I've spent the last few months with a toddler who consistently has green goo streaming down her face, and while that kind of sickness is par for the course with children, my partner and I have endured a few moments that haven't brought out the best in either of us as parents. We've now had just about all of the fights every couple has when their kids is sick, from whether she's actually sick to whether we should give her medicine or take her to the hospital.
One element that complicates sick kiddos is the way you were actually raised and, of course, how your partner was raised. My mom's unofficial motto was "Suck it up," sympathy not being her strongest characteristic, which is exactly where I point the finger when I feel myself getting fed up with wiping my daughter's nose one more time. Meanwhile, my dad panics at the merest whimper, so I straddle the line between the two. My husband was brought up with a mom who was a nurse, so she had a bigger reserve of sympathy than my mom. However, she also believed she could solve just about any ailment without needing a visit to the doctor.
I don't think there's anything more panic-inducing than having a sick child, and a sick baby can be even more difficult because they can't tell you what's wrong or what hurts. A few weeks ago, our daughter spent literally eight hours writhing and screaming, and no amount of cuddling or cajoling would make her stop. I couldn't even think straight when trying to figure out what to do or how to help her and, unfortunately, that sickness alone resulted in no fewer than seven major arguments between me and my husband. Sick kids turn parents loopy, and you'd have to be saints to avoid it.
The "Is There Really Anything Wrong?" Fight
Or, perhaps more often stated as, "Are you overreacting again?" I tend to be the worrier in our relationship, and that means I'm usually the one pointing out that green goo for three months straight might not be normal, or that eight hours of screaming is definitely a sign that she's caught the plague and needs a doctor stat.
Sometimes I'm right, and sometimes it turns out that I am overreacting, but there's usually an argument that leads to finding out one way or another.
The "Should We Give Medicine Or Not?" Fight
My husband grew up in a strictly no-medicine-unless-you're-dying household. I grew up in a take-Tylenol-and-tough-it-out household. Sometimes it's hard to reach common ground between those two camps when deciding whether our daughter needs medicine or not.
The "Should We Trust WebMD?" Fight
I am the resident internet doctor in our household. So, when our daughter is sick I can come up with at least 17 possible diagnoses in a matter of minutes. The most recent catch-all diagnosis seems to be teething, which my partner has latched onto as the answer for every ailment for months. I stand firmly in the opposite corner, wondering when we'll see these mystery teeth causing all our misery.
The "Should She Go To The Doctor?" Fight
The way healthcare is in this country currently means taking a child to the doctor can be quite a production. My partner and I often argue over whether our daughter is sick enough that she needs to go to the doctor. Honestly, there's nothing worse than being the one who thinks only a doctor can fix her ailment, only to have the pediatrician tell you it's a virus and she'll have to get over it herself.
The "Middle Of The Night Wake Ups" Fight
Arguing over who has to get up with a sick kid in the middle of the night is only slightly more annoying than normal middle of the night wake ups. However, the likelihood is that you and your partner are already at the end of your ropes from the days being longer with a sick kiddo, making it an even more contentious subject.
The "Middle Of The Night Please-Fix-This" Fight
I tend to land us in this muddle whenever our daughter is sick and up in the night. Now that we are pacifier-free, there's very little that will soothe her when she's sick and stuffy and crying and miserable. In the middle of the night, when we're not firing on all cylinders, is typically when we're hysterically arguing over what will calm her down or what is a downright stupid idea.
The "Who Has To Clean It Up?" Fight
We haven't hit this sick-kid argument yet, but I know the day is coming. I have a fear of vomit that sends me running in the other direction at the mere mention of an upset stomach, but I tend to be the laundry-doer and cleaner-upper of our house. I'm already preparing for the battle over who has to clean up the sick kid's sheets and clothes and it's a battle I know I'm going to have to win.
The "Who's More Tired?" Fight
An argument as old as time, am I right? My husband and I can fight many rounds of this one, and with a little one who's sick and whiny and probably more tired than both of us, the pitch is even higher.