We got lucky with Mazzy. I realize that now. Mazzy gets sick fairly often but beyond the wretching cough and the runny faucet she calls a nose, the colds don’t register much with her. She’s still her same cheery self. She’s got high energy and wants to play outside. Her smile doesn’t fade for a second.
Harlow, on the other hand, is absolutely miserable when she gets sick. She doesn’t just get the physical symptoms, she gets the mental ones too. She’s irritable, she’s sad, she doesn’t want to be touched— oh wait, she does want to be touched— oh no, she doesn’t— oh, yes she does— OH MY GOD I THINK SHE JUST BIT MY HAND OFF.
Harlow’s always been a little volatile. She likes to stomp her feet and cross her arms and is quick to turn on the water works (at Level 11, for all you Spinal Tap fans). I don’t know if this is just the way she is or it’s all stuff she’s learned from her big sis— I’m betting it’s a lot of the latter— but I do know, Harlow’s misery tugs at my heart strings like none other.
I have never seen a sadder looking sad face than Harlow’s sad face.
Harlow’s sick today. She has been since Friday. It has turned my house upside down. Her eyes are swollen and watery, her nose is stuffed and crusty and when she’s not crying bloody murder because LIFE SUCKS SO HARD, she reclaims her position as “lump on the couch”.
I just better turn on the right show without too much Apple TV lag time or else I’ll get barked at. It’s amazing the treatment I put up with when Harlow is sick.
“Would you like some water?”
“Okay, sweetie. I love you.”
The hardest part is dealing with Mazzy who doesn’t realize she’s supposed to treat Sick Harlow with extra tender loving care. Mazzy is still trying to take Harlow’s toys and getting mad when Harlow gets her TV choice and coming just an inch too close to her little sis on the couch.
“Give your sister her space!” I find myself yelling.
“Just let her play with your things today— it’s not a big deal!”
“Harlow doesn’t want to share. BACK OFF!”
It’s not fair to Mazzy, I know, but I can deal with the wrath of a semi-rational five-year-old way better than I can deal with Harlow’s crying runny nosed face of PURE MISERY. Plus the shrieking is high-pitched and unbearable. She’s shrieked so much in the past 72 hours, her tiny little voice has a Beverly DeAngelo quality rasp going on. Which just makes it even sadder that her shrieks don’t carry quite as much weight as they did three days ago.
My weekend was basically walking on egg shells around my sick two-year-old. Trying to give her everything necessary to avoid sudden freak outs.
Sick Harlow will get upset over even more ridiculous things than Not Sick Harlow. Like if a drop of syrup gets on her pajamas or her chair isn’t pulled close enough to the table. Sick Harlow can’t get it together enough to communicate her issues either so it will take a full fifteen minutes of screaming before I realize the problem with the eggs (she just requested) is a tiny brown burned spot that has made the entire plate inedible.
Sick Harlow gets to eat her waffles on the couch because that’s where she wants them and I don’t have the heart to stick to my own rules.
Sick Harlow coughs in the night so much that when she stops coughing, I sneak into her room to make sure she is still alive.
Sick Harlow gets up at 3am demanding bread and I don’t know how to talk her down or say “no” so I spend the next four hours on the couch with her head resting on my chest while nibbling a roll, dozing in and out and delirious in a pile of crumbs until morning.
Sick Harlow can only nap while lying completely on top of me so I play with my phone over her head until the battery almost runs out and then text Mike to bring me my iPad and he has to sneak in like he’s Catherine Zeta Jones in Entrapment and hide under the bed when Harlow shifts her head.
Last night was the worst yet. Harlow went to sleep fine. And I actually put myself to bed early to catch up on sleep. But then, just when I was dozing off, I saw a tiny figure approach my bed in the dark.
Mazzy will typically crawl into my bed around 5am so I thought it was her. But it was way too early for Mazzy to make an appearance and this shadowy figure appeared to be way smaller.
Oh shit. Is it Harlow?
I tried to adjust my eyes as the figure continued to approach.
Oh my god, yes it’s Harlow. HOLY CRAP. How did she get out of her crib???? Oh wait. Is Harlow disappearing?
I watched the little figure fade away to nothing.
OH MY GOD!!! It’s the ghost of Harlow!
Then I screamed (like for real) and slowly processed that I had just hallucinated Harlow approaching me in the dark.
Was this a mother’s intuition thing???
I ran into Harlow’s room to make sure she was breathing. She was.
Nope. Just me having a mental breakdown from lack of sleep.
I tried to go back to bed but couldn’t. I was all freaked out and didn’t want anymore ghost toddlers visiting me in the night.
And that’s when I realized…
Shit. I am getting sick.
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