So I thought, the best thing to keep myself occupied is to write a list of things I do with the kids when we’re as sick as dogs….why sick as a dog and not sick as a chimpanzee or a shark, I have no idea. Some of these idioms make no sense!
Ok, so 10 things that I like to do with the kids:
I`m sure you know hangman but I`ll describe it anyway. One person thinks of a word and the others try to guess the word by saying out letters. The word is represented by dashes, one dash for each letter. If a letter that is in that word is said, it has to be written down in the proper position. If someone gets it wrong and shouts out a letter that doesn`t appear in the word, the first person will add lines to the hangman`s noose. The game ends when either the correct word is figured out or the hangman is completely drawn.
It's a great game to play with kids in bed because all you need is a piece of paper and a pencil. Off course, this won`t work with younger kids who can`t read yet.
2. Story tag
One person starts the story off and the next person continues it, and then the next person and so on. You can choose to add as little or as much as you want during your turn to continue the story so it`s great for kids who don`t really have much energy.
3. Trip down nostalgia lane
Break out the baby photos! My kids love looking at their own baby photos, the little narcissists. And so, on the rare occasion that they do willingly stay in one place for more than 5 minutes is a good time for me to take out my trusty data hard drive and go through all of them, from the cutesy twin baby photos I snapped up so many years ago to the most recent ones of all three of them. I really enjoy this too because come one let`s face it, my kids are adorable. Off course I’m not biased!
Most of the time, a cuddle with my kids lasts 5 seconds after which they squirm and struggle to be let free. So it`s when they`re sick and too weak to break free that`s the best time to force my snuggles and loud kisses on them. No missed opportunities here!
5. Finger puppet show
I've never actually done this but I think it would be good fun, especially with the younger kids. I remember I bought some finger puppets from Ikea when H1 and N2 were small but all they wanted to do was rip the puppet from my finger. I`m sure most other kids will be more refined and give the fine arts their due recognition.
Yes, I did write that and no, it`s not a typo. I know that television is nowadays portrayed to be one of the deadly sins of childhood but honestly, I think that moderation is best. Yes, I agree that too much TV definitely kills creativity and imagination but a little bit is actually beneficial in my opinion. T3 learnt all his colours and quite a few numbers from TV and today, when I put on an hour of YouTube for him and I got to sleep for that hour. As a sick single parent, that`s a win-win situation.
7. Board games
The girls and I love our board games and this is especially great when you have nothing else to do but be in bed. Some of our favourites are Snakes and Ladders, Pop-o-matic Trouble game and the Ice-cream game. The next addition to our board game family will be Monopoly and I`m looking forward to playing that with them.
8. Pen racers
This is something my brother and I used to play when I was a kid. All you need is a pen and a piece of paper. It helps if each person can have a different coloured pen. So basically, you first draw a path or race track and you can make it as straight or as twisted as you want. Draw a horizontal line at one end of this track which will be the start line. Each person aligns their pen on the start line and then flicks the pen in the direction they want to go. Where the pen line ends will be the start point of their next turn. If the pen line goes out of the race track, that is seen as a crash and they will miss a turn. The first person to reach the other end of the race track is the winner.
9. Bedtime stories
Now that my girls can read, I find that our quiet time is more about talking and less about reading, which is not ideal but when your 30 minute quiet time suddenly became 8 minutes because you had to clean the kitchen, you learn to prioritize.
So these days, the only reading I do is books like ‘My first words’ or ‘5 Little Ducks’ to T3. It’s when H1 and N2 are sick that I take the time to sit and read a chapter book to them.
Or even better, get them to read to you, which is what I did yesterday. They were in recovery mode and I was in ‘possible ICU’ mode, I asked them to read to me. And so, I got to listen to two wonderful short stories from Enid Blyton’s short story collections which I used to read when I was a little girl. Lovely!
I mean it. The best medication for illness, especially the viral kind, is rest. So forget all your ‘should do’s and could dos’, snuggle up, pull up the blankets and go to sleep. Even if you yourself aren’t sick. Even if it’s just a 20 minute power nap. Your kids will love being able to cuddle up to you and sleep in your arms like they did when they were babies.