In sickness and in health

I pledged to stick by my husband in sickness and in health nearly 12 years ago.  Just over 20 months ago, I made the same pledge to my child, even though it wasn’t vocalized and I wasn’t dressed nearly as nicely as I was on my wedding day.  And sometimes this unsaid pledge is tested.  This week has been one of those weeks.

Tuesday evening, I put a happy toddler to bed.  She was a little bit fussy while I was making dinner, but otherwise we had a good day on Tuesday.  Wednesday morning, she woke up crying two hours earlier than usual.  Typically my kiddo wakes up slowly and talks herself awake.  When she cries herself awake, something is wrong.  I gave her a few minutes to see if it was just a bad dream and she’d settle down.  The crying only escalated.

I walked into her room and knew she wasn’t feeling well.  She felt hot when I picked her up.  I hoped it was from crying and not a fever. But, I was wrong.  She was sick.  Her fever topped out at just over 102 and wasn’t affected by doses of Tylenol.  We called the doctor.  She was feeling worse by the hour and just plain miserable.  Turns out she has a common virus that affects little ones during summer months and causes a high fever and blisters in her throat.  Yikes!

The last two days have been some of the most difficult days for me as a parent since her newborn days.  She’s not the first toddler to get sick.  I’m not the first mother to be exhausted from constantly taking care of her and not being able to put her down.  But, she’s mine, and this is the sickest she’s been in her life.  And it’s been hard.  I’m writing this Thursday evening after putting her to bed, so I readily admit that everything seems worse to me right now because I’m tired.

The truth is today she was feeling better.  Her fever broke overnight and so she felt better Thursday and even played a little bit. Eating and drinking got more challenging as her throat has gotten more sore, but overall she felt better on Thursday and I’m thankful for that.  I’m hoping that Friday will bring an even healthier baby girl.

And, as you might have guessed, I’ve learned a few lessons these past couple of days.

The first is that Mickey Mouse Clubhouse isn’t super annoying, but since it’s the only show my daughter will watch (and I’m letting her watch it more while she’s sick), it can definitely get to be a bit much.  I am not sure I’ll ever get The Hot Dog Song out of my head.

Fortunately we’ve not left the house since I’ve been lucky to keep up with hygiene the last couple of days.  Let’s not even talk about makeup and hair styling.  I do much better at getting ready when I’m the one who is sick.  I’ve learned that my child wants me when she’s sick.  She will go to my husband if she has to, but I’m the preferred snuggler and caregiver.  While that’s flattering in some ways, it’s frustrating in others when I need to do simple tasks like go to the bathroom.

I’ve also learned that even though my child can now communicate to me what she wants, needs and feels, I can still get frustrated that I don’t know what to do to make her feel better.  She doesn’t always know what to ask for.  In those moments of frustration, I’d sometimes like to disappear or go away somewhere.  Even the other room.  A couple of times I’ve wonder why I had the bright idea to have a kiddo.

This has been the scene at my house a lot these past couple of days.

But then she says something like, “Mommy, snuggle,” and my heart melts.  Or I look at her eyes and see she’s not feeling well and want to walk a mile over hot coals barefoot to take it away.  I wish that just snuggling with her would make it completely better.  Snuggling at all has been a nice benefit for the most part, though.  Usually she’s too busy to sleep on me or snuggle with me for very long.

I’ve also learned that just sitting on a couch snuggling with a sick kid all day can be exhausting.  You’d think I would have more energy because I’m not up doing as much right now, but that’s not the case.

Finally, I’ve learned that I do have this same pledge to my daughter that I made to my husband.  I will be with her in sickness and in health.  I will help soothe her as much as I can when she’s not feeling well.  And I will play with her when she is healthy.  We are in this life thick and thin.  Though I may be exhausted from it sometimes and though it can be really stinking hard, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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