Because Babies Get Sick

Photo: The snow is gone from the front yard, but I haven’t taken any pictures since Sunday. The Husband and I are still giggling over Ursa Major’s sledding technique, which is to get into motion and then lay totally flat in the sled and ride that way. When he comes to a stop, he sorta just stays there in that position for a minute, and we don’t know why!

Lord if I’m not a little blurry-eyed while writing this post. I’m running on four hours of solid sleep, and the rest of it was pretty fitful. Of course, a day of mothering has had to be done, plus extra, because I’ve been caring for a sick baby all day.

Ursa Major and Ursa Minor both have a persistent cough that has not seemed to fully go away, but for Ursa Minor, it feels like he has only gotten worse instead of better. Last night, just after dinner, he went into a fit of coughing that wouldn’t calm down. I rocked him and held him for a good twenty minutes before finally thinking about some Tylenol, and then it took another twenty minutes or so for it to kick in. He slept for about three hours last night before the medicine wore off and he was back to coughing again. The Husband got him to go back to sleep, sacrificing an hour of his own sleep to make it happen (giving me a total of 4 hours) but at around 2am, the fits started up again.

I couldn’t make myself leave the nursery. At that point, I just needed to hear him breathe, I needed to feel his temperature, I needed him to know I was there. He was so uncomfortable, and there was nothing much I could do to make him comfortable. We don’t have anything other than Tylenol in the house. I thought that maybe I’d be able to pick up some cough medicine today, but I was informed that cough medicines are for kids 4 and up. I couldn’t believe it. The only thing I can do is give him is pain reliever, which isn’t what he needs. And pain reliever doesn’t help him sleep, really, either. It’s frustrating.

So it was me and this baby snuggled up on the daybed in the office trying to sleep. It took me back to the infancy days when we used to do the same thing. The good news is that he didn’t see it as playtime: he snuggled up and did his best to get back to sleep (he was sincerely tired. The coughs, unfortunately, kept him from getting comfortable). I probably got two fitful hours, myself, because I was so worried about him and because his coughing shook us both. He tossed and turned, sneezed and coughed. He isn’t wheezing or anything… matter of fact, the coughing he is doing is “productive”–clearly his body is fighting whatever is going on. But it’s a hard fight and it’s taking a toll. I’ve never seen him this sick before.

We’ve gotten really lucky in this regard. The boys usually just get the sniffles, but we haven’t really had any chest colds. Ursa Major seemed to get the cough but it was a dry thing that didn’t last that long. He maybe had one bad day and didn’t complain to much. Ursa Minor hasn’t complained much either, bless his little heart, but it’s obvious how sick he is. So, he didn’t go to school today, either, which was sad for the both of us. I only have 4 school mornings to myself this month, so to lose this one was especially painful.

So, slowly but surely this farmhouse is starting to smell like chicken broth. I went to Roche Brothers and paid a ridiculous amount of money for two whole chickens to make stock today (seriously: $10 for a whole bird is outrageous.  You can get two birds for that price at Costco!) and picked up a few other items so that I can make something that will warm us all up. I’m very concerned that The Husband and I might get whatever is eating at the boys, so hopefully some good broth and subsequent recipes made from it will be helpful. I find that even the smell of chicken broth on the stove does something to bring the body back to health. Tonight, I’m making this Asian-inspired chicken and rice recipe with the broth that I make. It will likely be doctored a bit… I find savory dishes from Martha’s site to be a bit bland.

Normally, when I make chicken stock, I put a bouquet garni of thyme, rosemary and sage into the broth for flavoring (as I usually then make it straight into chicken noodle soup) but because I’m going to go with an Asian-inspired application (I’ll probably make dumpling soup later this week, too), I’m forgoing that. If anyone is curious, in my pot currently are: two whole chickens, two carrots cut into four pieces, three onions, and a few sticks of celery. I’m bringing the water up to a very very slow simmer (like, you barely see the bubbles) so the chicken steeps in this hot (but not boiling) broth for a good long while (This, I’ve been taught, keeps the broth from becoming cloudy). After a while, I’ll discard the veggies, pick the chicken and decide if there is anything to be done with it (chicken salad? Keep some in the soup/rice dish? Maybe chicken and rice real quick?) and then go from there. It’s very simple, especially if you have a nice big stock pot. I might pop downstairs to add some whole peppercorns to mix. I won’t salt it until I’m done with the initial simmer. If anyone does it differently, please share! I’ve seen recipes that call for actually roasting chicken parts and veggies first before putting them in the water! I have found this to be… odd. I’d be curious to know if anyone out there does it!

The draft for my Christmas letter is done and will be edited tonight (if I don’t fall asleep!) and our card list was brought down to a far more manageable 87. I’ve written a scene and a half for the last portion of my novel’s draft, and I even have the yarn I need to start on my knitting project for my writing group’s secret santa… Babies get sick, but the world keeps spinning. I really hope I don’t run out of steam before I can get something significant done today. Good thing dinner is already cooking itself.

Stay productive out there, dear reader. There is much to be done!

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