November 9, 2010

Six Reasons Why Caring for a Sick Toddler is Like Having a Newborn

Caring for my boys when they were tiny (ok, not so tiny) infants was difficult.   They were born in February 2007 and February 2009.  I didn't dare take either of them out of the house until they were well past six weeks old and spring had sprung.  In addition, my older son had colic.  (I was going to type "a bad case of" but really, colic is never anything but bad.)  As a single mom, I didn't have an extra pair of hands to help prepare meals, hold the baby while I showered or entertain my toddler while I slept between his brother's hourly feedings.  It was a small price to pay for the joy the boys have brought me and our family. 

Now that the early days are in the past, those challenges are behind me.  Or so I thought until Liam recently came down with a high fever.  After 48 hours of constant care, it was easy to flashback to life with a newborn.  Although he weighs 30 lbs, Liam was once again completely dependent on me for comfort.  I quickly remembered some of the tricks I used to get through days (and nights) when I was alone with my babies.  Since Liam was miserable and screamed if I put him down, it wasn't too hard to see the similarities:
  1. With daylight streaming in the windows I see how truly dirty my house is and there is nothing I can do about it.
  2. The TV remote, telephone and extra pacifier have to be placed within arms reach.  Anything is likely to be recruited as an end table.
  3. I learn once again that it's possible to read a magazine with one hand.
  4. Every few hours I am able to put him down for a minute or two.  I have to quickly decide whether to use this time to eat or use the bathroom.  There is no time for both.
  5. I would do anything if this little one could tell me exactly what's wrong and how I can make it better.
  6. Time feels like it has stopped.  From the window I watch for my neighbors following their daily routine just so I know that it hasn't.
It just goes to show that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  I'm glad that I was able to be with Liam when he needed me the most.  I'm also glad that he is feeling much, much better now and has returned to his typical activities of playing trains and climbing the pantry shelves.


  1. I'm glad Liam is feeling better. Your list really sums things up nicely.

  2. Glad Liam is feeling better...sounds like you handled it like a pro!!

  3. So glad he is feeling better. And so sorry the older one had colic. I was lucky that neither of my kids had that, but as a single parent, I can't even imagine. My son was really sick when he was littler as well and that is such a tough thing to handle on your own. So I am glad to hear you are all on the mend.

  4. For sure. I think the first 3 months of my son's life were the worst. I was all alone, no help, no one I could reach out to, a two year old and a newborn. Similar to you. I have not had a child so sick, they need me to hold them constantly, but I hear you. There is nothing tougher. I am glad Liam is better now. DId he have an ear infection, perhaps? Those are nasty!

  5. See Lara, this is where it is evident you are a brilliant mama :)