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How to Dad: Dealing with Sickness

How to Dad: Dealing with Sickness

The thing I hate the most in the world is being sick. I hate waking up in the middle of the night in the middle of a coughing attack, I hate having clogged sinuses and I for sure loathe having an achy body.

Sure, these ailments might get me a day off from work, but there is no time for rest. Parents don’t get to take days off. Instead, we have to deal with our sickness while hoping and praying that our children don’t catch whatever it is that is running amuck in our bodies. Neither of my boys were lucky enough to have dodged that bullet this week, and I learned a lot in the few days of having two sick little boys at home. What makes sick kids so difficult? There’s no way around it; getting sick happens and it’s not fun. My once happy and bouncy boys were so lethargic, my wife and I longed for a messy play room and fits of giggles. Sure, emotional pain of watching our boys lump around on the couch and falling asleep throughout the day was pretty rough. However, that wasn’t the worst thing about our experience. What made it so hard was our 9-month-old son’s inability to tell us where he hurt or what was going on. He didn’t understand that his body sometimes gets sick and he just has to wait it out. He would scream and cry...a lot. We tried all we knew how to calm him down and we had about a 50 percent chance of calming him. In my opinion, having a breakdown in communication, meaning we weren't able to ask my son about the real issues, was the hardest thing. We headed to the doctor, and found out he had a double ear infection, conjunctivitis (pink eye), AND a fever. Once the doctor gave us what we needed, things started to turn around. In comparison, getting my 2-year-old the right treatment was a piece of cake. So, what can you do when you don’t know what’s wrong? This two-day experience taught me the most powerful medicine for your child is patience...well, aside from Tylenol. If you feel, even for one second, that you are having a hard time dealing with the screaming and crying, you lose. It’s already hard enough for your little child to understand what’s going on and they can’t have dad melting down too. The second most successful tool I had in my arsenal was handing out the snuggles. I have always loved lying on the couch with one of boys snuggled up on my chest. To me, it’s like a little slice of heaven. When my boys were sick, I was able to hold both of them, and calm them down when their bodies were cold and achy. It worked, and both us enjoyed the loving embrace of each other.

The main tip is to never stop being a dad. You might not feel fantastic, but neither does your child. You can either sit there and mope, or you can try and keep everyone upbeat and happy. It’s a hard task, but so is being a dad overall.

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