Surviving Sick Days with a Toddler

Friday, May 22, 2015

Lucca rarely falls ill but when he's down, he's down for the count. Since I've been down this road before, I've put together some survival tips for making it through sick days with a toddler.

1. Throw all routines out of the window. In fact, chuck them out of the window. This coming from a routine-stickler is very important. They're restless, they're whiney, they feel like shit. Your normally scheduled nap times and meal times do not apply to the situation at hand. So they want to cuddle up to you on the couch and sleep at 5 p.m.? So be it.
2. TV is your best friend. I've relied heavily on my cartoon crew over the past few days. Blue. Mickey. Dora. Elmo. Keep them running on a loop. This will keep your kid on the couch, resting (as they should be) and not have any desire to run around the living room while they're Tylenol starts to wear off. Sure, you can use books too. But come on, let's be real. When you're sick do you want to sit around reading novels? No. You want to get your PJ's on and watch trash TV.
3. Food is food is food. If they eat 6 goldfish crackers, 2 orange slices and half of a cheese stick? Perfect. That qualifies as breakfast, lunch or dinner. Don't put pressure on yourself to make the same meals they would eat when they are feeling normal. They don't want that shit. And to avoid the plate being thrown your way, give them what they want and what they'll eat in that moment.

4. Pants are overrated. You aren't going anywhere, anyway. No need to get your kid dressed, or yourself for that matter. But who am I kidding, you already weren't going to dressed so you're ahead of the game.
5. Accept advice/suggestions/remedies with caution. Your child has a pediatrician. If you have questions, call them. If you're worried, schedule a visit. People mean well,  and they generally do want what's best for you and your kid, but don't be overwhelmed with the advice. You don't have to be a bitch about it, just say thanks and move on.
6. Fuel up with coffee, wind down with wine. How else are you supposed to function? You need some caffeine to be a human blanket for the day and to deal with tiny, whiney demands. If you're lucky enough to put your kid to bed, head for the wine rack to get your recommended dosage of "grape juice".

7. Tag out. Chances are, your kid will favor one parent over the other when he/she is sick.  If you are the lucky parent that your kid has latched himself on to, you will feel like you have no love left to give after a 24 hour period. Every ounce of sympathy has been squeezed out of your being. Tag out with the other parent. You need a mental health break before you lose your mind when your kid wants to be in your lap AND out of your lap at the same time while demanding his 5th cup of milk and to watch Mickey for the billionth time. Let your partner take over for awhile so you can recharge and fill yourself back up, ready to be drained all over again.
If you are the "other" parent, don't take it personally. In fact, enjoy those brief moments of solitude and quiet and having your limbs to yourself. Don't worry.Your time will come.

Dealing with a sick kid who is normally running circles around you is tough. It's mentally, physically and emotionally draining and you can never be sure when the end is in sight. If you throw out all normalcy and just go with the flow, (I think) you can manage. It will get better and you can go back to wearing pants again. Or don't. That's okay, too.


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