Surviving with a Sick Toddler and a Side of Comic Relief


It’s never a good time when your child is sick. While you’re surviving, the days begin to blur into one another. Even the hours seem to just pass you by and at times you may feel so unaccomplished. After enough time has passed, your child is finally doing well and you think to yourself – I totally accomplished a ton! My kid is alive and well!

That was our family not too long ago. Now that my daughter is slowly getting better, I can look back and find some comic relief on how we all got along.

Plan ahead for the ill child.

Yeah, right! How often can you actually plan on having a sick kid? Almost never! But this time, we did have a small head start. She had two major blowouts at daycare on a Thursday afternoon. For an 18-month old, blowouts are almost a thing of the past so we knew something wasn’t right. While I was still at work, I got several missed calls from my husband. Another not-so-good sign. I mean, how often does he actually have any time to call me on a Thursday afternoon just to chat? Turned out, all those loose stools left a mark – the diaper rash.

So the planning began. Who can take what days off because who knows how long this will last? Grocery lists got made because we’ve done this before: Pedialyte, homemade diaper rash cream ingredients, bananas, crackers and applesauce. Check, check and check! Oh – and don’t forget food for the stay at home parent!

Call the doctor and survive the first day.

After a night of about four diaper changes, a new day began. Let the sleep deprivation begin. Now that my daughter is a toddler, a good night’s rest is pretty common. However, while she was sick, we were reminded of those sleepless nights. My husband called the doctor’s office on Friday to let them know what was going on with our daughter. Our instructions were to wait and see how she is doing on Monday. Great, a whole weekend of who knows what. There were suspicions of something going around at daycare other than a virus, so we were hoping to get some answers a little sooner. That was dad’s scheduled day off. Daddy daycare. Hey, they survived! We kept in touch with our family online calendar. Notifications such as, “BM – loose and wet 1:30 PM” appeared on my mobile phone throughout the day.

Survive another day. Oh my goodness! We got in!

Before my son’s swimming class, my husband all of a sudden remembered that we had an option to pick up a stool kit from the pediatrician’s office. Why didn’t we do this on Friday? Of all the things to slip his mind, this one had to be it! But I get it. He was on the carousel of diaper changes, Pedialyte and toddler entertainment all day.

Moving on, I called right when they opened at 9 AM because now it’s Saturday and they will close early. Our pediatrician isn’t on duty but another one is willing to assess if we even need a stool kit. After a series of questions, we all realize that my daughter is right on her way to dehydration! Now, of course, they want to see her. She’s still crying with tears so we don’t have to go straight to the emergency room, but she hasn’t peed in at least 14 hours! How did I miss that? Oh yea, it’s probably because I’ve been changing diapers every two hours or so. I had been looking for wet diapers, but the hours kept passing that I lost count in between all the dirty ones. 

The kids come first, always.

The nurse asks if I can be there in 30 minutes. Sure, I can! I haven’t freshened up for the day, but that’s ok. I’m texting my husband to meet me at the doctor’s office and he gently reminds me that I don’t have the car seat! Luckily, by the time I hop in and out of the shower and get everything ready, my husband rolls into the garage and we’re off. Leaving the neighborhood, I comment to my husband how I haven’t left the house without make up (and by make up I mean BB cream to hide red patches of eczema and LipSense to have some color and look alive) in about a year. Then I looked at him and said, “Kids come first, right?” I laughed at how selfish and self-conscious I felt for that split second. In my husband’s supporting words, I looked like “a mother who is concerned for her sick child.”

With all silliness aside, this was by far the longest either one of my kids have been sick. It wasn’t until the seventh day that her diaper rash healed and on the tenth day that her stools started to look somewhat back to normal. We did collect a sample for the lab and in the end, it was some stomach virus after all. With her appetite getting back on track and her attitude intact, this experience now gets added to a “Dear Alexis” email for her to read in years to come.