Surviving RSV Season with Older Kiddos

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

While on RSV lock down there's really not much to do, but cook and bake....
And eat.....  
A lot.  
The girls and I spent Saturday morning, baking, making, and of course eating everything we possibly could get our hands on....sour gummie worm jello, cookies, Halloween brownies, and on and on.....and on and on.....

Ain't no shame in sucking the bottle Sissy......

Saturday night, we had a much needed date night with our big girls. We had dinner at Cafe 4 and then were off to Disney on Ice.  Date nights are hard to come by in general, especially with our big girls.  John and I need them, but our big girls need them too.  They need a night where it's all about them and there's no break in their fun for me to give a breathing treatment, a feeding, OR administer medication every 3-4 hours.  They need a night to just feel normal. 

And I desperately want to given them that normal

But, there's always a concern with leaving Alli.  She has a few high maintenance tendencies and I may or may not have a few control issues.   

It always boils down to two things.....

1)  Is someone comfortable and competent with dealing with a kiddo who has a g-tube and oxygen??
2)  Are John and I comfortable leaving her with them??  For the most part, Alli has always been watched by a nurse friend who is extremely versed in oxygen and g-tubes.  

That wasn't available so we went with the next best thing, Nanny Amanda who has been with us for years and been around Alli enough to know the ropes.  We're so thankful for her for not only allowing this date night with our big girls, but she was who kept and loved the girls during our NICU time.  When everything was crazy around us, Amanda was a constant for my girls. 

I've been asked on many occasions how we do it with older kiddos in the home. Here is a sample of questions I've been sent from fellow preemie parents:

"How do we make sure everyone stays as well as possible?"

"Do our older kiddos quit all extracurricular activities during RSV season?"

"Do we home school?"

"How do you keep life normal for them, but maintain Alli's need to remain as healthy as possible??"

The magic answer is, we just do.

I remember begging and pleading with someone to tell me the answer.  You're not going to find that here because what works for my family, may or may not work for yours.  But, I will tell you a few things we do that have maintained my sanity, calmed my fears about anyone getting sick, and allowed us to survive our first RSV season. 

Here are those questions answers/input/how we have survived are in blue.   

"How do we make sure everyone stays as well as possible?"
Our oldest is in Kindergarten.  We have stressed the importance of hand washing and hand sanitizing, almost to a fault, because Anna Claire became severely OCD about it last season.  She has loosened up, but is still extremely  diligent and cautious about washing her hands. 

We also stress the importance of clean clothes; therefore, the girls immediately strip down upon coming home from school.  Depending on our schedule, they either go straight to take a bath or just wash hands up to their elbows, dry, and then apply hand sanitizer.  After the bath or washing hands, they put on clean clothes.  The same goes for John and myself if we've been in a public place. 

"Do our older kiddos quit all extracurricular activities during RSV season?"
NO!  While last season we limited what everyone could do, this year we have not.  The sad thing is we can't do a lot of fun fall things as a family, we have to divide and conquer.  Anna Claire has a talent show coming up that John will have to miss and in January UPWARD CHEERLEADING will begin and we'll take turns on who gets to take her to the games. 

"Do we home school?"
Absolutely NOT!  I love and adore my children with my whole being, but I don't have the patience to home school them.  Anna Claire is in a private Christian school and Ava attends a Mother's Day Out program at a local church twice a week for 5 hours. 

"How do you keep life normal for them, but maintain Alli's need to remain as healthy as possible??"
Again, we just do. It's hard.  We have to separate a lot and the girls don't always like that both parents can't go to an event or trip.  But at the end of the day, I have to remind myself the importance of keeping Alli healthy this winter.  I have to remind myself that this is just a season in our lives.  We have one shot and if we play our cards right, we won't be doing this forever.  

It's our new normal.  I feel like a single Mom many times, but I don't want my girls to look back at these years with bitterness.  Life must go on.  They must be able to still be kids.   
So, here are a some shots from our amazing date night with our big girls and our family trip to the Pumpkin Patch. 

Alli did make it to the Pumpkin Patch, but slept through most of the trip.  She was extremely segregated from the rest of the world.  Sometimes, using your instincts and breaking the RSV code is AOK.  Just don't expect to see a whole lot of that with us.  :)

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