Just when you thought it was safe to take the quarantine sign off of our front door, we have yet another bug!

When  illness strikes again and again I have to resort to putting my kids in front of the television nearly all day. My toddler has spent entire weeks watching telly when she’s been off nursery with an ear infection or the latest cold. Parking her in front of the box as a distraction is not ideal, but I’ve not been able to figure out how else to keep her happy while I work.

I’ve been feeling like a very bad mummy, and a very bad employee, as I had at least one demanding child at home with me for the first three months of the year.

We have been plagued by cold after cold, an ear infection, and a vomiting bug so far this year, and we are absolutely sick of being sick!

It’s safe to say that winter and all the lovely infections it brings can bugger off.

For all other parents going through bug after bug with no respite in sight, the following seven stages of sickness in kids may be familiar:

1. The sniffle

The sound strikes fear right through you. There’s that work meeting tomorrow, that family party at the weekend, those plans you had to leave the kids with a babysitter for the first night out you’ve had in nearly a year. You can see your plans floating away on a crushing sea of snot and sick.

2. The panic-buying

It’s stupid not to be prepared after all, so you dash to the shops for Calpol. At the checkout you lock eyes with a similarly frenzied parent who is buying those useless nasal drops. You don’t have the heart to tell her that not only do they not work, they also make your kid really pissed off.

3. The chaos

The lurgy has landed. Tissues are piled everywhere, half-eaten bits of toast litter every surface of the kitchen and there is unpleasant green/yellow gunk on every pillow, and bed sheet, including your own.

No amount of Calpol can save you now

4. The quarantine

You will try to isolate your sick child from their siblings and attempt to keep yourself safe by keeping your mouth closed when cuddling them and then scrubbing your hands like you’re about to carry out major surgery.
The truth is that the second you open your mouth to breathe, your kid’s soggy fist will be jammed in there. And you can bet they have been licking their sibling’s face too.

5. The struggle

As you stop to stock up on medicine, hunting wearily for change in your purse through barely-open eyes, someone pipes up “sick child, hey? Those germs do them good!”

There are no words to describe the rage. Save it for screaming into a pillow later.

6. The spread

It’s now a full-blown outbreak. Everyone in the house is grouchy, sniffly and looks like an extra from The Walking Dead.

It feels like there is a plague on your house, and you contemplate burning the sweaty, snotty sheets in a bid to drive this evil from your home.

7. The deja vu

Hardly 24 hours have gone since you lifted the quarantine sign from your front door and the sound of coughing followed by a very messy sneeze echoes through the house.

Are any of these familiar?