The season is upon us: winter is coming. Which means you’ve probably already dug out the winter coats and the first pair of gloves your little ones will lose this season, and, like all parents of school-aged children, you are bracing for the illness onslaught sure to wreak havoc on your household and your sanity.
Surviving cold and flu season with children can be done, but it takes knowledge, patience, and a bounty of tissues and disinfectant.
We partnered with Clorox to classify the many types of little monsters your kiddos may morph into when they are struck by winter’s germs. Keep your eyes open, and you can be prepared for the worst.
Habitat: Whampires are rootless, parasitic creatures. As such, they typically encamp anywhere that is in close proximity to a caring adult “host.”
Appearance: Whampires closely resemble puddles of tears and discontentment, and are the most emotional of the cold and flu season creatures.
Description: Most of the year, Whampires are nocturnal creatures, only revealing themselves in the darkness of bedtime or naptime. However, during colder months, Whampires can be found at all times of the day. They drain their loved ones’ patience and sympathy, leaving them a shell of their former selves, exhausted and unsure of how to proceed.
Habitat: Tissue Hoarders congregate anywhere boxes of tissues can be found. Look for snot-covered mountains of paper products, and you’ll find these sniffling creatures.
Appearance: A swollen red nose is the telltale mark of a Tissue Hoarder.
Description: Tissue Hoarders are single-minded creatures, content only so long as they are building a pile of tissues. They are known to consume an entire box in approximately 10 minutes, and then will move on to the next. If no tissues are to be found, Tissue Hoarders will resort to using their own sleeves. If asked to throw used tissues in the garbage, Tissue Hoarders will instead begin cramming them in their pockets — to the chagrin of loved ones who must later pick bits of tissue out of the washer and dryer.
Habitat: Screenzillas can be found huddled in front of the blue screen of any electronic device, often in an otherwise dark room or inside a blanket fort.
Appearance: Screenzillas are best known for their quiet demeanor and wide, blank stares. That is, as long as they are in front of the screen. As soon as the device is taken away, the eyes narrow, the gaze becomes frantic and the reptilian screeching begins.
Description: Screenzillas are terrifying creatures, but with a little time, these ghastly beasts can return to regular children. They often respond well to a snack, a snuggle, or some other gentle transition back to the living.
Habitat: Feversteins can often be found lying in bed, both shivering and sweating.
Appearance: A Feverstein is a sad-looking monster. Its skin is clammy and alternates between pale and flushed in tone. Feversteins may flash a weak smile, but will mostly exhibit lethargic indifference.
Description: Feversteins generate the most sympathy of all of the cold and flu season beasts. They asks for little, which worries their caretakers, because those in charge of young ones are used to a more high-energy, high-demand type of relationship. A Feverstein will limply attempt regular activities, wholly unsuccessfully, and will gamely nibble on popsicles while it gets prodded relentlessly with thermometers.
Habitat: Boogarts are everywhere. EVERYWHERE. And they leave a trail of crusty mucus in their wake.
Appearance: Boogarts are immediately identifiable by their endlessly dripping noses. Snot stripes down each sleeve further confirm their presence.
Description: Boogarts are friendly beasts. They love holding hands and giving slimy, wet kisses. You’ll want to wash the boogers off your hands and face after these affectionate interactions.
Habitat: Hacking Hobgoblins frequent public places, particularly libraries, schools, restaurants and airplanes. If you spot unidentified spray on a surface, know that a Hacking Hobgoblin has been there.
Appearance: Red eyes and a hoarse voice are the calling cards of Hacking Hobgoblins.
Description: You must always be on guard when in the presence of a Hacking Hobgoblin. This monster adores coughing in others’ mouths, and is a master of surprise.
Habitat: Gravelly Gremlins can be found whispering raspy requests in a parent’s ear.
Appearance: A Gravelly Gremlin looks like a regular child but sounds like Darth Vader.
Description: You may hear, “Mahhhhhm, can IIIIIIIIII haaaave some toooooast?” in a voice better suited for an elderly smoker, but, rest assured, your Gravelly Gremlin sounds worse that she feels. Be prepared for tons of conversation, because these little monsters love to hear their creepy new voice.
Habitat: Your bed.
Appearance: Your child.
Description: Take a close look at the monster your cherub has become — ensconced in the favored refuge of Mom’s bed, coughing into her pillow — and know that if you aren’t careful, in the very near future you may well join its ranks.
Are little monsters taking over your household this cold and flu season? Clorox is there to save the day. With Clorox disinfecting products, germs don’t stand a chance.