Beware; toddlers and the common cold…
I should have realised yesterday. The warning signs were all there. 4am wake up call, runny nose, the sniffles, clinginess. Surely…surely I thought, he can’t have caught ANOTHER cold?
Since the beginning of winter Beau has had 6…7…maybe 8-or-more coughs and colds. I don’t think there is anything worse than seeing your child ill and suffering, struggling to sleep at night or sneezing throughout the day.
He will catch a cold, usually after going to the childminders or soft play, get sick…but not in the traditional sense. When Beau gets ill he goes completely hyper; he doesn’t eat, doesn’t sleep and everything is very much FULL ON. He won’t just sit down and watch CBeebies, he’ll want to do the things that make him really happy (‘play trains play trains’), but with a much shorter fuse…leading to a total meltdown when the trains fall off the track for the fifth time in a row (and who can blame him?)
He’ll want to play and run around and dance (dancing makes him happy) but then seems to crash and burn – and fast. To be fair he actually does pretty well – he’ll just get on with it (whereas when I’m ill I think I’m dying!). Anyway he’ll shake off the cough or cold after a week or so then BAM a week later is hit by another one. It’s almost like clockwork.
In that week or so when he’s better, things get back to normal; we start getting back to a routine, he starts sleeping properly (no 4am wake up calls) eating properly (full meals as opposed to snacking) and everyone is a little happier, a little less stressed. I can actually get stuff done. The house is tidier, the laundry pile smaller.
When he’s ill, or when he’s starting to get ill my heart breaks for him – he can’t sleep because he can’t breathe properly, he won’t eat because he just wants comfortable, comforting food – or because his throat hurts. Trying to make him eat healthy, nutritious food (this kid won’t touch vegetables) is basically impossible, and because he’s not eating healthily, his immune system is more susceptible to coughs and colds next time another one comes along. Giving him multivitamins is akin to torture, apparently. I know this is all totally normal, I know this is how they build their immune system up and it’s only natural they should catch things when they start mixing with other children (I am dreading those impending head lice days) but seriously…give my poor little Beau (and his long-suffering mum and dad) a break!
Now I’ve touched upon it, I would just like to mention something about sleep – as that, or lack thereof is the main reason why I dread these colds that my poor little Beau is getting.
When Beau was born and I was suffering from some major sleep deprived hallucinations (the kind where all I could see was his floating head…everywhere – the effects of mixing champagne with gas and air and no sleep apparently), I thought – oh it will be fine! In a few weeks he’ll be sleeping through the night, no problem.
That time passed and I was all like oh I’m sure he’ll be a LOT better in a few months time and stop waking up all night every night. Nope. By one year old – surely, he has to start sleeping through the night at two? Erm…well no actually. He has only slept through the night a handful of times in the last two years. I have wrinkles where I never used to have wrinkles, pre-child days (I’m calling them laughter lines) and permanent eye bags etched on my face. The lack of sleep affects us all greatly. It has a real impact on mood, on happiness, relationships, my ability to do…well anything constructive and the lack of sleep obviously affects Beau too (I think we all know what an overtired toddler looks like when we see one.)
I actually feel hungover when I’m tired (but without all the fun and frolics from the night before). When Beau stopped having naps at age 2 I was momentarily horrified; he does now go to bed at 7pm as opposed to 10pm but when witching hour hits (around 4), things start to turn a little unhinged…
What I have learnt in the last year however, is that everything – EVERYTHING in toddlerhood, in motherhood is just a phase. So when things are really tough, they do, eventually get better.
When he’s not sleeping or eating properly and I’m sick with worry that he’s not getting enough nutrients or that I’m giving him too many sweets because I feel sorry for him – he will, eventually start eating proper food and start sleeping (well a bit) better. When he’s going through phases of refusing to wear clothes or shoes he does eventually start wearing them again (or I just let him go outside without – obviously when he’s not ill already). When he is ill I often cuddle him to sleep. And I’m making the most of this because before I know it, he’ll be off with his mates and bringing girls home (perish the thought). And the one ‘good’ thing about him being sick is all the endless snotty kisses and cuddles.
I love Beau fiercely; he encompasses my whole world and everything in it so for the moment, I’m just riding the storm, hoping he’ll get better quickly and VERY MUCH LOOKING FORWARD TO SUMMER.
Sorry if I sounded like a moaning myrtle in this post, it’s probably (definitely) sleep deprived related. Although I’m pretty proud of the fact that I wrote this at 4.30am on the floor whilst playing trains and watching Toy Story. If it’s one thing us mums are good at, it’s multitasking.