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Starve A Fever, Cheerio A Cold - And Other Interesting Facts

Ok, as much as I’ve prevaricated and stretched the definition of “sick” to put off Maddie’s first illness as long as possible, my luck has finally run out.

This isn’t teething, it’s not a reaction to a vaccine, and it’s not a food allergy.

This is good, old-fashioned, bona fide snot-running-out-the-nose, congested-little-cough sick.

Maddie started a delicate, ladylike cough a few days ago and I naively chalked it up to teething.  What can I say; my kid’s 13 months old and has no teeth, so what do I know?  Other than the little cough, which troubled her not one whit, she had no symptoms, so it seemed as good a guess as any.

Yesterday, however, I woke up with a cold and judging from the sad little sneezes and Camille-like coughs coming from the moniter, I wasn’t the only one.  When I walked into the room to get Maddie up she was standing smilingly in her usual corner of the crib, anticipating Mommy’s Big Arrival.  I walked over to her and, as if she suddenly realized she didn’t feel good, she crumpled into a little heap and began sobbing.

Is there anything more painful, more knife-piercingly hard to take than your baby’s sad little eyes looking up at you as if to say, “Mommy, why don’t you fix this?”

We spent some time cuddled up in the big bed, just rubbing backs and talking quietly, before she felt ready to face the day.  She then spent the day alternating between feeling fine and going about her normal play, and turning on a dime to wilt, exhausted and fussy, where she stood.

Really, she’s not too bad so far; no fever, and the nose isn’t impacted, just a clear runny mess that screams, “Here comes the virus!”  Her eating’s a bit off, but so is mine when I’m sick.

Which brings me to the first Interesting Fact I learned today:  being sick is not nearly so fun if you’ve got another sick person to take care of.  All I wanted to do was lie on the couch and watch home-improvement shows while downing jello and feeling sorry for myself, but apparently Sick Days aren’t in the Mommy benefits package.  Walking two miles to fetch more baby cocaine – er – infant Motrin, however, is.  So is making three full meals, only to have them strewn about the floor while baby screams.

And that segues into Interesting Fact number two:  apparently Maddie’s remedy for a cold is fruit and Cheerios.  She disdained her breakfast oatmeal, scarfed her cantaloupe, and spent the rest of the day eating fruit.  A whole peach, a whole nectarine, a whole banana, and oh yes, a whole box of Cheerios.  Ok, maybe not a whole box, but it sure felt like it with all the refills I was pouring.  Sorry, I still don’t get the Cheerios thing.

And for some perverse reason, naps get cut in half or eliminated if baby’s sick.  I guess the face is too stuffy to make lying down comfortable, but come on!  All I wanted to do today was sleep; how could she not feel the same?  So we spent much of our time wandering around the house looking for something fun to do that didn’t require energy (on my part) or standing up (on her part).  At one point, we even turned in desperation to the bathtub, Maddie playing for a good half-hour in the water while I tried unsuccessfully to pretend I was at a day spa.  Five minutes of fun here, ten minutes of reading there, fifteen minutes of fussiness over yonder.  With that constant game of Let Me Wipe Your Nose While You Scream Like Elmo Got Rubbed Out being woven in and out of the day.

Which brings me to my last Interesting Fact:  did you know that when a baby sneezes, this superhumanly long strand of snot comes out?  And that baby simply stares, mesmerized, at said strand?  And then starts to play with it?

My baby girl’s got it bad, and apparently the whole house must pay.

Here’s hoping it’s a 24-hour cold.


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