Flare up Fun!
Love the title? Sounds impossible, right? No, I’m not being sarcastic at all. There are ways you and your little one can still spend a day having a great time with one another.
It was much easier to have flare ups when Hippo was an infant because he had his playpen, floor space to explore, naps in the bed with me and Moose & Zee on Nick Jr. to keep him occupied. I kept bottles & sippy cups ready. Bags of snacks in my nightstand drawer and Happy Family pouches in bathroom and nightstand drawers. I am not ashamed to admit that there were times during my flare ups where the baby Bjorn was put into use in the bathroom. I know, I know…but listen, when you gotta go, you gotta go. To those who don’t have IBD, it may seem a bit extreme to sit on a toilet while baby-wearing. But here’s the deal when you have IBD, you can’t hold it. And it’s not just that you can’t hold it. It feels like a backdraft ball of fire building in her gut and your insides are about to explode if you hold it any longer. And that’s just in the first 30 seconds of you feeling like you have to go to the bathroom. The longer you hold it, the worse you feel. I have found myself sweating, feeling like I am going to pass out, chest burning, back burning and feeling like I was going to vomit if I didn’t get to the bathroom soon. So, yes, there were times when I just strapped the baby up and went to the bathroom. Once we moved to Texas, we were able to move into a great please with a nice size walk in closet right off the master bathroom. I left toys in there for him and closed the door a bit and let him play close, while I tried not to die on the toilet. I’m not exaggerating. There were times during some of my flare ups that I thought I was going to die right there on the toilet because the pain was insufferable. But I digress. Fun, we were talking about fun stuff.
Okay, so what can you do with the older kids & toddlers to keep them from suffering while you’re sick. You will need an arsenal of tools to prep for the day. Here are some of the things you may need:
1. Craft Box
Create a box that is easy enough for your child to carry or you can carry while sick. It’s actually best to put small containers of crayons, glue sticks, scissors, colored tape in a rolling suitcase or backpack. Keep toilet or paper towel rolls, construction paper, tissue paper, stickers, sticky eyes, etc. in the “craft box” ready for a new project. Get down on the floor of your bedroom (if you can) and create a project. You can find different ideas on Pinterest, and just buy the supplies to go and always keep it full of stuff for at least two projects.
2. Play Board Games
My son loves Candyland, Operation and Monopoly. We will literally play this in my bed. Keep snacks and bottles of water in your room, and then set up a snack table on your nightstand. Set up the board on your bed and begin. Snacks and games are always a hit. Stream music or play Radio Disney for a little added fun.
3. Camp Out w/ Movies
Have your kids bring in blankets and pillows or their sleeping bags. We’ve taken sofa pillows (just like I did when we were little) and created forts. We have popcorn (for the kids), snacks, water, pull the curtains and turn on marathon movies. I love setting up the iPad to the television with an adaptor to stream Netflix or rent movies from iTunes. We order from a place I can get some soup and we spend lunch and dinner in my room or living room getting our fill of Disney, Marvel & DC classics.
4. Create A Story
Let your child talk out their perspective on your disease. We made up a story about a superhero mom who’s “kryptonite” was colitis. She had a sidekick who helped her when she was sick. Of course, Hippo was the sidekick. We wrote the story out, drew pictures and talked about how the sidekick feels whenever the Superhero gets sick. It helped us find a way to talk about Colitis and how it’s affecting him. Fun and therapeutic all at the same time.
Take some time outside. Take your lunch, a thing of bubbles, sidewalk chalk, some books and your portable speakers outside on the porch, backyard, balcony or roof (of your apartment building, if applicable). A little fresh air and sun will do you all good. Lay out some blankets and take it easy. Let the kids play or read aloud while you eat.
Some of my favorite portable easy to open & carry snacks and drinks are:
1. Happy Family
2. Organic Valley/Horizon Valley Milk Singles
3. Silk Soy /Almond Milk Singles
4. Bolthouse Baby Carrots Singles
7. GoGo Squeez
I know everyday with a flare up is different, but I also know that often you can feel guilty for just laying around with the kids stuck in the house. Hopefully these tips can help ease the pain. xo