We’ve all been there. It’s 4am and you awake to the sound of retching through the baby monitor. You cross your fingers (and toes) that your toddler isn’t poorly, that perhaps you misheard and it was a dream.
Then the sound of coughing, vomiting and crying. Loudly.
This is what happened to us two days ago. We peeled ourselves out of bed and went into Willow’s bedroom to investigate. The smell hits you first, the curdled milky-type puke. Like stale, dried on milk it’s smells bad and it slaps you across the face like a wet fish. On reflection, I suppose giving children their bedtime milk when they’re poorly isn’t the greatest idea after all!
Willow had been off-colour before bedtime. But, fell asleep reasonably quickly and seemed happy enough. Quite a few of our friend’s children have tummy bugs at the moment, so after being all together at a party recently it’s no surprise that the germs spread. As a parent, you quickly learn that children become poorly, frequently and as they grow so does your experience. But, it never stops the worry.
Willow can’t keep food down. Or much liquid, but she still has a huge appetite. Whatever she eats we see it again about forty-five minutes later. She’s a determined soul i’ll give her that. Not even vomiting out of her nose and having puke spread across her forehead is putting her off her next slice of toast. Proud doesn’t even cover it!
Dave and I have been together for six years. We have seen each other poorly on a few occasions but luckily it’s never been anything *that* serious. Knowing what is going to help a person who is poorly is of course massively helped by the fact that they can ask for a drink, or maybe make that sensible decision (based on the last vomiting session) that the digestive biscuit is maybe not a good idea. Whereas toddlers cannot. Well, young toddlers like Willow anyway.
What we have noticed when our Children have been poorly is that it often creates petty rows or disagreements. Caused by tiredness or worry and anxiety these spats are a way of release. You both want what’s best for your child and you also both want to help, to sleep and to have a break from it for five minutes!
Splitting the night into shifts seems like a good idea until that 4am swap over and all of a sudden that pile of dirty, sick-covered laundry becomes the catalyst for the World War three. But then something happens. You find yourself working as a team. Offering to clean up the mess whilst the other does the bath, or saying you’ll stay up with the patient whilst the other is yawning and has a headache from tiredness.
What’s become clear to me is that being a parent is hard work. Those split decisions that HAVE to be made, well just have to be made. The worry that your child could in effect deteriorate quickly due to a fever or dehydration sometimes gets too much, but ultimately you have to be there and support each other. So we do we take turns and although we still occasionally row, it’s soon forgotten because we both know it’s down to the stress and worry.
We all have strengths and we all have our weaknesses. Dave is a great listener, good at completing mundane tasks without so much as a moan and also, getting out of bed for those horrendous 5am starts, where as I am good at calming the children, more confident making the practical decisions and I seem to have more of a sixth sense when it comes to giving the children assistance or knowing what they may need. Either way, after this latest round of vomit, we’ve both realised that we need ALL of these things for our little Family to ‘work’ effectively.
We have been really lucky with our Children’s health. Willow has never been poorly before really, so this is something new to her. She is having to learn the hard way that sometimes people vomit, or perhaps, even break wind subsequently following through. It must be so confusing for them!
Sickness bugs are horrible at any age. But seeing your child go through one is worse than having it yourself. You want to take it away, wrap them in cotton wool and protect them from pain and discomfort. All you can do is cuddle away the tears, offer your love and syringe the Calpol into their mouths.
Being a parent is tough sometimes, but what is apparent is that despite the concept of ‘competitive parenting’ and the focus on achievements, when our children are poorly this week has shown me that us parents stick together offering empathy, help and advice and I think that’s just awesome.
Get well soon Willow. The Crowtherclan needs you!