A Saturday Sniffle: Ask the Audience

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Heather says:

As some of you may know, I have terrible allergies. Before I finally became pregnant with my first child, I had just begun immunotherapy.  As I was near the beginning of the treatment course, it had to be put on hold. A recent event triggered a visit to the doctor which resulted in a new referral to a local allergist. As part of the work-up I cannot take the medications that make life bearable at the height of allergy season. I had hoped to postpone this until the dead of winter, but I am sucking it up and muddling through.

What kind of ask the audience is this? It just sounds like Heather whining about a little sneezing.

I wish it was just a little sneezing.

I would like some suggestions for entertaining 3 children under 6 with a minimal amount of involvement on my part. Unless I shove Kleenex up my nose, I typically have one hand available and spend a fair amount of time sprawled on the couch with a compress over my eyes. As y’all can imagine this isn’t much fun for the toddler set and I need to head off the boredom in non-destructive ways that don’t require driving. (I’m a danger on the road when I can’t hold my eyes during sneezing fits).

You know the emergency provisions I referenced recently? We’re breaking into the stash.

So, the rugrats are climbing the walls and I’ll admit to not having much patience for bored child shenanigans at the moment. So, I’m opening the floor for suggestions.

Let’s hear it, Home Eccers, how do you entertain small children when too sick to participate?

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16 thoughts on “A Saturday Sniffle: Ask the Audience”

  1. I bring out the mind-numbing artillery. DVDs and more computer time than normal, along with asking family and friends to please take my children and love them since I’m quite sure my head is going to explode.

    Feeding them also defaults to “as little cooking as possible” – sandwiches, spaghettios, cereal, etc.

    Good luck and I hope they’re able to give you relief sooooon.

  2. If you’re just at home and nobody is going to see you but your kids you can make a “snot-brake” so you at least have both hands free. We use them at work for people who have had brain surgery through the nose and aren’t allowed to blow their noses (to avoid leaking spinal fluid – seriously) but where post-operative irritation causes lots of secretions to run. You take a roll of gauze and extract a tail from each end (one side will have to be picked out of the middle), knot it so that the roll doesn’t unravel, and tie it around your head with the roll right under your nose. Voila! You’re not going to win any beauty competitions, but like I said, if you can’t stand up without something running down your face and nobody is going to see you but family…

  3. I had problems with migraines and work at home hours that required me to be sequestered from my son when he was young, and there were two things that kept him busy: hand held interactive games (this was in the B.C. days – before computers) and craft supplies. A kid with ten thousand crayons, a roll of white paper, glue, macaroni, paint, and markers (and a dropcloth instead of a carpet on the floor) can stay entertained for hours.

    It also helped that I enforced the following rule: any interruption for non-emergency reasons during a defined time period would be responded to by the immediate assignment of a chore to be done right away. That worked wonders!

    It also helped that my son was generally like me, quiet and self-sufficient. I don’t have evidence that this approach would work with multiple or more gregarious children.

    As for the allergies, may I recommend eucalyptus oil (warmed over a candle in a closed room, simmered in water on the stove and the steam inhaled, or in a vaporizer rated to use with oils) and fresh mint tea to drink? Neither should interfere with your treatment protocol, and both should provide at least some temporary relief. For eye allergies, remember cold cucumber slices are soothing.

    Lastly, I found that foods affected my allergy symptoms, primarily milk. When I said adios to non-fermented milk products, I also said sayonara to snot. Don’t ask me why this works, but it has also worked for several of my friends. Yogurt, cheese, and butter remain on the OK list (in moderation). Adding a daily helping of oatmeal also helped (oatmeal binds and removes toxins). Lastly, since allergies involve an inflammatory process, high doses of antioxidants (vitamin C and alpha-lipoic acid) also help, as does DHEA, which is an immune system regulator. You’ll need to coordinate with your doctor on those last two, as they could throw off some results. Hope that helps.

  4. Get some wall stickers…..they are removable stickers designed to go on the wall of the tyke’s room. You used to be able to get them at the Dollar Stores so take a look there. Anyway, my 2 little ones spent two hours deliberating over where to place their wall stickers yesterday. I got a lot of work done whilst they were “decorating”

    Get some photos printed out on the cheap (order them online through Walgreens or Walmart, etc.) and then pick up some cheap photo albums. Costruction paper, kid-safe scissors, glue, markers (crayons)…let them scrapbook for a while!

    Sidewalk chalk?

    DVR kids shows that come on at night that they don’t usually get to see (no reruns….will hold their attention). This is really nice if you have Noggin, by chance.

    Teach them to play hide and seek (my kids would play this all the day long).

    (I see you have gone and hired a babysitter…..but I thought I would offer up my suggestions.)

    I have five kids at home right now (oldest three go to visit their mom on Tuesday for six weeks) and it is 100+ out here in AZ everyday. I know how hard it can be to keep the kiddos entertained.

  5. When mine were little, I used to get horrid migraines, quite often. Medications didn’t help, and I hate to take any meds anyway.

    The house was already child-proof, so I’d make sure they couldn’t get OUT of the house, and let them watch videos over and over and over, which they loved, but it would drive me crazy. They still know all the words to Toy Story and Lion King, Hook, and in my son’s case, Raiders of the Lost Ark.

    I’d give them finger foods they could manage on their own – pieces of cheese or lunchmeat and crackers so they could make their own “lunchables” They knew they could come into my room if it was absolutely necessary, and they didn’t much like seeing mommy throwing up, so they’d leave me alone to get better unless it was important. My daughter learned to be a little mommy pretty early to take care of her brother while I was out of commission. Even though they’d bicker some when they were small, if mommy was sick, they’d get along during that time – my son would get scared if something was wrong with me, so he’d behave. They learned to depend on each other and have been best friends for years.

    If you’re allowed to use homeopathic meds, I’ve found something wonderful that has been so helpful to me this year, because I simply cannot take regular allergy medications.

    Zicam makes a no-drip liquid nasal gel that is homeopathic, for seasonal allergy relief. It’s been a real blessing to me and kept me from feeling the way you do right now!

    I have friends that swear by a Neti pot, but I can’t bring myself to try it. Maybe if you’re brave, you could try one!

  6. It seems that doctors like to do this sort of thing to lots of people. When my sister had allergy test done before she started allergy shots they decided to do it right in the middle of her worst time. Her eyes were swollen all the time! My suggestion for the allergies would be to get in a room with nothing you are allergic to, use the air conditioner, and keep a cold compress nearby.

    For the little kiddos, I would suggest movies. When we were younger and my parents had to shovel snow (one year we had like 6 feet in 2 weeks), they would stick my little sister in the baby swing, and put in video after video. I still know all the songs and stuff from those videos. : )

    Arts and crafts are always good too. I loved those as a kid. As long as it doesn’t involve anything messy, it can keep them entertained for hours! Also try making a competition out of it – who can make the best dinosaur, or can tell the best story through their pictures.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  7. Personally I would send mine that are not bfing over the state line and out of my hair. The little one I can lay on the floor and sleep while she crawls in her little area. I also send mine outside and tell them they can not come in tell I tell them they can.

    I’ll trade you, I will take your allergies and suffering for one teething crabby butt rashed baby?

  8. I’m doing immunotherapy right now, so I really feel your pain. Have you tried just throwing the kids outside with a sprinkler and a box of popsicles? Sidewalk chalk is very fun, and a run through the sprinkler cleans up the mess from the chalk and the popsicles.

  9. My kids are older and I don’t have allergies (ducking my head now), but I was on bed rest with number three. I sat in the room with my then-toddler..DVDs, craft supplies, blocks…I admit, I kept him alive, but didn’t do much WITH him…

    I like your babysitter idea best of all, however!

  10. I would call a trusted teenage neighbor……..or someone
    majoring in child developement……..someone you know and
    trust……have them in your home while you lock yourself
    in the bedroom for a few hours at a time…..if possible tell
    the kids you are going some place else so they don’t keep
    knocking on your door.

  11. Have you tried the neti pot for relief of some of your symptoms? I thought it was crazy but it totally works, stuffy noses, sinus headaches, all sorts of things.

    As for the kids, I involve their father in their entertainment. I am kind enough to keep them out of his hair when he’s out of it, I figure he can return the favor the twice a year I allow myself to be out of it.

    • I have the squeeze bottle version. It helps with some of the pain part. I still stay sneezy and umm gross.

      I’ll try just about anything once, even if I feel dumb doing it. The neti does help a lot when my sinuses are so clogged they make my teeth hurt. I haven’t had that problem in months.


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