Start with a few nights of broken sleep, akin to the newborn era. You know, the kind where you probably get about four hours of sleep total (not completely awful) - but those four hours come in chunks of an hour here, seven minutes there, a half hour on the chair while holding a sick, coughing baby. Then add in the fact that the baby won't sleep much during the day, thanks to the aforementioned cough, which not only compounds her crankiness (and yours), but also leaves you with additional hours during which you have to entertain that baby. Because she isn't feeling good, there isn't much that entertains her, either. Sprinkle in a stretch of days where you're more or less housebound, due to illness and FREEZING RAIN, aka the most depressing weather ever. And, of course, don't forget that you're pretty worried about that cough (especially after your husband is all like, "Huh, kinda reminds me of when I had that bout with asthma," and you automatically envision a life of nebulizers and inhalers and never sleeping again). You go ahead and take the baby to the pediatrician, even though she developed an intense phobia of the doctor's office right before her first birthday, which manifests in her screeching and clinging to you like a monkey from the second you step in the exam room until you leave. (Doctor was all, "I managed to get some good listens to her breath sounds...in between the screams.")
Finally, add in a vicious windstorm during the first nap she's taken in almost a week that has lasted more than 45 minutes. The windstorm will knock over your neighbor's trash cans and canoe, stored conveniently below the baby's bedroom window, and the baby will wake up crying and still exhausted and you'll remember that these same neighbors are starting construction on an addition to their house within a couple weeks which means the baby will probably just never sleep ever again and she'll also cough for the rest of her life because you are a negligent mother who is somehow missing the one antidote that would fix the cough and her sleeping and bad weather and everything and BAM! See that frayed, stringy mess right there? Is it your frizzy hair that hasn't been trimmed in countless months? No! It's the end of your rope!
THANKS UNIVERSE I GET IT NOW
And seriously, thank you, friends, for your helpful suggestions on how to soothe a cough. We tried all of them, including but not limited to: a humidifier, steamy baths, cold air, honey, homeopathic baby cough medicine, saline drops + Nose Frida, consulting the pediatrician, Vicks on her chest, Vicks on her feet, extra Vitamin C, extra fluids, no dairy, wedge in her crib, keeping her active, letting her rest, and sacrificing a small lamb. To all of these, Rowan's response was:
|COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH|
(at least she learned to cover her mouth?)
The coughing has (maybe? potentially?) lessened over the last two nights, but I just can't believe how intense it's been - and how quickly I go from blissed out to raging monster, mostly due to the lack of sleep. I really underestimated how much that affects me. Not that I can really do much to change it while it's happening - seems like a situation where knowledge doesn't equal much power. Like: Yeah, I know I'm beastly when I'm tired, but I wouldn't be tired if it were at all possible to get more sleep! Just add it to the list of reasons why having a second child is mayyybe not the smartest idea (down the line, that is).
But that's a decision to consider when I'm a little less tired.