Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Coping with a cold while taking care of a toddler

I've never had a difficult time putting life on hold to rest when I get sick. Work, play and everything can wait -- when you're sick, you need to focus on getting better. Stay home. Cancel everything. Go to bed.

Unfortunately, this philosophy does not work after you have a baby. Because your job? It never ends. You are on duty all the time. No matter how bad your head hurts or how plugged up your sinuses are, your child still needs your attention.

This was me on Friday of last week. I woke up at 3am with a sore throat and tried to convince myself that it was an allergy attack, but deep inside I knew better. It was a terrible, miserable summer cold. Ugh.

Ideally, I would be able take my daughter to her grandparent's or auntie's house on a day like this. Ideally. But our family does not live close, so this is not possible. Boo.

There is a certain threshold of sickness in which my husband would absolutely have to stay home to help me. I was that sick back in January, with something that was not the flu but sure felt like it. This time, though? It was just a cold. No fever, no aches, just the quintessential common cold. I was not sick enough to warrant a missed work day on his part, but sick enough that I wondered how I was going to face the day ahead.

This was new to me, so I had to figure it out as I went. This is how we coped ...
  • I did not cook. My daughter lived on cold turkey, olives, cucumbers and fresh fruit all day. She didn't mind (in fact, she liked it), and it was a relief that I did not have to turn the oven on. I usually like to offer her more variety, but when I'm sick ... forget it!
  • I let her watch TV. I'm not a big fan of TV for kids under the age of three (and please understand that this is not a criticism of those who let their young kids watch TV; we have just decided that for our family it is not the right choice), but sometimes you have to let things slide. I did not have the energy to play, and turning on the TV was the only way to keep her occupied while I zoned out on the couch. We watched two episodes of Sesame Street, one Veggie Tales movie and several episodes of Drop Dead Diva (this was my pick). Oh, and can I just say that I officially cannot stand Elm's World? So. Very. Annoying. Elmo is OK in other Sesame Street segments, but Elmo's World is off the charts aggravating and almost a little creepy if you ask me.
  • We both stayed in our pajamas all day. I knew we were not going anywhere, so why waste energy getting her dressed (which actually requires a lot of energy these days, because she has very strong opinions about her clothing)?
  • I took Sudafed and Advil. I know lots of paleo folks like to avoid this stuff at all costs, but I am not one of them. I do whatever I can to stay away from pharmaceuticals when I am well. When I am sick, however, I just want to feel better. Taking a decongestant helps me function, and the Advil reduces my sinus inflammation. This might not be the choice for everyone, but it works for me.
  • We soaked up some rays. On day two of the cold, it was super sunny and warm. We spent the morning in the backyard, taking in all the vitamin D we could. My daughter splashed around on her water table and moved rocks from one side of the patio to the other. I sat in a chair, sipped coffee and played games on my iPhone. I am pretty convinced that the vitamin D played a big role in keeping the cold short. Plus, it was good for her to get outdoors and stretch her legs after being cooped up inside the previous day.
  • Carl had an appointment Saturday morning, so even though it was the weekend I was still on my own until almost noon. In the afternoon, though, he cancelled his plans to go sailing and took over baby duty while I took a nap. If it weren't for his help, Saturday would have been another really, really long day. So, if possible, get your husband to cancel any non-essential plans so you can rest!
  • In terms of home remedies, I did the apple cider vinegar thing for the first time. Just a tablespoon of ACV in a mug with hot water. You know, like a cup of tea. As soon as I started sipping, my sore throat disappeared. I'm sold! I also warmed up some homemade chicken broth and forced myself to drink it. I actually really love homemade broth, but there is something about drinking it when I am sick that kinda makes me, well, sick. I don't know what it is. But, I know it has healing properties so I forced it. Just one cup though. That is all I could take.
The cold continued into Monday, but I was able to tolerate the symptoms so we could pretty much carry on as normal. I was no longer contagious or miserable, just stuffed up. Oh, and the whole ordeal taught my daughter how to blow her nose. Now she is constantly grabbing tissue, holding it up to her cute little button nose and saying "nose, nose." Hilarious!

How do you cope with colds and other illnesses while simultaneously looking after your kids?

1 comment:

  1. I know what you're talking about Elmo's World. I can't stand Mr. Noodle!

    ReplyDelete

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