Tuesday, June 3, 2014

When the little ones are unwell...

**This post is by no means any form of formal medical advice. Please consult a professional for specific medical advice for your child**

Dealing with kids falling sick is not easy. It's the most horrible thing ever! It's so hard to see them all tired, weak and beat down. They're not themselves, you're not yourself - it's just a really miserable time. As parents, it's one of life's most difficult things to handle. And in true Bollywood style, I've said it every time my little ones fall sick - "Oh God! Please let it be ME and not them!"

Blocked little noses, sad little eyes, hot foreheads, drooling little mouths, lost appetites, and everything else miserable, that's what it was like in our home for the last week and a half. Little Miss and Little Man both took turns at being unwell. It's the onset of the flu season here in Sydney. It's such an irony that I used to L.O.V.E winters. That was before I was a mum. I loved winters and everything associated with the season - warm woollens, hot chocolate, snuggling under a blanket, being with loved ones inside a warm home - the works. [Oh and of course, wearing boots with a dress :-)] Now, it's more of a general nervousness and less of being a foolish romantic :-) And so the inevitable happened, both my little ones caught the bug. What followed were sleepless nights, constant checking of temperatures, lots of throw-ups, and untouched bottles of formula and bowls of food. Of course this isn't a first for us, but it gets us down every single time. This time around, it had me thinking and I said to myself, "I'm going to blog about this very topic!" I thought I'd list a few handy tips - both as a reminder for myself and for other mums (and dads) out there.

I've come to learn a lot from all the 'unwell episodes' so far. Here are my Top 5 tips -

  1. Stay calm! Easier said than done, I know. But in the simplicity of these two words lies the magnitude of it. It's so easy to be stressed, go into panic mode and bring the roof down when our precious little darlings are in pain or discomfort. It's our natural mum-instinct working over-time. It's okay. But what helps is to stay calm. I've learnt it now, I know it works. When I'm calm, my brain functions better, I'm able to think clearer and am able to be focused. It also radiates right off me and permeates the atmosphere, and funnily enough, the kids and the hubster are also calmer. And calm certainly helps, as opposed to chaos! So yeah, please stay calm!
  2. Trust your instincts. The usual suspects this time again for Little Miss, so we started her off on paracetamol right away. But then, I noticed some tiny red bumps on her legs and wasn't very comfortable skipping a visit to the doctor. Hubby wasn't as paranoid as I seemed, but we took her in anyway. Turned out it was some (harmless) insect bite. But at least my head seemed a lot quieter after that, no more of those scary voices warning me anymore, ha! So, safe is always the best choice here. If your gut speaks to you strongly, listen to it!
  3. Everything can be cleaned! I find this approach particularly comforting. I'm talking about the vomit, snot, spit-ups, half eaten food, etc, etc. Don't stress! It can all be cleaned later, promise. Yes, it does mean more work ( and not very pleasant work) but it can be dealt with. I constantly keep telling myself that the kids need me and my full attention. So I try not to get sidelined by that nagging "you've got to clean that mess!" thought in my head. It helps. There's a washing machine and all-purpose wipes for everything! (and a thoughtful and kind husband too!)
  4. Stay well yourself. Kind of a no-brainer this one, huh? It's like what the flight attendant tells you (you haven't been listening to those safety instructions??), in case of an emergency, put on the oxygen mask on yourself first and then attend to your child. Makes sense, doesn't it? I couldn't possibly take care of my sick children when I'm not a 100% fit physically. So that means, it's okay for me to eat. Yes, really. So all those mums I'd seen on TV who starve themselves because their little ones are unwell are not real. I need to eat to stay strong and, well, not faint on my frail little girl and break her little arm in the process, heaven forbid! And, totally not necessary for me to mention it here, but...I'm not the kind of girl who starves when upset. No ma'am. I'm the sort who eats more when I'm upset! There, classic foot-in-the-mouth syndrome. But hey, that's me! Point is, it's okay for you to eat when your little one isn't. In fact, it's quite necessary that you do.
  5. Be positive. Fevers, colds and sore throats are all part of growing up. That's how our little ones build their immunity in the long run. It's very very natural for us to get our nerves all tied up in complicated knots when our babies are even the slightest bit uneasy, in pain or in discomfort. But it's all just a passing phase. So, do all that your common sense dictates you to do and stay positive. Every thing will be okay and soon your little ones will be their bubbly, happy selves again!
And I tell myself to remember -
  • Loss of appetite is normal when little ones are unwell. So it's okay if my child isn't eating as much as they normally would or not eating at all. I have been told several times by doctors that this is absolutely okay, as long as they are well hydrated. So shoving "at least 1/4 of a bowl of porridge" into that exhausted tiny person's mouth will only mean more vomit to clean up!
  • Watching TV or playing on the iPad for a teeny bit more than usual is okay. If it means they're relaxed, warm and comfy, it's fine to let go a wee bit. Actually, the other day, when my sweet Sia was unwell, she fell asleep on the couch watching Play School, bless her! 
  • It's okay to give (stronger) medication (on doctor's advice) if required. We're all for letting their bodies deal with it best. But if it means they're unable to and are clearly finding it hard to cope, it's absolutely okay to succumb to a dose of antibiotics, of course, on the advice of our family doctor.
So these are this mumma's thoughts on dealing with little ones' sickness. What are your thoughts? Do you have any go-to tips and strategies? I'd love to hear!

Stay happy, stay blessed!