In the past two weeks, Lila has had:
- coxsackie (aka hand foot and mouth, which is a better name but not by much and is also not the same as hoof and mouth)
- four new teeth break through
- an ear infection
- a cold / cough
This girl has been put through the ringer. And I'm not going to lie, so have we as parents! It is so difficult to see your little ones in pain or discomfort of any kind, and to deal with their clinginess/ fussiness / unhappiness / lack of appetite. I know now that is all compounded when it also affects what you can / can't do with an older child, and you risk them getting sick too. We did our best to keep the girls apart as much as possible throughout this time, and Rebecca has been a rockstar about it, but you can't tell a one-year-old not to go near her sister with whom she is obsessed, and - oh right - they share a room.
Here is how we have survived this time of plague in our 2-bedroom apartment:
- As always, my husband and I have become expert divide and conquerors. We have switched off bedtime duties, medicine-giving duties, tackling the social agenda of our older daughter while ensuring Lila stayed appropriately quarantined, middle-of-the-night wake-ups, and then some. I couldn't do it without him.
- Go to the doctor! With Rebecca, I never wanted to bother our pediatrician. I know some people go in the opposite direction and are there for every bump, bruise or sniffle, but I always felt like my reasons to go weren't worthy of a visit, until it was too late and we had That Awful Night where she was up screaming at 4 AM and we didn't know what was wrong or what to do. This time I was able to tell quite quickly that Lila was suffering. She was at the doctor early with her pinkeye, which made us aware that she was on the verge of an ear infection too and let us be ahead of it for the first time ever! We avoided That Awful Night and just had a few pretty bad ones instead, which I will call a win (albeit only by a small margin). You know your kid - if something feels wrong, there is no harm in having it checked out. Yes, it took me 4 1/2 years to figure that out for myself.
- Whatever it Takes - At night when the girls are sick, all rules go out the window. We take them out of the crib. We cuddle more. We spend nights on the couch together or even in our bed (we are def not a cosleeping family - I can barely handle sharing a bed with my husband!). We do whatever is necessary to get through the night as comfortably for everyone as possible. For Rebecca in the passt, this has included middle of the night popsicles to soothe an angry throat, The Goodnight Show special on Sprout On Demand to lull her to sleep, and even the iPad in bed. Whatever. It. Takes.
- Use the space you have - The shared room has not been a problem at all yet. Rebecca has been a pretty great sleeper and, like everyone says, slept through Lila's various nighttime antics. Lila, though, has only gotten bigger, smarter and more aware since moving into the bedroom from her - ahem - palatial surroundings of the living room. The glider stayed in the living room for the past year, and has been where she got all her bottles, and where we would bring her if for any reason she woke up before an appropriate time (as deemed by us, not her). As luck would have it, we got rid of our glider three weeks ago, just days before the plague began. This has left us without a comfortable command center from which to navigate this time (but with a TON MORE ROOM - damn those gliders are big!!). As such, we've learned the optimal way to lay on the couch so that our feet are supported, chest is elevated leaving Lila at a bit of an angle. and she isn't staring out the window at the lights that keep her awake. We make our space work - and the next day I search real estate listing for hours. Just kidding. Kind of.
- Ice has been a lifesaver for us. Lila thinks it's fun to play with and suck on, and it clearly has made her more comfortable throughout the coxsackie and teething portions of this time. It also helped hydrate her, however little, which brought me some comfort. Ditto to Pedialyte freezer pops - Rebecca begs to eat those, and we have to literally tell her to be happy she's not sick and doesn't need them. Other lifesavers include: Tylenol. Motrin. NoseFrida. Boogie Wipes. Bulb syringe. Bathtime (always a winner, even when sick). Pacifiers. Lovies.
I know, none of this seems like rocket science - but it has been our reality recently, so I'm sharing here. The good, the bad and the ugly, right? And I promise, it has been pretty ugly. Here's hoping the worst is behind us - though I bet a pretty long Winter is ahead. Sigh.