILL YOUR CHILD. Accidentally double dose your child two or three times in a three day period, and your child can die of liver failure. You want to know what true terror is, listen to the “This American Life” podcast on Tylenol. Good luck sleeping tonight.

13. But what if you and your significant other also contract your child’s debilitating illness at the same time? TOO F**KING BAD. You must continue to make meals, change diapers, bathe and entertain your child because your child doesn’t give a sh*t how sick you are, she still wants her fake Morning Star chicken nuggets, damnit. Turn on the television and pray for a few moments of sleep before your adorable child slaps you awake and screams, “MO YO GABBA DADDA.”

14. Babies and toddlers are insanely sensitive when they are ill, and they will want to be in your presence at all times, which makes it difficult to work on your laptop when someone is occupying your lap. Also, be prepared to sleep in your child’s room on the floor or a make-shift bed, because if you are not there when she wakes up, she may wail, and you may have to go through the process of putting your baby down again. Beware, also, that if you bring that child into your bed, you may unravel a sleep routine that took you six months to finally perfect.

15. Children with colds or the the flu sleep much better in the upright position. This is often accomplished by allowing your child to sleep on your chest while you are sitting in a chair in an uncomfortable position. At some point, you may have to make a choice: Sit uncomfortably knowing that your back will probably never bend into its natural position again, or stir your child awake in order to reposition. Most of us will choose the long-term consequences.

16. Twenty-four out of twenty-five times, a doctor’s visit is pointless. It’s always a virus, and there’s nothing you can do about a virus except wait it out. Still, the more cautious of the spouses will insist on a doctor’s visit, while the other will suggest riding out a 103 fever. The more cautious parent will almost always win this argument, and you will waste two hours to find out that it is indeed a virus. That, however, is better than the alternative, which is hearing the cautious spouse remind you about that time you tried to ride out strep throat for six days when a simple antibiotic could have cured it in one. SHE COULD’VE DIED, YOU ASSHOLE.


See Also: 30 Practical Tips About the Horrors of Raising a Baby That You Will Never Learn from Movies and TV

25 Practical Tips About the Horrors of Raising Twins That You Will Never Learn from Movies and TV

The 17 Iciest TV Rivalries That Will Make Your Blood Run Cold | Why Do You Build Me Up, Buttercup?: 4 Rumors That Might Let You Down.

Are you following Pajiba on Facebook or Twitter? Every time you do, Bill Murray crashes a wedding.

Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Beth Rose Gamble

    yeeees. and yes.

  • aadip desai

    100% scary accurate.

  • Snath

    Yup. This is all true. Now, imagine doing this with two children as a single father. The kids are in different grades, so they contract different illnesses at different times. We have had two bouts of sickness roll through in the last month. Three, if you count the cold (but who does, really?).

  • Brian Stevenson

    As if I needed additional reason to never want children, this really did put a period on THAT sentence.

  • Maguita NYC

    A period is always a relief.

  • Jiffylush

    My children are now 10 and 11 and believe it or not you will miss those sick snuggly days.

    IMHO if you are doing your job as a parent correctly the kids will start to do the day to day stuff on their own as they grow up, so it starts to feel like they don't need you for anything but rides and money.

    Treasure those days you get to spend with your children one on one, they can be very special if not a whole lot of fun in the moment.

  • John G.
  • John G.

    kids are already little virus machines. Daycares must be the origin of all disease in the world.

  • Yeah...I don't miss this shit. At all. Teenagers are a handful but at least they can take care of themselves.

  • Natalie

    there's a bright side. In another 12 - 18 months, your kids will have immune systems stronger than adamantium steel. You'll get a virus, pass it to your spouse, and miraculously, your kids will be fine. You'll get to kindergarten and hear about all the other kids starting to get sick, and parents complaining- not your adamantium kids, they'll eat germs for breakfast and ask for more without so much as a runny nose.
    I'm not going to talk about my girls because I'll jinx it. But life is good now. Life will be good for you to.
    Hang in there!

  • Jifaner

    Parenthood is willingly catching puke with your bare hands in an effort to save the couch. Oh the things those adorable little germ factories make us do...

  • e jerry powell

    "Never wear black."

    Or white, for that matter. Wear lots of wild paisley prints. It's a good fake-out.

  • When people hound me about having more children, I'm going to link this post. Hope you and your little ones recover soon, Dustin.

  • Bodhi

    Don't you know that most of these things can be cured by essential oils, breast milk, colloidal silver, & coconut oil? *

    *Just kidding, my woo days are over

  • SnapHappy

    Maybe I'm a total asshole(I am), but I have to ask: Isn't this kind of what you signed up for?
    Now hear me out, I can sympathize with what you're going through. I took care of my mother who had dementia, diabetes, incontinence, and a slew of other medical issues. She wore a diaper. She climbed over her bed railing when I tucked her in at night or for a nap. She constantly hollered for treats and attention. She was basically a really large child and I was almost always at my wits end. I wanted EVERYONE to understand what I was going through. But, I took on that responsibility to care for her. No one forced my hand and the times I couldn't do what I had committed to doing(work, as an example)other people had to pick up the slack for me and work twice as hard. I'm glad people were understanding enough to do it, but at the same time, they shouldn't have to be.

    I guess what I'm saying is, while I can imagine caring for two sick kids is absolutely soul crushing at times, co-workers and employers without kids who act sympathetic but are bad-mouthing the lack of productivity are most likely doing so because they are then forced to pick up the slack because you chose to have children. And chances are while they are working twice as hard, they're not being paid twice as much. It suuuuucks for you being at home, getting sick and taking care of kids, but it's no walk in the park for them either.

    That being said, I really hope your little ones feel better soon and you get to avoid getting this nasty illness!

  • TK

    What's your point? I'm pretty sure Dustin isn't expressing any regret about having kids, nor is anyone else. This is just venting and commiserating. Are parents not allowed to do that?

  • SnapHappy

    They certainly are. Not only are they of course allowed to, it's necessary to keep a cool head!
    My point was that I don't think it's fair to judge employers and co-workers and assume they're bad mouthing a parent behind their back. And if these people are frustrated, well, it may be kind of understandable since a decision they didn't make is now causing them to pick up the slack at work. I thought I made that pretty clear and I don't feel like I ever said anything about him regretting kids. Just that this is part of the job, just like these alleged "jerk" co-workers have a job to do too.
    I truly mean no offense, just giving another point of view from on of those jerks. Maybe the same understanding one would hope child free people could give to a parent should be given back.
    It was the only issue I took with the piece, not with him as a parent and a person who obviously works hard and has a right to vent.

  • Mrcreosote

    Hey, look at me, I've got a kid, I've got to stay home!
    I also have a child. She is currently in college. I've been through the whole thing. So, I am willing to cut the parents of children 6 or so and under slack-for sicknesses. I am willing to cut older parents slack for illnesses as well. But, in my office, there is an epidemic of parents who cut out of the office for baseball games, dance recitals, school events, piano lessons, and fuck all else leaving others to do their work, and those bastards are getting on my nerves. I've had to stay in the office until 2 repeatedly in order to get projects out so that someone else can take their kid to a lacrosse tournament, or a skating jamboree. My time is worth just as much as the parent of a young child's. This flex system is getting seriously abused and I'm starting to take Dabney Coleman's side in 9 to 5 AND THAT'S NOT MAKING ME HAPPY!!! I understand the stress, but when someone leaves an hour early EVERY FUCKING DAY except when he has to go golfing, then child care is arranged, I start to think I'm being taken advantage of.
    This has little to do with the post, I understand. I'm just trying to make parents know that they need to be aware that empathy only goes so far. Unless of course it's my dog. Then all bets are off.

  • I am home today with a sick kid. I only work part time and mostly from home but today we were going to have a special staff lunch. Even more inconvenient is when I can't take the youngest to therapy because another one is sick. Then I have more to do later when it's time to make up missed sessions. Kids. Also I think I may be infected.

  • selucius

    I tried to listen to that podcast last week and only got about ten minutes into it before I had to switch it off saying, "OKAY, I GET IT! I'LL FOLLOW THE DAMN TYLENOL LABEL!!"

  • elenaran

    Agreed on all points, but I think you failed to really emphasize just how big of disease vectors they become once they start attending daycare. I used to brag to all my friends that I never got sick. There was a period of about 10 years where I didn't even get a minor cold - my immune system was akin to that of a comicbook superhero's. Then I had a kid in daycare....

    The first winter was so bad... I was sick with one sort of disease/infection/virus or another nonstop from November until April - no exaggeration! And don't even get me started on the pink eye - we've had pink eye so much in our house that my wife and I started taking the medicine prophylactically any time our eyes had a slight itch.

    The really sad thing is, our kid is actually exceptionally healthy. He's only had to go to the doctor for a sick visit maybe twice in his life. Unfortunately for my wife & I though, the reason he stays healthy is because he's a damn carrier! of ALL the diseases/bacteria/viruses!

    Parents beware!

  • TK

    I can't believe Dustin left this out. The MOST important thing about a sick child:


  • Mrs. Julien

    That applies to every medical condition, child related or no.

  • Tinkerville

    According to WebMD: Runny nose? Cancer. Bumped your toe? Cancer. Hangnail? Congratulations, you've got malaria.

  • Mrs. Julien

    When I was diagnosed with My Thing, I was warned very clearly and kindly to stay off the internet. They were right. I'm fine and still when I read about My Thing I get all freaked out and I have 17 years of evidence that I'm okay.

  • TK


  • Guest


  • TK


  • #17 Never go to the pediatrician's office. There is no amount of diligent hand sanitizing that will keep you and your child leaving the pediatrician's office without a secondary virus and/or bacteria infection.

    #17-b Never let your child into the play area at Mcdonalds/Gymborie/ball pit. There be the plague.

  • Hayley

    Ball pits are the stuff of nightmares. In my pre-kid days, my sister-in-law liked to meet up for lunch at McD's so her kids could play and we could consume insane amounts of sodium and fat while we talked. Her three-year-old came out of that damn ball pit holding a dirty diaper. Not a folded up one. No, it had worked its way off some toddler's ass at some point, who knows when, as we did not see any half-dressed toddlers.

    We left and I took an hour-long hot shower when I got home.

  • TK

    My kid is currently sick AND my wife has a sinus infection, because of fucking course. And I'm trying desperately to do what I can to help them both feel better, and she needs her rest, so she's sleeping downstairs and I'm sleeping next to the baby's room so I can go in there when he wakes up. Which is why I'm barely conscious right now because this is what happens and I don't even know what my point is anymore and why is it all wavy in here and who andnsdjkvc gfkj;gfmmmmmmmmmmmmmmbbbbbbb........f w.w

  • Hayley

    You are awesome. That is all.

    ETA: AWESOME, I SAY!!! (Now get some sleep).

  • TK

    Yeah, I sure feel fuckin' awesome all right.

  • Hayley


    *sighs in relief that offspring are currently healthy*

    *frantically praying to the Pajiba deity that I did not just jinx myself*

  • Mrs. Julien

    You'll need to speak up, although I wouldn't wake the parent of a sick child who has managed to get a nap. Plus it's TK and it behooves one not to tempt fate.

  • Hayley

    Ha! Edited accordingly.

    I didn't want to gush too much. I am generally just a lurker and TK intimidates me a bit (ok, everyone on here intimidates me).

  • Mrs. Julien

    a. Welcome!
    b. He is the scary one.
    b. Don't be intimidated by anyone (c.f. item b.). We all tell ourselves it's just us chickens and are writing to hear our own voice. At least I am. I can't vouch for anyone else, but I have some very strong suspicions.

  • Hayley

    Thank you!

    I seriously come here as much for the comments as for the posts.

    Whenever Dustin or anyone posts and/or says something about kids, I'm like "yay, I can add to this conversation!" But then one of my kids dumps chocolate milk on the floor and I have to clean it up and by the time I get back... my mind is blank. The moment passes.

  • zeke_the_pig

    Tell me, how's your kitchen?

  • Hayley

    Thank you!

    It's sticky. How's yours?

  • zeke_the_pig

    It's clean. There used to be grease, but... oh, ha, we got rid of that.
    Now that you've delurked, I hope you realise you can never relurk

  • Hayley

    Well if I'm unable to re-lurk, someone needs to give me a crash course on how to post gifs, because that is how I primarily communicate in life.

  • Maguita NYC

    You also need to learn about DAT CAP ASS, and how to properly express the burning in your lions (no, not a typo) when feasting your eyes on DAT CAP ASS.

  • Mrs. Julien

    And does she know about the lions?

    How long have you been lurking exactly Hayley? Do you understand the following phrases: Joshua Jackson (RIP)? ","? "KBalls"? Skitz"? How about "do splits across the dance floor"?

  • Hayley

    I am familiar with the lions, and Cap Ass. Love me some Cap Ass... aaarrgghhdrrooolll...

    where was I? Oh yes. Remind me of the Joshua Jackson thing.

  • Mrs. Julien

    If the Pajiba Dictionary were current, we would not have these issues. Jesus, Dustin, could you get on that? You're at home all day anyway. How busy can you be? [flees]

  • Maguita NYC

    The man works from home, he has time for little things like updates.

    [Prepares for UPSed bag of dicks]

  • Mrs. Julien

    Like he has time to prepare a courier envelope.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Fu*king Kballs, man.

    [histrionic weeping]

  • Mrs. Julien

    Is the upvote for KBalls or my weeping, emmalita angel of upvotes?

  • emmalita

    This whole exchange has amused and delighted me so I up voted the whole thing. Also, your tears amuse me.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Watch zeke carefully...

  • Hayley

    Now I'm all worried I left myself open for innuendo.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Re: Grease Fire


    It was some of zeke's best work.

  • zeke_the_pig

    Ah, would've been nothing if it wasn't for a world class assist from a certain Mrs J. No wait, that's too obvious. Let's call her M. Julien.

  • Mrs. Julien

    You look especially handsome when you are holding a shovel.

  • Mrs. Julien

    More importantly, how's yours?

  • zeke_the_pig

    You know how it is...

  • Maguita NYC

    Zeke gives the best orientation for ex-lurkers! However, that kitchen thing is new... Do you look anything like Monica Belucci Hayley?

  • zeke_the_pig

    Ah, Maguita, my favorite ex-lurker. My, how you've grown. Look at you up there on the table, above me. And below me, somehow...

  • Maguita NYC

    Odd how you make a simple statement sound lecherous somehow...

    An art form to be admired, and celebrated. For yours hardly ever sounds vulgar. Just lecherous enough. ;)

  • zeke_the_pig

    Then I have hit the golden middle that I have always striven for, and I am content. Time for a tasty, content fag in the mouth.

  • Maguita NYC

    Golden middle and fag in the mouth... A life worth fighting for! Cheers Zeke.

  • Hayley

    I soooo wish I did...

  • zeke_the_pig

    Nah, you really don't. There's a big tendency for Monica Belluccis to end up with pigs parked up in their gardens with beer and spy-glasses. Nasty business. Nasty, inexplicable business.

  • Hayley

    Someone needs to start a support group for all the Monica Belluccis out there. That sounds terrible!

  • ***Slow clap***

  • Yup. Never, ever having kids. Nuh huh. I'm not brave enough.

  • Oh - and that episode of This American Life put me off Tylenol and acetaminophen forever. Done.

  • My son got 9 ear infections in his first 9 months. It was ridiculous. Fortunately the kid is a trooper and we only knew most of the time because of his fever, not him crying or freaking out. We finally saw a specialist and even though they like to wait until they are a year before going with the tubes in the ears (it's an operation they need to put the baby under for - particularly iffy in our case as our kid has a slight issue with his ticker - not a great day all around) they decided he needed the procedure. That was in May. The tubes typically last about a year and seeing as he got them so young we were told he'd probably need another set put in to get him out of prime ear infection age. Last Friday he woke up with a fever and thinking nothing of it my wife took him to the doctor to be diagnosed with - you guessed it - a goddamn ear infection. This poor kid's ears are cursed. We're lucky though - he slurps his antibiotics down pretty easily 9 times out of 10. Lots of practice I guess.

    We've got a second one coming in March. I told my wife straight up if it had been twins I woulda left. Once I count fingers and toes I'm headed down the hall to get snipped, cause fuck the need for a bigger car and being outnumbered.

  • emilya

    ear infections are the worst, says someone who lived through it. 4 sets of tubes, ear drops for my entire childhood, and major fever striping on my teeth which i was made fun of for all of elementary school. i don't know if drs still prescribe ear drops, but i would caution you to let them sit in the ear for longer than it says to- when the kid shifts sides the drops usually run into the back of the throat and can taste fairly gross. the whole process has put me off apricots (which i still maintain the drops tasted like, although it's not like there is someone to corroborate my story) for the rest of my life. hope the kiddo feels better soon!

  • emmalita

    I had ear infections regularly until I hit 16. It got better after I had my adenoids removed when I was 7, but both my eardrums burst in one really nasty ear infection when I was 14. The worst thing was finding out I would never be an astronaut because of the scar tissue on my eardrums.

    The drops didn't put me off apricots, but they were nasty when they went down the back of my throat.

  • emilya

    i feel you on the astronaut thing. my boyfriend's family expressed interest in me getting diving certified and i had to tell them that would never happen- i can barely handle the pressure of underground public transportation when i have anything resembling a stuffy nose (and of course ditto for plane rides).

  • phase10

    I feel you on the ear infections. We went through that with our first until we started giving him probiotics. They worked like a charm, and both kids have been mostly illness free. (crossing all digits and knocking on the nearest wooden object)

  • Yossarian

    But you don't get sick at the exact same time as your kid. You get sick immediately after, just as they are starting to get back to full strength and nonstop energy.

    And since you just took a day or two off work to stay home with them, now you pretty much have to drag yourself to work despite being sick because all your sick days are used up taking care of a sick kid. And after you endure a long miserable day at work you come home to that damn kid is bouncing off the walls. She picked up some minor bug (probably by licking everything and everyone, ever) and her young immune system figured it out in a day or two and she's cool, meanwhile she incubated it into the damn super flu and excreted it all over your care-giving hands and breathing parts and it will linger in your chest and sinuses for the next two weeks.

    I remember when she was really little and would get sick and her tiny body would be burning up with fever and she was so miserable and I was so helpless and I would just think to myself that I wish it could be me instead of her, that if I could I would take the sickness away and endure it myself to keep her comfortable. But no, fuck that. Taking care of a sick kid who wants to sleep on your shoulder for 16 hours a day while you stay home from work and watch the entire series run of Top of the Lake is not the worst thing that could happen, even when she pukes on your favorite hoodie and in between the couch cushions. Being sick and having to take care of a kid is so much worse than having to take care of a sick kid.

    Which brings me to the real worst thing about having a sick kid, which is the constant guilt over doing something wrong, prolonging the illness, making it worse, putting off the useless doctor visit for a day only to see it blossom into a double ear infection with possible strep, or guilt over sending her to school with minor cold symptoms and having the school call you because she's got a 101 fever, and all the other things you can and will do wrong.

  • My son is almost 13 and my ex just had a baby. Sometimes I get a bit emotional about it but reading this really reminded me why I had my tubes tied.

  • emmalita

    When I was 12 - 13 many of my friends started getting new siblings, mostly as a result of re-marriage. I begged my parents not to divorce and have more children. My dad hugged me and said, "Your mother had me fixed right after you were born."

  • Hayley

    I cannot imagine getting to age thirteen and then starting over again.

    Hugs to you.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Brother Julien just moved in with a woman who has children in their twenties. Brother Julien's daughter is nine. My sisters and I think his girlfriend is INSANE. She had an empty nest and she is taking on a young child. Granted, my brother has shared custody, but his girlfriend is still INSANE!

  • Hayley

    I co-sign your INSANE diagnosis and raise you one "MAYBE SHE'S SECRETLY ON DRUGS"

  • annie

    #11. My husband and I once had to hold down our 3 year old and administer an enema. The kid hadn't pooped in more than 10 days. We were warned to give it to him in the bathroom as close to the toilet - on the toilet if possible - because of the torrent of feces that would follow.

  • Maguita NYC

    I may think I am a great aunt, but I am actually a bit lacking in that department for I have never changed a diaper in my life. Not. even. once.

    And the only time my sister was trying to show me how easy and quick it is: My nephew power-pooped all over her face and the wall.

    She cried so much while cleaning the super-liquid shit... I had the decency to get out of the house before laughing and gagging at the same time. Good times.

  • The Replicant Brooke

    Thank god I'm barren.

  • Jim

    May I suggest 6a:

    Said daycare, upon detection of the first micro-fever, will segregate your child and call insisting you come immediately and remove him/her from the premises.

    I realize they're trying to keep the other children healthy but sheesh.

    Years ago, my friend "Work Deb" (as opposed to "Cousin Deb") was called away to just such a situation and arrived to find her son closed off in the cloak room -- awaiting someone in a haz-mat suit one is left to assume. All the coats, except his, had been removed presumably because he couldn't be trusted to not wipe his nose on them. Poor tyke was warm, tired and extra miserable because he thought he'd done something deserving double-plus time-out.

  • JenVegas

    Never Wear Black. I'm going to say it again. NEVER wear black. It was 11:30am yesterday before I realized that I was rocking snot stains all over my black, wool sweater. Thanks for the head's up, co-workers.

  • marigi

    I'm due in march. I'm doomed. Thanks a lot.

  • Billions of people have successfully navigated babies and you will too.

    And forget about the whole "sleep now" thing because 3rd trimester preggos are notoriously bad at sleeping. But don't sweat it. It's nothing you can't handle.

    Congrats :)

  • Hayley

    What TK said. Sleep when your kid sleeps. I don't care if your house is absolutely disgusting, sleep is more important. Get the sleep when you can, accept help when it's offered.

  • Mrs. Julien


  • TK

    One of Dustin's best bits of new parent advice for me was: cleaning is for night time. Trying to constantly clean up after your kid is a fool's errand. Play with them whenever you can, nap when they nap, and when they're down for the night, that's when you clean up. Otherwise you're just pushing rocks up a hill.

  • TK

    I will tell you what I've told every parent-to-be that I've come across since my kid was born.

    All of that shit you hear? About not sleeping, about exhaustion and fear and panic and oh-my-god-I-have-no-idea-what-I'm-doing? All true.


    You know what else is true? And what no one ever tells expecting parents? That first year is actually a lot of fun. A lot of fun. My wife and I were kind of shocked by that, because there's so much fucking melodrama when it comes to new parents. Relax. Have fun with it. You'll see and do some really goofy shit, and the trick is to ride it out and don't take yourselves too seriously.

    And yeah, nap when the baby naps, because duh.

  • marigi

    I'm really looking forward to that, and cuddling.

  • Yup. People say, "How's fatherhood?" and I just say "It's every cliche people have been saying about it since the beginning. The good and the bad." I was talking to my uncle, who has no kids, about how my new commute sorta sucks since I moved to the 'burbs, but at least when I get home I get an hour or so to play with my kid and give him a bath before putting him to bed and his response was "That sounds like the LAST thing I would ever want to do after work." i told him that until the day my son was born I would have agreed with him. It's all been said before but it's the goddamn truth.

  • TK

    I get legitimately pissed when I don't get home in time for bed and bathtime. I mean, I only get about 30 minutes with him in the morning, don't take that 90 minutes of nighttime from me.

    Don't get me wrong - there are days where I'd love nothing more than to come home and collapse on the couch with a drink and a book. But then again, I get to play with LEGOs again, and my kid likes to run around in a Superman cape. It's all good.

  • Babies are exhausting. And awesome. Seriously there is nothing better on earth than a 9 month old kid. Just wait till you give your baby their first cupcake. It's fantastic. Even better wait till you give them their first taste of grapefruit.

    Oh. And don't forget the toes. Also fantastic.

  • TK

    Dude. Toes are the best.

  • Maguita NYC

    I believe I am about to relay the best advice anyone has ever given a pregnant woman before.

    Get as much sleep as you can now. Cause after that... Oh, and congratulations!

  • marigi

    Oh joy! I live to sleep, so losing that is my worst fear. Also, I just started feeling him move in my belly, and he chooses late night hours to party, the little monster.

  • Maguita NYC

    Maybe he'll be like one of those magical babies who start sleeping nights early on (cue in someone calling it an urban legend). However beware: Once they hit their teen years, they will be keeping you sleepless, and making you regret their growing older.

  • marigi

    Ah yes. I took care of my teenage brother for three years, from 14 to 17. I could have strangled him!!!! I can't wait to go through that again.

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