Sickness has invaded my home at the worst possible time of the year! This is more than runny stuffy noses and wastebaskets full of Kleenex. This is vomiting and diarrhea -- for three days! First my baby was sick with a horrible, deep, rattling cough. Eventually it went away. I was glad. But her immune system was weakened to the point of allowing another predator in. The stomach bug. She began throwing up Saturday night and is still throwing up here and there today. She is weak and wobbly. She is teeny tiny to begin with and this has just knocked her out.
Theresa over at Our Life in Words, who is also experiencing her first holiday season at home with her girls, asked how this holiday is different than last. There are so many ways in which this year is different than last. But the one that sticks out most in my mind right now is that Lilah would have missed about a week of school. I could not have sent her with the cough. Well....I could have, but I would not have. I most certainly could not send her vomiting. I know many parents who would load up their kids with cough and cold medicine and scurry them out the door praying for it to not wear off before three o’clock. To be honest, I have been guilty of that before as well. The consequence of piles and piles of make up classwork plus the homework is just not worth it, so if they can make it through the day, they go. My rule (regardless of the school’s rule) was that for each day they missed, they had one day for make up. If they missed three days, they had three days to make up the work. I was never questioned about it. But that still did not alleviate the stress on both me and my child. Neighbors would bring home packets in thick manila envelopes from their teachers just so they could try to keep up which on the couch hacking up a lung. Most of it was busy work. Math facts, coloring. Those got tossed to the side, rarely completed. We focused on the priorities. Math classwork, social studies, spelling words. Tears, from my girls and me, were not uncommon.
Thankfully my girls are not often ill. But when they are.....they are down for the count.
Like my Lilah is now. She can rest on the couch or in her bed, or mine till her heart’s content. I cleared my calendar. We have nowhere to go. Not that we could anyway. She has no make up work. No homework. No stress to add to her already weakened system. So I read to her. She has listened to two chapters of Percy Jackson and illustrated how she sees the characters in her mind’s eye. We have researched Satyrs, Furies, Chiron, and the Greek Gods Pan and Dionysus. She has helped with Christmas Cards. She has found a lovely Christmas poem online by Walter de la Mere and has begun to copy it in cursive. She wrote her own silly Christmas poem. But when she needs to rest, she can. She can stop, put her work to the side and go to sleep. The doctor said this virus has been lingering for a week!
This week will be spent mostly at home. This illness did require major rethinking of a trip to New York City to see Wintuk but Lilah graciously agreed to not fuss about me and Grace going so the tickets don’t go to waste. Just as long as she can watch the videos of the show on youtube. Have I mentioned what a great kid she is? She really is.
We have enjoyed more time this season to be with friends, create ornaments, bake and relax. But what I am most grateful for now, and what strikes me as the biggest gift of homeschooling through the winter, is the ability to let our children’s health dictate their learning capacity, rather than have school dictate the capacity, despite our children’s health.