Yesterday, we sent Mr B to school thinking he'd had a fructose overload (he'd had more bruising in the last three days, circles under his eyes, and, er, rather loose stools in the morning).
Funny, the symptoms are similar to a stomach bug.
And sometimes that means he does have a stomach bug.
So, he was picked up at noon from school, and later puked on returning from picking up the rest of the kids (fortunately where it was easily cleaned up). Puking is not part of the fructose malabsorption symptom set for him (nausea is for some, but not for him).
Some days a crystal ball would be nice. Granted, he seemed fine in general - no nausea, just a little lower stomach crampy (usual with the fructose overload for people with fructose malabsorption), and really not much of that (he had to think about it before he said that was a symptom). No fever, no nada.
It was a sigh and an, 'oh, well,' mistake for him - error on our part, remedied as quickly as possible. He's cool with it.
However, wince for the kids (and staff) at school who are now proud potential exposees to the bug du jour. Dang. That's not something I like to do. At least it wasn't on purpose, I suppose. Not even out of necessity (say, no sick leave and no backup care available - I know parents who have to send the kids in if they're anything short of dying because they just have no backup option and minimal sick time/paid-time-off). Just misfire on the symptoms because they match the non-sick syndrome symptoms.
Last night was still pretty mellow, all in all - Nobody was in a big eating mood, and even when Miss R finally decided she was hungry, all she ate was a few scrambled eggs. Sick food, anyone? Actual bedtime was still something of an uproar, as everyone maxed out on mellow and shifted over to 'I shall express my affection for my siblings by making them laugh and squeal, and I'll make them laugh by trying to poke them in their privates' (gah!) Miss M ended up in Time Out (she and Miss R both respond reasonably to the Time Out concept, though that means we use it maybe once a month), where she raged and screamed for a bit, then climbed into my lap (I sit near her), where I reflected her need to make her brother laugh, and her distress that making him laugh by trying to poke his butt was inappropriate. It is the biggest laugh, but I did explain that sometimes people laugh because they're uncomfortable with what is going on, not because they're enjoying it. She thinks I'm crazy, but she recognizes that poking privates is not Safe, Respectful, or Kind, and therefore is against the rules.
She needed an uppie hug (for some reason the ultimate in I truly love you and accept you and am open to you as you are is to hug and cuddle them while standing - why this is better than hugging while sitting, or rocking them, or dancing with them, or singing to them, I don't know). And then she was all better, and calm, and ready to get her teeth brushed and get into bed.
Still, behavior is definitely improving with age, and we're still definitely in the lull.
Even in the lull, bedtime is often a challenge, perhaps to do with with the four-kids-two-same-age thing. I suspect it is easier if you have an age split the whole way down. Mr G and Mr B are easy. Okay, mainly easy. They need the same reminders each time. (Mr G, did you brush your teeth? Mr G, please stop wrestling with your brother and actually get in bed. No, don't complain that they started it, if you were in your bed, they wouldn't be starting it - they can't reach that high. Please put the book down and try to go to sleep. I know the rest are still getting ready, but you were tired this morning so you need more sleep, try to get some... which all just means I'm telling too much and not asking enough. Not that he objects to any of this, he is just quite prone to liking to read and liking to play with his siblings. I can't argue with that preference, it's good stuff. Just not Prudent.)
Mr B is mainly just in need of some physical outlet at that hour. If he remembers (which is most of the time, now), he does some yoga on his own before toothbrushing. He's rather proud of the fact that he knows some yoga and the kids at school don't (they used it in preschool as a way to help develop balance, coordination, body awareness, and for calming before naps - he has never forgotten, though he does use his dad's 'yoga cards' as reminders and expansion). Some yoga, and he calms down physically. He really needs the body work to function well. If he was riding daily, he'd probably be fine, too. 'Running' sports (like soccer) help a little, but they don't work enough of the arm and torso. Fencing is good, though. Swimming would be, too. But, for now, it is riding once a week and yoga most days. His new riding instructor took the information from the collagen disorders clinic to heart (that is, he only has two joint systems that are really loose - hip joint and fingertip joint - and those need extra work rather than less work), and has worked him really hard on posting and maintaining grip on the reins. As a result, he's moved in a month from being on-lead (instructor holding the lead line) while he trots and posts to posting and steering on his own the whole lesson. His hip strength has gone way up, and now his posting is quite vertical instead of forward (leaning forward happens when you don't trust your balance or strength at the hip, among other reasons). He looks really good, and he comes out of his lessons sweaty and satisfied instead of just a bit bored. Um, anyway, riding, good.
Bedtime for Miss M and Miss R is still a matter of leaping on each other, giggling, and trying to dodge the concept of toothbrushing. It's coming, though - when we get them to settle a bit, there isn't the fight over toothbrushing there used to be. Miss M's mouth is still sensitive (part of the collagen 'difference'), but she's usually willing to sit still and let us brush her teeth (the dentist wants us helping at least once a day, because kids often won't brush firmly or completely, which is catastrophic for their soft teeth). It used to be five different approaches to get her to open her mouth. (escalating degrees of mandatory-ness, up to the dreaded 'the dentist said' - she doesn't like the dentist, personally, much. Tolerates, but no liking.) Now, much better. But there's still the first-one, then-other problem of the same-age set. I get one to settle a bit and start moving in the right direction, and the other creates a problem that requires my attention, which then allows the first to go haring off in a new direction, and as soon as I get the second lined up straight I have to go catch the first before they get totally out of control, and while I'm doing that the second has taken the chance to go explore something else that caught their eye, so then I'm tuning that back to the intended trajectory for bedtime, meanwhile the other - was that the first or the second? - is off again on something else. Tag team on mommy, though they don't coordinate it, it is just that if you let go of the direction for a 4-year-old, they'll take their own. Fortunately I know it is a matter of being 4, and that the same would be true if my attention was taken by a younger sibling, it just wouldn't be quite so back-and-forth. I also know they'll grow out of it, so while I'm frustrated by it, I am not worried that they'll never learn how to go to bed. I figure eventually I'll be reminding them that sleep involves putting the book down and turning off the lights. Just like Mr G, just like I was as a kid, just like ep was, too.
And eventually we grow up enough to appreciate sleep. By the time they're 40, they'll understand. Meanwhile, we herd the ferrets toward sleep, and they do eventually get there, and there's less grumping all around as they wear down the pathways that lead that direction. It isn't a problem, it just is what it is. Them meeting their loudest needs (movement and interaction) while we try to get them to recognize and manage the quiet needs they don't hear so easily (dental care and sleep).
And maybe tomorrow we'll be back to the lull properly, if nobody else gets sick.