The first time your baby is truly sick, you panic. You worry about every degree of fever, stress over their food intake, and just generally fuss the entire time, especially at night when all of the symptoms are amplified by the hour. The second time, you feel more prepared although it still makes you feel slightly overwhelmed. Seeing your child in pain is something that you can never get used to. The third time? You’re a pro. You are wiping a nose with one hand while loading a dropper with medicine in the other. You know which PJ’s are comfy and which ones itch, which cup is the easiest to drink out of while laying down, and which movies are the ones that will facilitate a nap.
This is my third illness this month.
I have earned my pro wings whether I like it or not. Jp is feeling nothing short of bottom-of-the-barrel awful again -for the third time in just a few short weeks. He has a cough that would break your heart into a million pieces, a runny nose that is red and swollen, a fever that teeters just below the brink of being scary-take-me-to-the-ER level, and he is overall miserable. If this had happened a few months ago I would have been running around and throwing him in a bathtub, panicking, and calling the pediatrician 4 or 5 times. Before the viral infection, Jp had only had one other illness that was bigger than a cold or teething woes. He had one sole ear infection that we caught very early. So for me, a few months ago, this was all quite new and frightening territory in my parenting.
Nope, not this time. I got this.
We’ve been keeping him as comfortable as we can and keeping the fever at a manageable level without over medicating. He sounds a hot mess but I am calm, cool, and collected and he is feeding off of that. I think that is the key to mothering a sick child honestly. Normally, I think he feeds off of my sense of worry and stress and is even more cranky and irritable. This time, aside from riding that fever line, it’s been pretty calm in our house. Because Mommy is calm, Jp is calm, and because we are calmer than normal, Dad is calm, too. It’s been a pretty uneventful toddler sick week so far. I’d be on my knees thanking the skies if I didn’t think it would stress Jp out.
The poor dear. I feel so terrible for him. No child deserves to be sick for the better part of a month. It is just so thoroughly unfair. To convey how used to the process he is at this point, when I went to give him medicine last night (which I only do when absolutely necessary since the process is so upsetting to him and I hate to make him feel that way when he is already sick and miserable) he didn’t even really fight me on it. No matter how horrible he has felt in the last month…when it came down to the medicine, he fought like a tiny tiger. Last night he simply cried a little but it wasn’t the dramatic and very nearly traumatic event that it usually is. He has either figured out the the medicine helps (which knowing my son and the cause and affect comprehension deficit there, I hate to say but..), which I highly doubt, or he just knows that he can’t win. His will to fight is broken by having to do this so frequently this month. Poor little guy. I hate it as I love his unwavering sense of spirit in every one of his quirks but I have to admit, it made last night a lot easier.
Everything about illness number 3 has just been easier.
Everyone is calm, Jp is as comfortable as he can be, and the best part is there is little to no uncertainty. As Moms, we tend to “hear hooves and search for Zebras“, which if you aren’t a person that is knowledgeable of the medical field, this means, if you hear hooves (symptoms) it is usually a horse, not a zebra. Instead of trying to diagnose Jp with some issue, I’ve been treating the symptoms and keeping him calm and happy. That means I haven’t touched my own Iphone in two days, but hey, it’s all in the name of love, right?
It’s so funny how as parents, we simply evolve and change and, in turn, become calmer and better Moms and Dads. The first of everything has us running around reminiscent of chickens with our heads cut off and by the third or fourth, we are old hands, full of sage advice and tidbits of wisdom. I love the evolution that takes place in us. We go from feeling that everything in the world can hurt, injure, or harm our child, to seeing them as the resilient beings that they truly are.
My heart breaks for my poor little guy that is sick as a dog for the third time this month.
But I do know this time that he will be okay. He’s a big boy now who is building up his big boy immune system and truth be told…if he’s anything like his dad, he needs to get used to being sick early anyway. Chris never met a cold he didn’t like (and by like I mean drag home). 🙂
I'm just living minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day.