Toddlers can be a handful at the best of times; if it's not tantrums, breaking things or insisting on walking at a snail's pace in favour of the pram, it's those dreaded illnesses.
Since Joseph was born over a year ago, he has managed to avoid any major illnesses, however, he recently picked up an ear infection which left him flat out for days.
The problem with having an ill toddler is that they can't vocalise exactly what the problem is, yet at the same time, they're vocal enough to let you know they're in discomfort or that something is wrong.
Most mothers know their child well enough to know when something isn't quite right with, even if they can't put their finger on it. Perhaps their sleeping is disturbed or they're more restless than usual, or it could be they are not eating, or maybe they are just generally unhappy.
These are my tips for dealing with an ill toddler once you've spotted those telltale signs:
1. Most importantly, if you are in any doubt about your child's health then please get them to the doctor as soon as you can. Children can deteriorate very quickly and no doctor should ever make your worries seem insignificant. Most doctors are more than happy to give your child a check over, even for peace of mind. However small it may seem, or even if you're not sure, never feel embarrassed or like you're wasting their time.
2. Make sure your child is well-hydrated and offer water as much as possible, but never force them to drink or eat. If your child has a sickness bug, they might not feel like eating and that's fine – just continue to offer plain foods like buttered toast or crackers. If you are worried about the amount they are eating or drinking, call the non-emergency line for advise or take them to the doctor.
3. Lots of cuddles! The power of a cuddle should not be underestimated – take advantage of this downtime before they're off again.
4. Don't push yourself to get out and about if you don't have to as rest will be the biggest help for recovery, especially if their sleep is disturbed.
5. Try to stay calm and ask for help from friends and family if you're struggling, even if it's bringing over some food so you don't have to worry about cooking. Most people can relate to having an ill toddler and how hard it can be and will be happy to lend a hand.
6. Remember that this too shall pass and keeping both yourself and your child comfortable during this testing time is key. So throw on your PJs and slippers, forget the washing up and get the kettle on.
I want hours upon hours of delicious sleep followed by hot cups of tea, reading my book and nothingness. But I'll have to get up now to comfort, feed, clean, dress, entertain, love, laugh, play, and repeat.