Blogmas Day 16: What to do with a Sick Toddler at Christmastime
As a parent, I am certain you look forward to the dreaded winter cold/flu/stomach bug as much as I do. Are you sensing my sarcasm? Good. If there is one thing that can throw my anxiety over the edge of somewhat-manageable to insane, it’s my child having a fever. I don’t know why these set off every alarm in my body, but they just do. I can’t sleep or even relax when she’s sick. I anticipate being up all night, so I stay up all night. Y’all, I am 100% aware of how crazy this sounds and is, but it’s the #truth.
As a teacher, I thought my immune system could handle toddler viruses. I teach 7, 8, 9, & 12 this year and they’re germ/hormone riddled. It turns out I’m just as susceptible as any other human and that being surrounded by tweens does not give me a super power. Regardless, I would so much rather be the sick person in my house than Caleigh.
Last winter, Cal came down with what might be the worst case of hand foot & mouth disease in the history of people. I mean it. We had to get her face swapped for the CDC at our pediatrician’s office. It was GROSS. I didn’t even want to photograph her because she looked like a leper. What I (daresay) like about hand, foot, & mouth is that after the three day fever period, it’s just yucky. It doesn’t hurt. Foul? Yes. Painful? No.
As of Thursday, Cal was diagnosed with yet another double ear infection. We thought Amoxicillin would help, but her fever continued to raise until this morning. We returned to the doctor to find that she needed the next step up in medicine (which will definitely cause gnarly poops). Either way, she’s been fever free all day and I’m glad we went back to rule out other things.
Needless to say, we’ve spent a fair share of time at home. Here’s how we spent our time:
- You don’t need to be sick to stay in cuddly, themed jammies all day, but it was a bonus. I feel totally fine, yet have been in flannel red snowman set since 1:00pm.
- We made gingerbread play doh! This was super easy, toddler friendly, and fast. Plus, it smelled amazing. The recipe called for:
- 1 cup of flour
- 1/2 cup of salt
- 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup of water
I ended up adding 1-2 more tablespoons of water and tripling the cinnamon. I just wanted a darker color and bigger smell. I’d argue that mine was cinnamon play doh rather than gingerbread. Caleigh also helped me with these ingredients; she’s getting really independent with the hand mixer! The making went quickly and the playing took a while. We used cookie cutters and our regular play doh accessories. We have a pizza set that she really loves. I think the only downside is that this is a single color, so it doesn’t have the visual appeal of multi color play doh. Overall, this was a great way to spend an hour and a half. The clean up was easy and I put it in a freezer bag to see if I can save it. (I might be planning a little something for our elf, Tinsel, tonight and this!)
- We read holiday books. I know, shocking. We love reading so this can easily take up hours for us. Tinsel brings Caleigh a “new” book regularly, so we happen to have an influx of titles on our hands. (New = I rewrap them every year and vary which ones she receives annually.) We have been very into counting, so while we read, we counted snowballs, ornaments, reindeer, etc. I’m excited that Cal is also learning to count backward from 10-0! So with the variations of regular counting, counting in Spanish, and count down, we spent a while with our Christmas books!
- We talked about the North Pole. Caleigh has so many questions about where Santa lives and how Tinsel gets to him. She flat out will say, “Talk to me about Santa”. Today, we talked about chimneys, how far away the North Pole is, who lives there, and how cold it is. Then, she told Tinsel everything she learned. If we had more time, I would have asked her to draw or color with me maps of the North Pole and Santa’s workshop.
- We sang. My girl LOVES to sing and right now, Frosty is where it’s at. We will sing the same song on repeat 1,000 times a day. This is fun for me for like 15 minutes and then I give her a microphone and ask her to sing to her stuffed friends (or Tinsel).
And probably the one that’s the most likely to be judged – television. We don’t EVER stay in an watch tv instead of doing things because we like to be out and about, but when your child needs rest and relaxation, we have go to shows and short movies. I’d like to note that we did not watch all of these today, but they are our holiday favorites:
- Olaf’s Frozen Adventure – praise sweet baby Jesus that we saved this on our DVR last year. We watch this one A LOT. I happen to like the music, so I don’t mind this on a daily basis!
- A Charlie Brown Christmas/It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown – we love all things CB and Kozy Kids (where Cal spends most of the her days) is doing a theme of good ole’ Charlie this season, so we’re in it. The second option is more like a combination of Christmas shorts, which we like because it’s easy to break up into chunks.
- Bumble Nums Christmas Episode <– This is on YouTube. The Bumble Nums are three non-speaking shapes that spend 7-10 making a recipe with a secret ingredient that they must procure. There is a “Cooking Countdown” for 10 seconds, which we yell wit vigor (and have learned to actually countdown I think).
- Super Simple Songs Christmas <– Again, on YouTube and there are multiple different “episodes” that range in time. I like the variety of animation and the songs really are simple. They reinforce what we’re already singing at home.
- Mickey Mouse Clubhouse’s “Mickey Saves Santa” – if I have to hear the Santa call ONE MORE TIME, I may ask Santa to erase this episode from the interwebs.
- Frosty the Snowman: we love this song and book, so it only makes sense that Karen would melt our hearts.
- Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966 version): the one I love with Jim Carey is a little too scary for us right now, but we love Thurl’s voice!
Ok, I have to go medicine-up my toddler and get her to bed as soon as I possibly can. I wish I had a VAT of champagne (also a pro-tip: lubricate your patience with whatever you need!).
Good luck and I hope you and yours stay healthy,