Sick Little Guys

On Monday night at 10:30pm, Toby walked out of his bedroom, deliriously chatting a mile a minute. His forehead was burning hot, and he curled up next to me on the sofa, while I stared into his eyes and nodded along, trying to get him to come down to earth. I ended up sleeping in his bed to keep an eye on him, and his tossing body felt like a radiator. The next morning, he was still hot and his cheeks had developed a rash. We rushed him to the pediatrician, who then rushed us to the ER, fearing bacterial meningitis. After being poked and prodded for hours, and taking a long nap in my arms like a newborn, teary Toby was proclaimed safe and not seriously ill (with an unidentified virus). Thank goodness!

What a terrifying day. Moments like that make you realize with a shock how intensely you love your children.

Meanwhile, Anton, also feverish but not as severely, stayed home and cuddled with our babysitter. Or, as Alex joked, Anton is so rugged, he was probably chilling in a corner with an empty whiskey glass, chewing on a bullet.

These two boys. The loves of my life.

(Photo taken last night. Goodnight Moon always does the trick.)

  1. chelsey, thank you for asking! these comments are all so sweet. the boys are doing really well thankfully and are back to their usual tricks. the odd very intense sickness lasted for less than two days! very strange and i’m so glad it’s over. xoxo

  2. Any updates on your sweet Toby?

    I hope he has improved since his sick post!


  3. “Chewing on a bullet.” I LOVE it. So funny.

    That sounds like a terrifying experience indeed. My kiddo has been sick with a cold all week and I’ve been fearing it’s going to blow up into the worst possible thing. So far so good though. Thankful for that. I’m so glad that everything turned out ok for you too.

  4. I know a few days have since passed, but I hope your little fellas are doing a-ok. <3

  5. I feel your pain, we went through strep throat in our house and it kept coming back. I hope everyone feels better soon!

  6. Nothing worse than a sick kid. My worst nightmare was when I got a call from my daughters’s college roommate that she had a blood clot in her head. I rushed from California and spend two weeks with her while she was in the ICU. It was a mother’s worst nightmare. Honestly nothing worst than a sick child.

  7. Nothing worse than a sick kid. My worst nightmare was when I got a call from my daughters’s college roommate that she had a blood clot in her head. I rushed from California and spend two weeks with her while she was in the ICU. It was a mother’s worst nightmare. Honestly nothing worst than a sick child.

  8. I hope they feel better soon! Sending them loads of hugs.

  9. Oh, I hear you…my little girl came up with the same symptoms a few ago. Very high fever towering 105 (yikes) and a rash on the cheek the next day. The doctor told us it was a common virus called the slapped cheek virus. I had never heard about it but this was really scary…fevers that high that last a few days are the worst. Glad your little guys are doing better!

  10. SO scary! So glad it turned out alright!!! I bet you were so worried for To y and heartsick to leave sick baby Anton! I hope things continue to trend up!

  11. Aww, feel better soon. Sick kids are the worst (but the cuddling JUST as they are getting well is the BEST!!)

  12. Glad Toby is ok. I didn’t know what fear was until my daughter was ill for the first time.

  13. This reminds me of that part in Operating Instructions where Anne Lamott talks about never truly knowing fear until you’ve had a child. So true.

  14. I became very ill while on vacation last week – hospitals, the whole 9 yards – and my 16 month old daughter was so scared for me, you could see it in her eyes and feel it in her body language. it was heartbreaking, i am supposed to be the strong one! that fierce love is circular :-)

  15. Oh my goodness what a scare! Thank goodness it was something relatively minor. Poor little guy. I love your husband’s description of Anton LOL I hope they are both on the mend.

  16. Julia from Dozen Flours, you made me cry! Your words painted such a vivid picture! My littlest baby is not quite six months old, but he’s quite large for his age. It breaks my heart to imagine him too big for me to scoop up and cuddle when he’s sick.

    JoAnna, I gasped when I saw “bacterial meningitis”! I’m so relieved that he got the all clear. You must have been beside yourself! I hope the little guys are good as new soon!

  17. Poor Tobey – you can see it in his beautiful little face. No fun when the babies are sick!

  18. Oh God, sounds awful :( hope he feels better soon Xxx

  19. My kids used to break out in a rash when they had a fever. But that’s actually the body dealing with the fever, so it’s a good thing — like another mechanism with which to fight the bug. Hope they feel better soon.

  20. You know you will love your kids, but it’s that intensity that surprises, i think. I’ve been in Superhero Mommy mode and it’s like, yes, i can lift a truck to save my boy! ha!

    Goodnight Moon is always a favorite in our house. I love its slow rhythm.

  21. Poor little guys! That is so, so scary. I hope they are starting to feel better!

  22. Our daughter had an asthma crisis on monday night. Just the reading that I needed… Hope you are all feeling better!

  23. So sorry you had to go through that! At a year and a half, my daughter suffered a febrile seizure after spiking a fever and it was terrifying! All I could do was huddle over her shaking little body wrapped in a towel–she was freshly out of a tepid tub–and wait for the EMTs. Riding to the ER in the ambulance holding a teeny oxygen mask over her mouth was surreal! Luckily, she had no long term effects and is now a happy bubbly 3.5 year old. But the first sign of a fever brings me right back to that day! Hope all are feeling better soon.

  24. We had a similar experience a few years ago. My son did have bacterial meningitis. He was lifeflighted to the children’s hospital four hours away, and stayed there for a week. Thankfully, we caught it in time, and had great doctors and nurses. He recovered fully, but it was a terrible experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I’m glad it was less serious in your case.

  25. Oh no! How are they feeling now? How are you and Alex? That is so scary. When my son was about 15 mos, he had a high fever and his pediatrician was closed and the walk in doctor told us to go to the ER to check out some spots he had. We were there for 8 hours, blood taken, catheters inserted and the ER doctor, who was horrible, (and, I think mad at me as I insisted after 2 failed attempts by the nurses to get a blood sample while I held down my screaming baby that she get a nurse from the pediatric floor to do it) said to me not “oh, these are usually burst blood vessels from straining to poop” but rather “you know we are testing him for leukemia”. My whole world went black for a moment. Our regular pediatrician was furious when she heard that (he’s fine – it was from straining) and I still have nightmares about that evening :-(

  26. This gets to the very core of what we as mothers fear most. My stomach was in knots reading this. I have 2 boys (same ages as yours) and I can relate on every level when it comes to the intense love and fear that overcomes you in a time like this. So thankful all turned out ok. Always inspired by the real moments you blog about. Your love shines through them.

  27. I can’t imagine what a scare that must have been! And I love Alex’s description of Anton—such an old little soul!

    Do you read CJane’s blog? Just recently, she wrote a devastatingly beautiful post on this very subject—how intensely we love our children, realized through the lens of a child’s illness. Here’s the post:

  28. Poor little guys. Hope you are all feeling better soon. They always seem to recover way faster than we do.

  29. Oh his poor sad eyes! So glad he’s okay. When my (now not so little one who still loves to lay on top of me and I’m all ok ok I can’t breathe) little guy was 2 he had croup. The instacare dr was like well you could take him to the ER or you could take him home and if he turns blue or stops breathing call 911. We went to the ER!

  30. how scary — so glad that everyone’s okay! my doctor sent my little one to the ER a couple months ago with what turned out to be croup. the strangest thing was that she sent us on the subway (from wburg to 1st ave) because it was fastest. speedy recovery to everyone in your house (including you guys!) xo

  31. Poor kiddos. I think this is the first picture I’ve ever seen of Toby not being his happy-go-lucky kiddo self. Hope you’re all back to normal soon and can enjoy a restful weekend.

  32. This picture breaks my heart…I’m so sorry Jo. I hope they feel better soon! Hugs and healing dust sent your way for your sweet boys.

  33. Suzanne! I was talking to a coworker the other week about how I knew my son wasn’t quite right yet because of his eyes and he said “is something wrong with his eyes?” Ha! Must be a mama thing :)

  34. My 3 and 4.5 year old just got over strep…4 nights straight of high fevers – one was just better when the second one started. So scary when their fevers are so high.
    So happy Toby and Anton are doing better…being rushed to the ER is so scary – been there with both my kids and luckily they were fine as well. xo

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  36. As a mother of 5 grown kids, I recognize the “I’m sick” eyes. Toby still has them. I hope the virus skips you & your husband and the boys are back to their perky selves soon.

  37. Okay Alex’s comment about Anton KILLS me!!! so funny. And Toby looks so dreamy in this picture. Glad everyone is okay!

  38. oh, julia, that is such a sweet image! it’s funny because alex and i were actually talking about that exact thing at the ER—toby was sleeping on me on the hospital bed, and i was saying to alex that we might be doing this exact same thing with him as a teenager! they’re always your babies. :)

  39. Wait until they are older and bigger than you and they gets sick. My son who is 210lbs and 6’2″ never gets sick had pneumonia last winter. He wasn’t feeling well and then in the span of about an hour we complained of the worst headache he’d ever had and his neck was sore. The doctor told me to take him straight to the ER out of fear of meningitis. Luckily he tested negative. But the worst part? Aside form the fear of him being seriously ill, was asking him to walk to the car so I could take him to ER. Watching him slowly go down each stair, one by one, while his face displayed the pain of every joint and muscle in his body screaming — tore me apart! I wanted nothing more than to scoop him up, wrap my arms around him and have his head on my shoulder. I get teary eyed just thinking about it!

  40. Oh geez so glad it turned out to be nothing. I remember when I was probably 9 or 10 and they feared my sister had meningitis. I remember being so scared… can’t imagine what my mom was feeling at the time!!

  41. It’s so difficult to see little ones in pain. It had to be so terrifying to hear that it might be meningitis. Best wishes for a speedy recovery for your boys.

    Also, that last description of Anton made me laugh out loud. It really speaks volumes of his personality!

  42. I got teary when I read this. There is nothing as fearful as having your little ones sick. Glad everyone is ok.

  43. what these stories are so scary! but i agree, fiona, you are typically in very competent hands.

  44. Ha ha funny visual, happy everyone is okay. Beautiful kiddos, Joanna!

  45. I had the same thing happen this weekend! My 13 month old had to be taken to the hospital because of fever and rash. They diagnosed it as Viral Syndrome. I think it was Roseola.. Hope your boys are feeling better! It’s awful when they feel bad like that, especially knowing there isn’t much you can do :(

  46. It always breaks my heart when my boys are sick. Glad it’s just a virus and that Toby will be back to himself in time, meningitis is super scary.
    My little one (Anton’s age) had a virus back in August that landed him in hospital for 5 nights as his little body couldnt fight the virus and breathe at the same time.
    It’s such a relief when they are okay.

  47. Poor babies! I hope they both feel better soon. Working in early childhood ed, all I can say this time of year is “Wash your hands!” and “stock up on tissues.” Side note: I’m sure he must have been feeling awful, but Toby is posing like a total Calvin Klein underwear model in that pic. Also your characterization of Aton is hilarious.

  48. My son is asthmatic so we’ve been to the ER quite a few times at different hours of the day. First occurences were really scary but now they feel like a lesson on many different levels. Do not get me wrong, you can never get USED to the fact that your kid might end up in hospital. But now I never get panicky when I hear “ER, immediately”. It is really comforting that whatever bug might be in my little boy’s body, there are people who will help us and kick the bug’s ass.

  49. We took my then 3 year old to the ER after she swallowed a quarter (it was stuck in her throat but didn’t block her windpipe). We had to wait overnight for them to do surgery to remove it, and it was the longest night of my life! I love what you said about seeing how intensely we love our children – there is nothing like an emergency to reveal it! Glad your guys are ok :)

  50. Oh man being rushed to the ER with a baby (always a baby right?) sounds horrific. We don’t have kids yet but we watch our god-daughter A LOT. If we were directed to the ER with her I’d be a hot mess of panic. And I’m a pretty kept together person. Hopefully you can find a glass of wine and some time to relax.