Before I was a mother I did a lot of babysitting. I took many child development, child psychology and education classes. I worked in a preschool - and particularly loved the 18 month class. I had many friends with babies. I loooooved babies. I had endless amounts of patience for kids - especially sick, sad, tantrum-y, clingy kids. Stinky diapers didn't phase me. Spit up by the bucket full didn't phase me. I thought for sure that all that experience and education with babies and kids would leave me cool, calm and collected when the day came that I was a mother and my kid was sick.
Color me wrong.
Looking back now I should have known something was off with Madeline, but I just chalked it up to teething. She was teething, but she was acting different. We were at her Guppy swim class last Wednesday (June 29th) and she wanted nothing to do with the nursery rhyme games we were playing. She didn't want to "swim" after her rubber duckie. She didn't want to play in the bubbles. (The swim class is held in the heated therapeutic pool that's used primarily by arthritic seniors and handi-capable individuals. It has water jets like a hot-tub has and you can sit on the steps and the babies like to play with the bubbles.) She didn't want to laugh and "talk" to the other babies and even started whimper-crying when the instructor tried to play with her. Instead she just wanted to lean into my chest, put her head on my shoulder and play with my necklace. She felt warm, but not enough for me to worry. The other parents looked at me with pity, "poor baby" "teething is so hard" "I remember those days" were some of the comments I got.
When we left the Guppy class she pretty much went back to her normal self, so I just assumed her clingy behavior had something to do with teething mixed with a developmental thing. All babies that I've known have gone through multiple stranger-danger phases where they're really bashful and ONLY want mom or dad. I took her home, changed her clothes and put her down for a nap.
The Bean that woke up from her nap was different than the one I laid down 90 mins prior. She was a FUSSY-MUSS!! Tantrums over every.little.thing! The yelling and growling and squealing was like nothing I'd seen her do before. There were (more than) a few times that I looked at her and asked, "What is your deal?!" I was at a complete loss. My girl has always had a flare for the dramatic, but she's not normally so angry.
I trudged on, counted down the minutes until Jeff got home from work hoping that he would bring our Bean-girl back from the abyss, and was disappointed when our resident "Daddy's Girl" didn't return when her Daddy walked through the door. So, we struggled through dinner, bathtime, pajama time, story time and I collapsed on the cough with an audible "Phew!" when I finally put her down for bed.
30 mins after she fell asleep I heard, over the monitor, the first signs of her cold. Snoring like a dude. Darth Vader mouth breathing. I, still in denial, laughed at the sounds coming out of her room and thought her teething, or maybe even allergies, were making her snore. About an hour after that, though, the coughing started. The type of coughing that was caused by drainage down the back of her throat. The type of coughing that would end up waking her up every 2 hours or so. ALL.NIGHT.LONG. (for the next two nights.)
The next day when I'd put her down for her nap she's sleep for about 15-20 mins before coughing herself awake and then giving up on the nap all together about 15 mins laters. A sick baby NEEDS to sleep to get better, but thanks to this stupid cold she wasn't able to sleep.
Saline spray? we used it.
Nose sucker? we used it.
Vicks on her chest, back and feet? we used it.
Hyland's homeopathic cold remedy? we used it.
Humidifier? we used it.
Nothing seemed to help. I felt sssooo helpless. I was less than cool, calm and collected. Not only was I paranoid that her cold was actually some yet-to-be-discovered llama flu, but I was also sick. So, not only did she need sleep - but so did I. And since she wasn't sleeping, either was I.
In reality, she was only really - REALLY - sick for 2 days. It came on fast, hit her hard, and then she started to get better. She was still suuuuuuuuuper snotty, I still needed to suction her nose, she was still taking crappy naps - but her temperament and personality was pretty much back to normal after those two days. And, two days after that she started taking good naps again, and stopped waking herself up at night, so her mood improved even more after that.
I was not a fan of this cold. And wasn't stoked that she shared it with me. But we both survived. I need to dig around in my dresser and find my big-girl-panties, though, for the next time she's sick because if she's sick with something worse than a cold I can't be FUH-REAKING out, thinking in worst case scenarios, when all she has is the flu (or strep throat, or chicken pocks, or some other totally benign childhood illness) and all she needs is her mom to be cool, calm and collected and take care of her.