{Quad Squad} Getting By With Four Sick Babies

This post should automatically come with about a million sad faces attached to it. I've been making them for the past week, every time I look at my sniffling, whimpering, croup coughing little kiddos I feel so bad for them.

Thank God for Benadryl.

Except that one of them, Harrison, has been so angry and cranky today I really want to put him in a soft padded room with a snack and shut the door for a little while. I mean, I would never really do that, of course, but momma is tired, ya know?! And when they get cranky like he is, they get mad which means they catapult themselves against the wall or onto the floor or over a toy in order to outwardly display just how much they despise you and all the mean things you're trying to do to them. Like offer them a sip of Pedialyte or a handful of teddy grahams or a Kleenex. I mean, really. The horror.

the quad squad after a nap

Patience is always tried when kids are sick. True story. Whether you've got one sick kid or eighteen, it really sucks all the way around. What is frustrating for me is that they all want to be held, cuddled or consoled all at the same time. And it's not all day, just parts of it and usually when one sees the other getting it, the remaining three want it. Who can blame them? I need Stretch Armstrong's arms to accommodate my brood these days, my babies are growing up...

The husband and I don't really have any secrets or short-cuts to handling four sick babies. I just know a lot of people ask me or are curious as to what our lives are like when all four come down with a cold or something at the same time. Logan always seems to get it first, whatever it may be. She'll show symptoms at least a full day prior to anyone else. You know that feeling what your stomach falls when you walk into their room in the morning to get them up and their voice is hoarse or their nose is crusted and you can see the feel-bad in their eyes. Poor babies.

playing with magnets
grandma letting the girls try on clip-on earrings

Our lives go into a bit of an overdrive when sickness ensues. There's a lot of extra steps added to our day that makes each 24 hours more exhausting than the norm—also to be expected with sick kiddos in general, I know. I immediately give everyone a dose of Infant Advil as soon as I spot them getting sick to help ward off any fever and alleviate any discomfort. This has helped so much, I can't even tell you. No, I don't overmedicate my kids or use Advil as a blanket solution to the problem. My pediatricians have recommended it and I've seen it really help time and again. My kids are apparently unaffected by the sedative-like effects of Children's Benadryl, so for colds and allergy-like symptoms I give them a half-dose after lunch before their naps and a regular dose right before bed at night. This makes ALL the different in them being sick versus just downright miserable.

Lots and lots and loooooottttssss of nose wiping is expected. Four noses every two to three minutes to be more exact. I've started stocking up on Kleenex's Cool Touch tissues, because they don't irritate their face with repeated use and the kids don't seem as bothered by all the nose wiping. We slather Aquaphor all over their noses and cheeks a couple times a day to keep them from getting raw. Warm baths are given a tad more frequently, occasionally with extra steam and a longer soak in the bathtub or using Johnson's vapor bath wash. And we do lots of cups of half water-half Pedialyte to keep them hydrated. They drink a ton when they have runny noses. Sticking to the schedule is still key for us as well and we try to make bedtime a bit earlier than the norm since they are pretty worn out. Distraction also works wonders if the kids just truly aren't having it and Baby Einstein videos or Bubble Guppies are played frequently on sick days.

miss kailey loving her piano time
me with trystan and harrison

All the extra steps just to get them in bed—give Advil and/or Benadryl, brush teeth, give water, wipe noses, give more water, wipe noses again, apply Aquahor, carry everyone up to bed, put in sleep sacks, wipe noses again, cuddle whoever's giving us sad eyes, wipe noses, more aquaphor, turn on sound machines, turn off lights, one more nose wipe and goodnights with possible added rocking if someone wakes up later—is exhausting. I'm honestly never so relieved to have them all in bed. And thank God they've still been sleeping their usual 11-12 hours, I credit Benadryl for that at night. It lets them be able to breathe so once they fall asleep, they are able to stay asleep with minimal coughing and hacking in the night!

My goal becomes to simplify things as much as possible, catch breaks where I can and make things as easy on myself as is feasible. That means no cooking complex meals, chicken nuggets and pizza are totally acceptable. I drink Gatorade to keep myself hydrated during the day, and wine at night to keep myself sane. I don't worry about extra cleaning around the house and I do enough laundry just to break even—usually sheets and towels since I change the babies' bed sheets more frequently when they're sick and Lysol their rooms. Their nap time is my official break time and I try to sit down and either watch TV or work from my computer instead of running around the house trying to get eight million things done. It's no secret that taking care of sick babies versus healthy ones is much more taxing and I know I'll be more wiped out at the end of the day than usual, so I've got to reserve some energy to make it to bedtime!

trystan putting rice in her hair, daddy asked if she was going to a wedding

As soon as the kids are well, we're off and running again. They've likely been cooped up in the house for close to a week and I immediately plan play dates at our local mall's play area, with other multiples friends or a meal out somewhere. It's hard, because I'm personally still recovering, but the babies light up when they head off somewhere new or special. Sometimes I'm a little slower to get moving if it's been a particularly trying week.

These next seven days are going to be long ones for details I won't get into on here, and I woke up this morning almost dreading all the work and exhaustion I know I'll have to endure. Don't get me wrong—I love my kids fiercely and feel so blessed to be at home with them. But I'm not iron clad either and have days, like any parent, where it all feels like too much. I feel trapped and helpless, with so few options. My chest got really heavy and I'm pretty sure I had a mild panic attack. Thankfully my nanny was here and was helping me get breakfast ready and she encouraged me that I could do it! She rarely sees the "cracks in my armor," nor do most folks since I try to keep a tough exterior. But I don't do it all, despite the times I foolishly try!

Trying to work from home and write articles and stories for books and magazines at the bar in my kitchen while my four toddlers screech, yell, babble, cry and laugh in the play room next to it doesn't make for the easiest concentration. In fact, I am pretty sure my brain short circuits all the time and I often don't remember what I was about to say or do. I'll march upstairs with an intense purpose and will have forgotten what I'd barreled up there for by the time I reach the top of the steps. It's ridiculous, yes, yet so realistic for my life these days. I'm constantly in motion. Yesterday I sat down twice between 8am and 8pm.

momma and her quad squad
So I share these real thoughts and tidbits of my life with you on here to let you know that I'm not perfect. And I know no one else is either. Even though some of us nearly have others convinced! Four sick babies makes for one dog-tired momma, four non-sick babies makes for one exhausted momma. And sick or not, momma's been drinking bigger glasses of wine at night.

Cheers to that. ;)
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  1. Ok you are not perfect, but you are pretty amazing:)
    Sending you hugs,four little ones with colds, trying to concentrate on work and running a home, plus everything else life throws out, you seem to handle it well, I for one would be drinking something stronger then gatorade ;)
    Whatever is happening next week, I will keep you in my prayers that all goes well.
    Even sick those little ones are sooo cute:)
    Thanks for sharing:)

  2. Can I please send one more needy kid your way?!? Tate literally cried from sun up til he was tucked in tonight. He cried big fat tears for nap and his eyes were so red and tired yet he refused to nap. Oh some days are so exhausting. Lately I would trade in the exhausting days of today for the sleep deprived days of newborns. At least once they ate they fell right back to sleep! I have no energy left at night and even on nights I get 7 hours of sleep I wake up praying I get a nap in somehow...a big dream I have each day. Hoping you make it through the next seven days and if the wine glasses get fuller each night it is totally okay!

  3. Strong but warm and caring hugs Amber! It is hard work at times to be a mom, truly is. I think it is amazing how well you described the feelings and thoughts in your post - I was ther again with my four sick kids although the youngest is now coming up 22 years. I sned loads of strength and patience and love to you!!!

  4. Hang in there, mama! We are right there with you. I need to get those Kleenex and vapor wash, somehow I didn't even think of that (short-circuit brain)! Harrison looks downright pathetic in that first picture in the crib. How dare you snap a picture instead of picking him up! I get lots of those looks, too. Hugs :)

  5. I loved this post....you are awesome, your babies are awesome too.....remember this to shall pass.....keep up the good (great) work! I look forward to reading more! A friend in East Texas, Pam.

  6. Thanks. Pam! I have a feeling once I get to the "shall pass" point, I will be wishing these days were still here, ha! :)


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