What do you do when your kids are sick? I know, sounds like a disingenuous question, but this week was the first time we have had to deal with real sickness in this house. Prior to this our kids have had the occasional runny nose from teething and a few bouts with what might be called a cold. This week was an all out snot fest accompanied with terrible coughing and terrible sleep. It had just about put me over the edge as I caught it right after Mason, but we are all on the mend and it has given me pause, and I have been thinking about sickness a bit tonight.
It started with Mace, he looked funny, then got the craziest green snot exploding out of his nose, then the cough. A few hours later I felt it hit me, and I mean hit me. Like a terrible dark wave of yuck. I rarely get sick, it has been years. I was almost bewildered by how badly I felt. And in the midst of my sickness, I still had to take care of them and work and do other stuff and, uh, function. It was not pretty for a few days and nights round here. The thing was, I could not help thinking of how badly they must feel. When I felt the splitting headache hit, I kept thinking there is no way their little bodies could be feeling the same as mine. And when a triple dose of Motrin dd nothing for me, I thought how awful it must be to not even be able to reason out that Motrin would not help. Then the cough took hold and I would hesitate and wince and try to hold it back to avoid the pain, and I heard them cough and thought there is no way their little bodies should feel as bad as mine did. The pleading looks they gave me while hacking up what sounded like a smoker's lung and the encrusted noses that I could not keep clean and the crying that would come out of nowhere as they shuffled around aimlessly with their Legos, it is a breaking experience.
I guess I have been lucky up until now, this being my first time of witnessing my children in pain that I was quite helpless to stop. I did not bring them to the MD, there was no fever, no indication that the sick, whatever it was, was not just taking it's natural course. I did not always feel as empathetic as I just outlined above, one night, my worst night, I actually yelled at them for climbing all over me as I lay on the couch with ever fiber of my body hurting. They just wanted me to hold them, but I just wanted to be left alone and for Tim to take it all over.
And he was great, stepping into night duty shifts to get us all through, making me tea and dismissing my bad behavior as part of the sickness.
The nights, I want to talk about the nights. In some way or another each of the boys have needed one of us to sleep with them at some point in the night. I doubt I have actually shared this here but we get in their crib with them, well, because we can. We are not overly tall/large people, and we seem to fit in there and we have no extra space, so that is what we do. In the past it has always been a rare occurrence but this past week it has been pretty frequent. I actually do not mind it terribly until limbs start to fall asleep. The boys have never slept in our bed in our room, it just has not happened. So our sleep together time happens in their room. I also have this really strong feeling about taking one out of their room with out taking the other. It makes me feel bad, like I did as a kid when one of my sisters would leave the room, it was always for bad reason (asthma attacks, etc) and I always felt sad and awake.
So anyway, the whole disturbed sleep, us sleeping with them brought up a few things in my mind. Like, they really like sleeping with one of us. And that I hope they would not get too used to it because I do not really sleep when with them because, you know, they are toddlers with unpredictable movements and very pokey elbows and hard hard foreheads. But here is the thing, I really like sleeping with someone (my husband, of course) I like the feeling of his warthm, of rubbing his feet with mine when I wake from bad dream, of not being alone. I am not surprised they like sleeping with another warm body, it seems to be part of our nature to huddle. And it makes me a little sad that we cannot always be there for them, to cuddle up to, sick or not, and feel that safe warm protection that one gets when sleeping with another. I am hoping that when they do graduate to toddler beds, they find comfort in each other and we walk into scenes of them stuffed into a bed, limbs all askew, happily warmed by the one they once shared the smallest space with inside of me. Sure, I expect a few round house kicks to their brother's head (remind me to upload a clip of the one 3D ultrasound we did record...all peaceful until Mace took a huge hit to the head from Owen's heel. I half expected him to be born with a dent in his head from that one).
So, yeah, musing on sick children. I do so love them, seeing them hurting was a very hard and humbling experience. I hope to not have to see (or go through that) again anytime soon. Shut up, Murphy, you did not hear that.