When A Toddler Get Sick (An Honest Poem that Does Not Rhyme)

tim chan —  November 24, 2014 — Leave a comment

When your toddler gets sick
It feels like the world will end
Absolute misery
It’s stupid and relentless

When A Toddler Gets Sick - An Honest Poem That Does Not Rhyme

What happened to my cute and cheerful daughter?
A common cold has turned her into a grouchy tyrant
If I don’t obey her commands
She punishes me with her incessant crying

It’s 2am
She has waken up every 15 minutes for the last 6 hours
Her coughs wake her up crying
And the crying only makes her cough more

Sick toddlers are unreasonable and demanding
“I need tissue!”
“No! Don’t fold the tissue!”
“Get me water!”
“I need to pee!”
“I need to blow my nose!”
“I want frogs!”
“Frogs? What frogs?” This seems like a reasonable question to ask
“My frogs!” She yells in between her crying and coughing
“Do you mean socks?” I desperately ask
My incompetence pushes her over the edge and she screams at the top of her lungs while swinging her arms madly around
My poor child – she is miserable
We are all miserable

“Stop crying!” I raise my voice and almost yell at her
Is that an unreasonable request for a sick toddler?
I am at my wit’s end
I feel like escaping

I wake up my wife and tell her the bad news
We need to trade
I can’t handle it anymore
She wakes up with a knowing understanding

I crawl back into my bed feeling like a failure
My wife and I wanted 3 kids
But this experience is making me doubt the sanity of that desire
Best not to think about that right now, I tell myself

Why am I even writing this poem in my head right now?
I hate poetry
This poem doesn’t even rhyme – so lame
This must be what happens when I am going crazy

Too soon it’s my shift again
“Dada, I want to sleep on your lap,” says my daughter to me
I look at my tired toddler curled up on my lap
Her nose and cheeks are red and dry from all the nose blowing
She is a beautiful mess

“Kiddo, I love you,” I whisper to my daughter who has curled up on my lap
Even when you’re sick and miserable
Even when you’re bossy and rude
Even when you act like a hysterical grumpy tyrant
I love you

The words of Jesus come to mind
“I was sick and you took care of me.”
“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matt 25: 36-40)
I’m not doing this for Jesus – He didn’t even cross my mind
I’m taking care of my sick daughter because I love her
But somehow, knowing that Jesus sees what I’m doing in the middle of the night comforts me
It’s like He is affirming me
Telling me that what I do is an act of love for Him too

Finally my daughter is sleeping
Soon I fall asleep too

Note: I wrote this poem 2 days ago during the worst of my child’s cold. Somehow we survived the worst of it… just barely. Did I mention that our 5-month old was sick before this, and she passed it to me, and I passed it to my toddler?

Anyways, if you are caring for a child with a cold, you may find these articles helpful. They were passed on to me by my cousin who is a pediatrician in Calgary, AB.
Treating Cough and Cold: Guidance for Caregivers of Youth and Children
Colds in Children