Ethan has been sick for the past week. He just has a cold, and yet my heart absolutely breaks every time he cries, sniffles, coughs, or looks up at me with confusion and pain behind his eyes. My nights are sleepless, spent either nursing him, rocking him, or worrying about him. I wonder with every intervention I try whether or not I'm effectively treating his discomfort. I second guess my decision to break the "let him cry it out" rule when I run to scoop up my wailing baby, yet end up justifying it by telling myself that all bets are off when he's sick. My entire world is upside down, with everything that I have been used to (a champion sleeper, eater, and all-around happy baby) replaced with a weaker, crankier, insomniac version of my child. All I want is to be able to fix him, to banish his symptoms with a wave of my magic mom wand.
Did I mention he just has a common cold?
What is it about motherhood that turns women into mush? I've always been sensitive, but every single emotion I've ever felt has intensified in my eight short months as a mom. I can't hear about children that have met with tragic ends, mothers who have been separated from their little ones, or babies that are actually horribly ill without getting teary. At the same time, I also feel like motherhood has strengthened me, that I am now capable of things that I never thought possible. I am the strongest ball of mush you've ever seen.
One of the most effective ways to make Ethan feel better has been to give him a bath. He loves splashing around in the water, and it turns him almost instantly from crabby into charming. See for yourself:
Oh, how I love my sweet, sweet little boy!