Here we go again… I am leaving behind my laid back, relaxed, summer self and morphing into a bad ass, battle ready WINTER WARRIOR!

My mission is always the same: FOR MY KIDS TO MISS AS FEW DAYS OF SCHOOL, PRACTICE AND GAMES as humanly possible.

Yes it’s true. The war has begun and I am ready to fight it to the end. Every cold and flu season, I engage in an all-out-knock down, drag out battle with … germs. I want to clarify that I am not a germaphobe, I don’t obsess over handwashing and I clean my home mostly with organic products, not bleach. BUT during this time, I do make an ugly turn. I become Jack Bauer on 24, trying to outsmart and outrun all their evil plots and schemes to take my family hostage. Because we all know it’s not just one kid missing one day of school or one practice; no, they slowly pass on the virus to one another; one by one they fall (why can’t they all get it at once!), disrupting the delicate school, work, sports balance that is so carefully constructed each week. The path of destruction is wide and vast. Carpools toppling over like dominoes for weeks on end. Work piling up at my job, school work and tests that will take weeks to catch up on, groceries not bought, chores not done. The house is a wreck and we are all miserable.

That is why the war must be fought.

As the weather cools off, my preemptive attack heats up. “You – little one – shoes on when you’re outside” {even if days before it was OK to run around barefoot}. “TAKE a sweatshirt, take that sweatshirt, grab a sweatshirt, it will be cold later, bring a sweatshirt.” The words repeated so many times, even the dogs are rolling their eyes. Yet somehow, I still arrive at the end of practice and there she is, in the freezing cold – with NO SWEATSHIRT!

Most mornings, I get up at the crack of dawn to create a concoction of fresh fruit, yogurt with probiotics, super greens, and even extra ground up vitamin C. Yes, the mornings begin with an all-out planned first strike! I need to get up 1-0 on those nasty viruses and bacteria before the kids head out the door. I am the morning smoothie police, checking cups and monitoring the sink. “Did you drink your smoothie? Whose cup is this? Where is your cup? Did you pour it down the sink? Drink your smoothie, DRINK IT or you won’t walk out that door. Drink that darn smoothie or you will lose your phone for a month!”

I hear a sneeze from somewhere in my home … The attack level has been raised, we are now entering a code yellow. My entire body goes still. My breath slows down. Oh crap. This is it. They’ve got a foothold. I up my game quickly. I am juicing oranges, pushing vitamins like drugs day and night, blending smoothie concoctions so laced with healthy powders and Emergen-C that they transform to bizarre colors and tastes. At this phase, I’m pretty sure the entire family conspires to dump them in the sink when I’m not looking. I run special baths with essential oils, immunity teas morning and evening, and oh gosh, don’t get me started on sleep. We all know it’s the best way to keep your kids healthy. I become the sleep patrol. Every second the clock ticks past 9pm and they aren’t in bed, my blood pressure rises a notch. I will do whatever it takes to get them horizontal. Whew, in bed now. Oh S**T, is that a cough? I run in, feel the head, NOOOO, code blue, code blue. I am losing the battle. I get a sinking feeling. Ugh.

Next morning. The doctor’s appointment has been set. The carpools put on alert. Coaches will not be called until we absolutely know for certain. But this is not looking good. We are headed to the doctor. There are strict instructions in a doctor’s office – no sitting, no touching, no breathing in deeply – very easy to catch a secondary infection. That night, I up my game – Humidifiers, Vicks’ VapoRub on the feet, more blankets, less blankets, no dairy, teaspoons of Manuka honey, turmeric added to their food. I warm up the car, I spray their rooms and dot their temples with more and different oils – one for colds, one for congestion, one for cough.

Whew. It’s exhausting, frustrating and downright disappointing as inevitably the colds and flus win out. I may have saved a practice or two, or a day of school here and there, but I can only fight them off for so long. My delicate balance of sports, carpools, school and work comes crashing down. The coach gets called, the boss is notified, I get the annoying school alert on my phone. Alas I have lost this battle, but the war is not over, it’s a long winter. And as I lay on the couch, cuddled up with my sick child watching cartoons, I think to myself, defeat isn’t all that bad…and then of course I get up to blend her a smoothie.

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