When the Kids Get Sick

We had a super fun weekend with friends that included sledding for their boys and Eddie, ice cream sundaes that looked like snowmen, cards and wine for the adults, and lots and lots of laughter.

A couple times on Saturday Eddie complained that his tummy hurt.  Once it was before we ate and he said he felt better after having some fish sticks and raisins.  Then later when all the boys were getting ready for bed, but he took the biggest dump I have ever witnessed and then felt great.

We thought maybe he just had some digestive stuff that was funky due to being tired (no nap on Saturday) and excited about all the fun with friends.

Then he threw up in the car.

Really we still thought it was just late night upset tummy. It WAS after 1am and it had taken him a while to fall asleep at our friends’ house and now we were waking him back up to take him home.  I tend to get nauseous when I am over-tired too.

Then Sunday he had a fever of 101.

fell asleep while playing mario is a definite sign something is not right with this guy.

fell asleep while playing mario is a definite sign something is not right with this guy.

We had to keep him home on Monday.

But we both work, which means we have to decide which is the least inconvenient person to stay home.

I volunteered to stay home Monday since Cortney doesn’t get paid if he stays home (he is hourly and I am salary with a certain number of sick days per school year); however, I would have to drive to school to get sub plans together which would mean more than an hour of driving in some pretty crappy weather.

Cort decided it was more convenient for him to stay home since he has less than a 20-minute round trip to work and minimal notes to leave for their weekly Monday meeting.  He gathered some files so he could do some billable work from home.

Yesterday, I made sure to get sub plans together in case Eddie needed another day.  And he did waking up with a 102 degree temp in the middle of the night.

My patient.  Feverish, but downing fluids and resting like a champ.

My patient. Feverish, but downing fluids and resting like a champ.

Today has been much like yesterday, which means Eddie will probably have to stay home at least one more day.  Since I am not at school to make more plans, Cort is prepping to take another day of no pay to stay home.

And tomorrow, when I go in, I will have plans for Thursday just in case Eddie needs yet another day.

It is not ideal at all.  It pretty much sucks when either one of us has to stay home.

Cort staying home means our household loses that pay and the clients he works with and the company he works for loses their estimator/sales guy for the day.

My staying home means my students may not be getting all they can out of their class period with a sub. It also means shuffling of plans for something a sub can handle…and because I teach a foreign language, unfortunately means busy work or group work on a project (which may or may not be as focused as it could be if I am there. Really depends on the sub).

The policy at our daycare is if one kid is sick, you keep all your kids home.  So Charlie is here too.

The only one of us who got the flu shot. Let's hope that it keeps him healthy.

The only one of us who got the flu shot. Let’s hope that it keeps him healthy.

Someone asked me the other day what in the world we do when a kid is sick since we both work.  The answer is that we take care of the sick kid making whatever sacrifice we need to.

Just like households who have a stay at home parent do.  I’m pretty sure no one will tell you that it’s a piece of cake to have a sick kid.  Yes, we have an added complication with having to have one of us stay home, but it’s what is best for Eddie.


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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. We are in the same situation. I get paid leave (state employee) and my husband runs his own business, but if he’s not billing hours then he’s not getting paid. I try to make the effort to be home so he can still work but just like you, sometimes it doesn’t work for me to be home. Sometimes we can hand off and I can come into the office for part of the day but like you said, you just do what you have to do for your kids! Hope he’s feeling better soon!

  2. With three kids and 2 working parents i totally get this. Once upon a time b/c of our work schedules we were in a position for hubs to go in an hour late and me come home an hour early to cover sick kids. My school was pretty flexible in allowing that and since my last hour was planning time it didn’t directly effect classroom/student child ratios etc. But I’ve also had supervisors who were complete asshats when it came to needing time off for sick kids. I’d be told I should call family (who live 2 hours away and have health issues themselves or ask a friend to watch them. Clearly these were ppl w/o children or ppl who didn’t WHO when they had young children.

  3. My husband and used to switch off who went to work. He sometimes could spent a half day at the office and I would spend a half day at mine. On one occasion I got into trouble with my boss for taking too much sick time off. Too many doctor appointments, etc. I finally got tired of it all and submitted my resignation. It’s been tough financially but I am able to help out here and there with jewelry sales as I a custom silversmith. Now I don’t know how I could ever swing going back. I wouldn’t get near the kind of money I would need to make it worth it.

  4. We are a two parent working family and it does stink. You kind of look at each other and have to decide who needs to be at work more. Thirteen years into this parenting gig and we finally have a situation that is a little easier to manage when the kids are sick. My husband works from home (except when he travels) and can physically be in the house with the kids when they have to stay home from school. That being said, he is a guy, and doesn’t seem to have that multi-tasker gene so sometimes he tends to forget they are there. I also have a flexible schedule that will allow me to stay home with them when I need to. The other good thing is that my children are getting older now and need less maintenance when sick. Truthfully my older two (11 and 13) really don’t want much when sick. They are more like adults now and want to be left alone which is a good thing when they stay home sick with my husband. ; )

    I hope your little guy is feeling better soon and no one else gets it!

    P.S. I have worked in DayCare for 12 years now and in two different states and have never heard of the non-sick sibling having to stay home! In fact for the most part the siblings come to school allowing the parents to focus on the sick child and maybe get something done! So weird!

  5. That is the same way with us. Luckily, my mom is available to watch the sick kid once in a while but that doesn’t always work out that way. Usually it ends up being me that stays home. Dave does not get sick days. It sucks but you have to do it to take care of your kids.

  6. My husband works from home and so it’s easier on him to have the kids there but I dislike my job so I will call in in a minute to say I need to be home with a sick kid. It’s awful, but I’m not being responsible but…hmmmm not sure where I was going with this outside of admitting I’m a shit employee.

    And I’m with Heather; never heard of the non-sick sibling staying home too. Why make the well kid stay home (is it a suspicion that the other kid(s) will eventually/likely get what the other has because they’re in the same house? Just precautionary?)

  7. Wow! One sick both have to stay home?! Makes sense but that’s tough. For us, that’d have meant we’d had both home most of Jan.
    Sick littles isn’t fun for anyone. Hope E feels better soon for all your sakes.

  8. Bless his heart. I hope he gets better soon. I have a friend who works in a day care and she said it never ceases to amaze her the parents who bring in their sick kids KNOWING they are sick. It is hard when both work outside of the home to have one sick. Used to be my husband and I worked different shifts. He worked 3rd and I worked 1st or 2nd. So that left someone there all the time. If it was a 1st I worked my mom would come watch them till Gene got up or I got home so he could get sleep he needed.

  9. Poor buddy. And you guys. Wish you had on-call help. Get better soon, Eddie. And stay healthy, Charlie Bird.

  10. Both my husband and I are hourly, but he gets sick days/personal time and can somewhat work for home. So, in theory he should stay home with the sick kiddo. So far, both times she has been slightly sickish I’ve stayed with her. The first time, my husband being a dummy thought that I’d just send her to daycare even though she had had a fever over night. Um no. And then he was like well I should stay next time, and I agreed. Well the next time it was a last morning made decision and he had already left for work and works about 40 minutes away. Bah. Oh well. I only work 4 hours and my assistant just takes over for me if I’m gone so I don’t feel too bad about sub plans what not.

  11. With sick kids, you just do what you have too.

    When Hayden was a baby, the hospital I worked for had a ‘sick care daycare’. It was staffed by peds LPN’s and you could take your sick kid there. They had separate rooms for each kid, toys, etc. It was awesome. You didn’t have miss work. Unfortunately, because of budget stuff, they cut the program. Boo.