He came home from day care on Wednesday with clear snot running from both nostrils and a mild fever. The cough started at dinner time, making his little body spasm and hunch forward from the force. I cajoled him into eating four bites of applesauce and two spoonfuls of yogurt. He didn’t even want a bottle or to nurse.
The Monkey is sick. Those words still have the power to make me shiver in terror. In any of the previous 11 months of the Monkey’s life, teething or illness meant a week of sleepless nights spent upright in a chair, near-continuous steam sessions in the shower, and nasal spray.
Thursday morning, snot and mucous still streaming from his nose and coughs getting worse, we beat the doctors to the clinic for a check-in. No fever. No ear infection. Lungs sound good. It’s a cold. Make sure he drinks liquids, keep him warm, wipe the snot, use saline solution up his nose, and baths can help clear the mucous. Make sure the humidifier is on. We could try Vicks baby rub. All were things we were already doing.
We were just going to have to ride it out.
Thursday night, we lingered over tub time, hoping the steam and warm water would help clear some of the snot. I suctioned the visible snot out of his nose, swabbed out a couple of boogers, and added saline solution. I gently rubbed the baby rub onto his chest before zipping up his pjs. I elevated his head a little more than usual, and turned the humidifier on high.
I prepped myself for a long night: I laid out my warmest bathrobe and wore fuzzy socks to bed. I had a spare blanket on the side table in the hall. I even had a bottle filled with room-temperature water ready to go in the microwave case he couldn’t nurse when he woke up.
It was for nothing. For the first time, the Monkey had a cold and slept normally. I woke up refreshed, surprised, and happy. Because its anecdotal evidence that he’s growing out of some of his structural issues. Because it means that the little bumps in life won’t hit him as hard as I had imagined. Because, selfishly, it meant that I wouldn’t be a zombie for the next week.
His symptoms peaked Friday, and we kept him home from day care. His nose was a constant stream of snot … and it may have ruined my sweater. The entire day he clung to me. He didn’t want to sit NEXT to me, he had to sit ON my lap, partially to one side, so he could lean back and rest against my chest and arm. We watched two episodes of “Sesame Street” and half of a “Word World”. He wouldn’t sleep in his crib for naps, but when laying upright against my chest or when held in our Ergo carrier, he slept for an hour. My potty breaks were met with tears, hiccups, coughs, and wails of “Mama! Mama! Mama!”
In other words, he was hyper-clingy. By the time Hubbs got home, we were both exhausted.
He couldn’t nurse that night. I had to pump and give him the bottle of expressed breastmilk. He laid back on his pillow, guzzling as quickly as he could. When he was done, I handed him his binky, told him I loved him, and left the room. He slept until 2 a.m., nursed quickly and easily, and went back to sleep until 8 a.m. Saturday morning.
And while he was still extra-clingy over the weekend, his symptoms improved. He was good about taking naps. And he slept normally at night. THIS is why many parents are nonchalant about their kids getting a cold. Its hard, yes, but not soul-crushing. I never understood it before. For us, colds were harbingers of doom. But this? THIS?
This must be what NORMAL feels like.