Hi everyone! Sorry it has been so long. The little man and I have been battling colds since Christmas, and I think we actually passed the same one back and forth a few times. Here we are, three weeks into January now, and I finally can muster up the strength to get back on the computer and type out a blog. The little man is finally starting to feel better, too. He ended up with double ear infections. We are on round two of antibiotics now and the worst thing is when he gets so worked up that he coughs so hard that he barfs. All over me. And the rug. Oh the joys of motherhood.
I figure you’re asking, how do you do it? How did you get through the little man’s illness while you were feeling crummy yourself? Well, I’ll tell ya, it’s not as easy as your young-and-single days when you could drug yourself up with cold meds and hide under your covers all day long. No. You have another tiny human who feels just as crappy as you to care for and feed and cuddle.
Here are my 5 tips to survive your toddler’s cold when you’re sick yourself:
1) Survival is your number one priority. How do you normally feel when you’re first getting sick? You’re drained and you’re tired. You want to do absolutely nothing. However, your mini-me despite feeling crummy himself still wants you to get up and play with them. My solution: lay in the middle of the floor and pull a huge fuzzy blanket over your head. You can easily drift in and out of sleepy consciousness this way, and your kiddo thinks it’s the COOLEST THING EVER because you’re hiding… under a blanket-fort! Just make sure you have your baby-proofing up to date and close any doors you don’t want your kid venturing behind. I made it to nap time two days in a row of doing this, I just had to turn on Elmo’s World and shift every 20 minutes or the little man would get bored. (p.s. make sure he has access to plenty of toys too. Oh and don’t worry, hubs was in the other room sleeping off his night shift in case anything emergency-like would happen).
2) Speaking of naps… sleep when they sleep. Now’s not the time to stay awake during naps or burn the midnight oil cleaning up the day’s mess after they go to bed. You’re sick. They’re sick. Chances are, if they’re not feeling well, you’re little one will get up multiple times during the night in pain or coughing or sore throat or just plain scared because they don’t feel top notch. Even if your kid was sleeping through the night prior to this cold, 9 times out of 10 they will be waking up throughout the night. You need your sleep to get well! I’ll admit, I was taking 4-hour naps on the couch while the little man dozed in his crib and you better believe I was in bed by 8:30 after putting him down for the night. Shhh! Don’t tell my husband. He doesn’t know a thing about how much sleep I got that first week of sickness.
3) Share each other’s food. Now, this may seem counter-intuitive just because most people are like “don’t spread germs,” but I found this incredibly useful considering we were both already sick to begin with and having the same cold, if I didn’t want to eat it, neither did he. If I thought it was pretty tasty, he did too. The thing to remember with this, however, is that the moment you start to sense that one of you is getting better, STOP sharing food and start making separate meals. Wash utensils like a germophobe. Use hand sanitizer every 5 minutes. If one of you is getting better, you don’t want sicky to get the other sick again. I made the mistake of sharing a bite of oatmeal one morning when I was feeling better and got a third round of feeling yucky for a day.
4) The one thing about being sick that makes it so hard to get over having a cold is that you don’t feel like going outside or going anywhere to do anything. You stay cooped up inside. You both are constantly breathing in the same germy air over and over again. Your noses are stuffed up and either you can’t have a decongestant (the little man) or you’ve already exhausted your supply (this pirate mama). It is important to get outside. Get some fresh air. If you can’t make it outside, take a shower together with your kiddo and let the steam help clear your sinuses and wash all the gunk out. By this point you both should start feeling somewhat better, so go for that long afternoon walk. Let the shower water stay on for longer than your normal rinse. Toddlers are pretty resilient. Yours probably feels much better than you do because he is young and spritely and can bounce back quicker. Who knows, maybe watching him run around at the park or stomp all the puddles in the shower makes you feel a little better emotionally too.
5) Lastly, my favorite tip to surviving your toddler’s cold when you’re also sick is: the moment you start feeling better, relax with a movie on the couch with a BIG GLASS OF WINE. Or a hot toddy. Or [insert feeling-better drink of choice here]. If you’re feeling well enough, a glass of vino may make you relax enough to just not care much anymore about your lingering cold and tend to your still-recovering toddler with a smile. Instead of feeling frustrated because- ohmigosh, he woke up again with a nasty coughing fit!- you calmly walk into your child’s room with some pain meds or milk and gently soothe him back to sleep. You breathe shallow so you don’t stir up the tickle in your throat that could put you into a coughing fit, lay him back down, and slink back to your couch to unleash the tickle into that fuzzy blanket you started out with two weeks ago.
And there you have it, my friends. These tips are probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but heck, they sure helped me through the little man’s first big cold. And you know what, we both survived!