Like you, I'm busy. Life moves fast, and a I can't drop the ball. As a teacher and a mom, I’m surrounded by adorable, virus-laden sneezers 24-hours a day. Vicks asked me to share my experience of how I recently fought the phlegmy fight and won. Here's how my day played out. Can you relate?
9:17 PM - My daughters are sleeping, tomorrow's lunches have been made, and lessons have been planned. As I sink into the couch, the scratchy throat that has been whispering to me all day ramps up to a roar. I followed my usual cold-prevention regime - regular hand washing, getting lots of sleep, and eating healthy. Even my ironclad teacher's immune system can't filter out every germ. Would a glass of wine help fight this off? Sigh, probably not. I wrap myself around a steaming cup of peppermint tea and try the power of positive thinking.
9:49 PM - I can ignore it no more. One of those sweet, little booger machines I call students has passed something on to me. This cold is coming on ferociously. I’m already coughing and I'm achy. But, it’s too late to arrange for a supply teacher. Besides, I’m the only one overseeing play rehearsal after school. Sometimes, a sick day is just not an option. I need something to alleviate the worst of my symptoms and help me get comfortable enough to sleep. I dig out the kids' humidifier and elevate my mattress to keep the fluids draining away from my stuffy head. I also take a dose of Vicks NyQuil COMPLETE in the hopes of getting a good night's rest, then I head to bed.
5:30 AM - The baby needs to be fed, so I stumble to the kitchen and become very aware of my sinuses. Before I was an adult, I never thought about them, but now, every time a cold hits, it’s this area that bears the brunt.
6:23 AM - Baby is now settled, pre-schooler is still sleeping soundly, and a steamy shower has cleared my sinuses...a little. I am a warrior - I will prevail! Or, at least, I will make it through today without being a total mouth-breather. When I was pregnant with my first, I discovered the effectiveness of a saline nose spray. I grab my spray, whoosh out those nasal passages, and get myself in gear.
7:40 AM - Fortified by extra vitamin C, fresh coffee, and a warm breakfast, I’ve made it to work. I’m armed with a package of tissues, hand sanitizer, zinc lozenges, a soothing thermos of soup (soup really does soothe a cold!) and a dose of Vicks DayQuil, just in case I need to bring out the big guns to help tackle my day.
10:15 AM - At morning recess, I survey the throng of boisterous kids, wondering which one brought me down. Luckily, I’m keeping it together. I’m definitely feeling better than I did when I woke up. I'm winning, so I guess I can’t complain, considering Canada’s flu season starts as early as October and runs until May. I’ve done well to remain germ-free as long as I have.
12:15 PM - I’m catching up on emails, sanitizing my hands before and after touching the keyboard. Do you ever notice cold symptoms get worse when you sit down? My sinuses are pounding out their drum solo again and my head is aching. I drink some extra water (fluids are my friend!) and I find time for a brisk walk. Movement always clears my head and keeps me from wallowing in my cold symptoms.
5:45 PM – I’m home, and it’s time to feed those hungry kids. All hail the mighty crock-pot - at least I have a hot dinner ready and waiting. Brimming with snuggles from the little one and endless chatter from the three-year-old, this is the best and busiest part of my day. I rush about, cleaning up spills, managing everyone’s food intake and focusing on my girls. This is the best reason to keep on marching, sneezing be damned.
6:00 PM - Sneezes erupt from the littlest member of my family. Running eyes and nose. Another one hit.
7:03 PM - Baths and lunches are done and it's bedtime for the girls. And now I have to tend to a sick baby. Like all moms, I just can’t check out to nurse my own sniffles. I’m the captain of this ship. Thankfully, I have an arsenal of home treatments and some over-the-counter medication. My best advice is prepare a cold and flu survival kit ahead of time and keep it ready and waiting. Here's what I keep in ours:
9:12 PM – I’ve made it through the day and I am finally ready to rest my congested head when my husband comes home. “Babe, I’m not feeling well.” Oh no. Batten down the hatches – man cold approaching! This is why I always keep my kit on hand filled with all the essentials. You never know when you'll need it!
DISCLAIMER: This post is sponsored by Vicks Canada. Before you take medications, it’s important to know what’s actually in them. Always read the label and if you have further questions about the product, please consult your physician, pharmacist, or call the 1-800 number on the product. All views and opinions belong to the author of this post.
Like many people, I'm a fan of studies that support my choices in life. For example, I've chosen to be a great believer in the studies that claim two cups of coffee per day is healthy for me. And those studies which suggest I drink a glass of wine most nights? Thank you. I was also thrilled when the gluten-free craze was debunked - may bread and I remain friends for life.
So, as a mom who gave birth to an eight pound baby and subsequently, her ten pound sister, you’d think I’d be pleased with the study claiming heavier babies do better in school. But as a teacher, an education specialist and someone who spends a lot of time talking to families about their children’s success, I say this study is utter nonsense. Well, not the study itself, I'm sure the researchers did their due diligence and drew their conclusions to the best of their abilities. I have no doubt that they were able to identify a correlation between birth weight and school success, but really, is that a message we want to go spreading around?
I’d be horrified if a parent or a student worried their birth weight had any bearing on their school success. I truly believe that effort, attitude toward learning, self-esteem, emotional intelligence and a myriad of other traits within the student’s control are far more important to a student.
There are studies that link everything from larger breasts to blue eyes to height with a higher IQ. I am wary of any study that suggests intelligence and/or school success is somehow fixed at birth or affected by physical traits.
I think every student has the potential to be successful. A great teacher connects with learners and brings out the best in them. A strong student follows their passions, is creative, inventive and a superb problem solver - all skills that can be taught, practised and improved upon.
I refuse to believe that a person’s intelligence is fixed; brain power is not some stagnant measure remaining unchanged throughout our lifetime. We know the human brain is plastic, constantly growing and developing, making new connections and building new neural pathways. Sure, nature has a part in creating the foundation upon which learning is built, but nurture has a far greater impact on school success.
If parents want to give their child a leg up in the world, they should focus far less on things like birth weight and eye colour, and far more on positive interactions with their kids. Nourish kids, talk to them, encourage them to solve their own problems and take some calculated risks. Let kids play. Let kids find their passions. Look after their emotional well-being. These are things can truly impact your child’s future success.
Whatever your child’s birth weight, they were born a natural explorer and a continual learner. I say, refuse to let your child be pigeon-holed by some ridiculous finding that links an arbitrary characteristic to their future success!
As my favourite headmaster of all time, Albus Dumbledore, explained to Harry,”It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”