General Parenting Thread of Triumphs and Tribulations

A couple of days ago, there was a lot of good conversation in the “What happened to you recently” thread about whether it was okay to talk about your kids to your non-parent friends. In that conversation, I saw a lot of people in the same boat as me – parents who felt like they couldn’t talk with their friends about what’s going on with their kids (good and bad) out of the feeling that those friends wouldn’t want to hear about it.

So here’s a place where you can do that. It’s not a true replacement for talking to your friends in meatspace, but hopefully it can keep you from bottling up frustration, worry, and even joy. Let it all out!

I’ll start!

We think Emmy has croup. Her cousin had it last week, but we’re a little unsure how to proceed. During the day, she’s mostly fine, if a little fussy. Just congested and snotty. But at night, she’s restless, and she wakes up three or four times. We can get her back to sleep, but that’s a lot to be up at night.

From what we can tell, it sounds like croup usually gets better on its own. What’s frightening is that if it gets serious, it manifests as breathing problems - wheezing, labored breathing, etc. So not only am I up a few times at night to put her back to sleep, I’m also up for a while longer each time, worried that I’m going to hear heaving over the monitor and that we’ll need to take her to the ER or something.

We haven’t taken her to the doctor yet because it’s supposed to clear up on its own. But I’m giving her one more night. If she has another rough night tonight, I’ll take her to the doctor in the morning.

Did you call the doctor? I’d do that if you haven’t.

My brother and I had croup once or twice as kids. It wasn’t really a big deal as I remember, though my dad did build some kind of weird box-frame like structure and cover it in Saran Wrap and make me sit in it and watch TV while he piped in a humidifier. That didn’t last long. I was six and I couldn’t resist poking holes in the Saran Wrap.

I posted the following story in the middle of thatnkid discussion earlier but deleted it because it seemed to be in violation of the “feel good” stuff that was getting thrown around. So what the hell, I’ll put it here:

My 4 year old daughter was nearly hit by a truck the other day. We had just parked on the street across from my house. I had let her out and asked her to stand on the sidewalk and wait for me, so I could get our gear out and hold hands to cross. There was a truck coming, but I had all the street side doors open to grab our stuff, and while I was doing this and shutting the doors, my daughter decided to cross.

Now you’ll note that I said she was “almost” hit, so the story does have a happy ending. The truck knew she was there and was coming forward from a complete stop. He didn’t anticipate her just waltzing our in front of her but he did slam on the brakes. I didn’t see this, my back was turned, but she ran to me crying and saw the driver with a panicked look on his face, so I assumed the worst. Once we got it sorted out we all went inside and had serious adrenaline hangovers.

It’s not possible to explain my frame of mind in that few minutes of time. I was simultaneously panicked and worried and angry - why was I angry? Hell I don’t know, no good reason, I guess because someone might have hurt my little girl? If there’s an upside here, I hope that she now knows why we are careful crossing the street.

My son came down with Croup that was bad enough that he was almost hospitalized when he was 2. It was terrifying. My advice: take the child to the doctor. Better safe than sorry.

It took a while for him to recover, and both my kids subsequently had it. The advice we were given was to have them sleep in a sitting position, and to take them for rides in the car at night when the air was cool (in the winter this meant opening the window only a crack). The sitting up position helps keep the congestion pooled, easing the breathing trouble. The cool air helps clear the lungs. Both did help my kids, but I am not a doctor. My advice is to check with yours.

Our primary care also has a ‘duty nurse’ who is always on call - they offer free advice and easy access to the doctor when something like croup crops up. If yours has one it’s a great way to get quick help and advice at no cost.

Good luck.

My daughter had croup at age 2. We did visit the doctor and was told it was nothing to worry about and just monitor her. As a parent, it’s hard not to worry about your child when they are sick. And that’s okay.

For my daughters, the best thing for croup (which cleared up on its own) was to take them into the bathroom, close the door, leave the vent/fan turned off, and run the hottest shower possible – basically, create a sauna in your bathroom. Hang out in there for 20-30 minutes. That should calm her coughing and lung irritation for 3-4 hours, at least.

My kid turned a month old. He’s been in the NICU the whole time. Developmentally, he’s doing really well for being born so prematurely. His last big hurdle is teaching him how to drink/eat stuff with his mouth instead of letting medical professionals shoot it down a nose tube.

So far, to me, fatherhood consists of 90% washing out breast pump apparatus many times a day and night, 8% visiting the kid which includes holding him and reading a public domain version of 1,001 Arabian Nights to him and trying not to squish or pinch him, and 2% checking and/or changing dirty diapers.

Procrastination and his prematurity meant that my wife and I were way late on getting ready for him. But we have whittled away at that. We figured out whose insurance he would go on, we figured out what pediatrician we will take him to. We still have a lot of nursery construction and daycare planning to do.

One month down and, jeez, how many to go?

Is it true that newborns have a weird smell?

I don’t think I’d call it weird? Maybe “extra-mammalian”, based on the dairy-heavy fad diet he is on?

Does “extra-mammalian” include “reptilian”?

Aw, man, I’m not a doctor, so I guess so? Snakes like milk, don’t they?

Maybe I meant turbo-mammalian. That sounds scientific.

For croup, definitely get a humidifier for the room and maybe put some menthol in there as well. My kids had croup a bunch of times when they were young and this consistently helped them breath more easily.

Apparently honey can be as effective as cough syrup for treating coughing in children (assuming they’re old enough to eat honey, at least 1 year). And cough syrup isn’t recommended for young children anyways.

Also, if your children are anything like mine, easier to convince them to swallow.

Yeah our kids get honey and a humidifier with a little spritz of eucalyptus. We started that when our daughter started getting croup really young (between 12 and 24 months IIRC) and we’ve stuck to it when they get respiratory infections.

I wouldn’t call it weird. Kind of… fresh, I guess? It’s very pleasant. Then they get old and start getting into stuff, and then they smell weird all the time.

(which is not to imply that @Djscman’s youngling smells weird at all. He’s a cutie, and he looks like he is growing great!)

We forgot about the shower sauna thing. We’ll do that tonight. I’ll call the nurse line as well. I’m sure they’re just going to tell me to take her in tomorrow morning, since that’ll be day five. But we’re travelling to Seattle next week, and we all need to be shipshape! I want to give time for any treatment to work, if she does wind up needing medicine.

What brings you to Seattle, if I may ask?

This time (we usually go once a year), it’s:

  • Baby shower for my cousin.
  • Making our baby get on a plane for the first time and learning how to travel with a kid.
  • Wife’s cousin just had a baby, and his mom (wife’s aunt) will be visiting from California at the same time, so we get to see them.
  • My mom, sister, and niece are all itching to get out of town and so are going with us.
  • Eat at Lecosho.

We occasionally just need to get out of deep red Idaho sometimes. Seattle’s our favorite because of the family we have there, the short and usually cheap plane ride there, being near the water, and the wet weather.

I agree with this.

Also, and I know this will be tough, try to keep your kid as upright as possible while sleeping. My kid got annoyed with me when I’d do that, which entailed setting up a bank of pillows and making sure he was sleeping in an almost sitting position as he got older. When he was too young for that and had a cold, I’d just hold him in a chair sitting up with me. It meant a lot less rest for me, but it usually produced decent results over time.

I would call your pediatrician for more advice though, but it sounds like you’re on that course already.

I hope she feels better. Hang in there @SadleyBradley.


BTW…when I say chair I’m referring to something we had called a glider, which was good for comfort and for breastfeeding. I was home a lot with him, so I had frozen a lot of his mom’s milk and would generally feed him in that chair from the bottle. We were not into trying formula, so it was a whole process.

In times when he had trouble sleeping or was sick, the glider really worked well.


We used to put her in a rock and play, which is like a little bassinet that rocks. It would put her at an incline, so it worked great when she was sick. But she’s big enough that she would crawl out of it onto to the floor, so we haven’t really been sure what to do to get her upright. I like the idea of using pillows to prop her up, but she’s a very active sleeper - I feel like she might just roll herself to a horizontal position anyway. It’s worth a try.

We’ve got a glider - it’s amazing for comforting babies. We read her books and feed her in it every night.

She kind of turned a corner tonight. We did the shower sauna thing before bed. I had to take my glasses off because they were all foggy, and she thought seeing Dad without his glasses was the funniest thing. She’s been sleeping like a rock since. I called the nurse line, and they said that if she’s starting to seem better that we should just keep up the home care. We’ll see how she does tonight, but I’m more optimistic than I’ve been all week.

I’m grateful for all the advice!