If you follow me on twitter, I'm sure you are fully aware (and probably sick of) the fact that Alice has come down with a cold. Not just any old cold, a BAD cold. We're talking an up all night with a temperature for two days, unable to breath through the nose, coughing all night long cold. And though Dave and I haven't caught it ourselves yet, we are definitely suffering along with Alice!
The worst thing about a toddler being ill, is that they are just so different. Alice barely wants to play, gets tired after an hour of being awake, cries at the slightest thing. And it is just so heartbreaking. I miss my out-of-control, mischievous little toddler who throws the remote control in the bath and finds Mr Tumble hilarious (I find him a bit weird...). And I'm doing everything I can to help her to get enough sleep because I know that that's the real reason behind the cranky behaviour, but it's tough.
5 days after the emergence of the cold, she is recovering and getting a little more sleep than she was. Here's what I have found has helped over the past few days:
1. Embrace the chaos. no washing has been done, the washing up is piled high, I haven't washed my hair in nearly a week. But it's ok. All those things can be done later, chores can be caught up on (reluctantly). So relax and embrace the mess.
2. Accept that you are going to have no sleep. But bare in mind, even after the 10th time of getting up in the middle of the night, that your sick toddler is having a harder night than you. That no matter how many times you have to pick her up and comfort her back to sleep, it is her who is suffering most. Like number 1, sleep can wait. Sleep can be caught up on at a later date.
3. Go easy on everyone. Be kind to yourself, and make allowances for your toddler. I let Alice eat what she wanted, when she wanted it. She is sick and it won't effect her routine. So if she wanted cereal for dinner, that's what she had. The only thing I tended to stick to is the bedtime routine, and I kept her in her cot at night, choosing to sleep on her floor instead of disturb her sleep routine. But all the other rules were broken.
4. Don't be tempted to use every possible drug under the sun. Ok, so there aren't that many you can actually give to a toddler and calpol or neurofen are pretty good at controlling that temperature and aches and pains. But I found that raising the cot helped her sleep better at night, and steam was a great nose un-blocker!
5. There are some great, easy going activities you can do to keep you both sane. Painting, drawing, toy trains and Mr Tumble on repeat have been our favourites. Regular snacks with the teddies and lots of water and warm orange squash have helped too. And yes, our days have been a little monotonous, dull even, but that's ok.
Colds are horrible, nasty, evil little things that come along and take your happy little toddler away in replace of a sad, tired, cranky one who won't sleep at night. But no matter how hard you try colds, you will not break us. We survived this one, and when the next one comes, we'll survive that one too.