The adults are left with sleepless nights, turned into zombies.
There's often not a lot you can do for your sick toddler. Love and Tylenol. Patience and calm. The second duo is difficult when you are frustrated, worried, and sleep deprived, but trying to find a calm space when the boy is hysterical is essential. It helps to calm both parties.
Sesame Street Face: the boy is in love with Ernie
It's tough. The grown ups have to work; we have to get along with each other; we have to take care of stuff. When a child is sick, those things are disrupted. Dishes pile up, the menu is neglected, food is not cooked, the vacuum remains dormant in the basement. Tempers can flare, and one parent usually winds up bearing the brunt of the sick child. In this case, it's me. Nursing seems to help him when he wakes up coughing; it gets him to at least try to breathe through his nose and helps to move some of the gunk. It relaxes him. He is able to go to sleep for an hour or so until he coughs and wakes again. daddywhumpus seems to be on panic mode when they boy is sick at night; almost too worried to be able to reason, and his nerves translate. It's probably something to do with feeling so fortunate in his excellent care and relatively health if remarkably tiny beginnings and a superstition that it could go horribly awry. That's a big part of parenting in general: a whole new category of worrying.
I can handle the night-time parts with relative calm, but my patience is worn to a shiny nub by morning, and once the household is up, my tolerance is gone. That's where daddywhumpus comes in with day-time calm.
He's at day care today. Baby, not daddy, and I made it in to work for a few hours. But I am wandering in a sparkly grey haze that is not as pleasant as it sounds, and I think it's time to go back home. It will probably be another long night.