Managing a toddler’s first big fever (Baby J)

J had his 15 months’ shots on Wednesday last week. He had the Dtap, Hib, and Hep A (third shot). In the past, he has never had any issues with shots. When he got his first shots back when he was an infant, he had been a little warm to the touch so we gave him a little bit of Tylenol – less than what the doc had suggested. Since then, we never bothered giving him any medication since his body has done well with shots. He did great this time too. However, a couple days later, on Saturday evening, both Aaron and I noticed that he was really warm to the touch, even somewhat hot. He had just had dinner about 40 minutes before and after I fed him milk (about 10 minutes before his shower), he threw up. We knew something was wrong.

We checked his temperature. The ear thermometer read the temp as 103 and the rectal (we used ghee as the water soluble jelly) thermometer read it at 101 something. In any case, we just needed to touch him to know he had a fever. Besides, he wasn’t his usual self. He was moaning a lot, was extremely clingy, didn’t show an interest in his toys, and generally seemed to have been hit by malaise, very unusual for my child.

So I called the 24/7 nursing hotline service that I have available through my insurance and the woman went over a checklist of symptoms including rash, redness, or swelling around the area where he got his shots, diarrhea, non-recognition of us by the child, and so on – none of which applied to J. Then she said that it seemed like his fever is something that could be treated at home. She recommended giving him Tylenol. I asked how I should sleep him (don’t know why I asked him but glad I did because there was a good answer to that question). She said to simply put him in a shirt and diaper. Because he has a fever and therefore a temperature, and because kids’ skin regulates their temperatures, the skin should be left exposed in a room with normal temperature so that it can regulate itself and bring the temperature down. Good point.

We didn’t give him his usual bath, instead I did a sponge bath on him with lukewarm water (cooler than warmer), and put him in a shirt and diaper with a very light muslin sleep sack over him (the nurse had said no to a sleep sack or any other kind of bedding like blanket). My kid being the unique kid he is 🙂 refused to take the Tylenol which I forced into him only to have him throw it up, so a second vomit followed, thankfully contained this time. This time, after cleaning him up, I took off his sleep sack.

Finally, I was able to put him to bed and he slept peacefully for a few hours until about 11:30 p.m. After that, it was a really bad night for us all. We brought him into our room, tried having him sleep between us, he would have none of it because it made him feel like it was playtime (we bring him into our bed in the mornings after he wakes up and hang out in our bed together) so I took him back into his room, held him, rocked him to sleep, put him back into his crib, stuck around for a while, stepped out and he cried again, so went right back, rubbed his back for a long time, he fell asleep.

I told Aaron that I was going to sleep in his room on the floor so Aaron got the air mattress ready for me. I lay on that mattress for sometime but J woke up within minutes so I picked him up and lay him next to me on the air mattress where we lay for a few minutes. He couldn’t fall asleep.

Then, I put him into his crib and came back into our room and told Aaron that I needed a break, that it was his turn. So he went in and tried getting J to sleep. None of it worked. Finally, again, we brought him back to our room. This time, we fed him some milk and somehow were able to get some Tylenol into him. This was around 3:15 a.m. and we all finally fell asleep until about 7:11 a.m. Phew! What a night!! Needless to say, I was very cranky in the morning.

Aaron was supposed to go out with his buddies for a drink since they are all graduating this June but because the weather was really bad and because he had been away on work for 4 days, he decided to stick around. What a blessing!! It would have been very challenging to manage J all by myself.

Sunday: He woke up at his usual 7:11 a.m. He seemed fine more or less. Had a breakfast of fruits smoothie. He appeared to be in good spirits, pulling socks out and playing around as usual. However, when I tried to give him some Motrin (Aaron had bought some early this morning), he rejected it and threw up all the breakfast. So no medication. Sigh!

I was able to get him to nap from 10:15 a.m. until 1:15 p.m. so he got some good sleep. His temperature during the day was mild, almost no fever but I am sure he still felt feverish because he continued to remain tired and clingy and sleepy. For lunch, I made him simple starchy boiled rice mixed with milk, ghee and salt. Thankfully, he ate all of it and kept it down. He didn’t drink much milk. I tried giving him a second nap around 3:30 p.m. but he drank his milk and walked right out of his room. I tried again at 5:00 and this time, with a few minor walk outs, for both of which I did not follow him out, he came right back into my lap, and fell asleep until we woke him up at 6:00 p.m.

I was to go for an A. R. Rahman concert this night so I was getting antsy about feeding him dinner in time for my friend to pick me up on a Uber at 7:00 p.m. I fed him the same food as lunch but this time he only at 4 small spoonfulls leaving me very frustrated and angry too. I almost cancelled my going to the concert but Aaron was very supportive about it and encouraged me to go so I did. It was a decent concert and I am glad I went.

However, upon my return, J woke up (Aaron had been able to get him to sleep) and I held him and lay him back in his crib but he woke up within 20 minutes and this time Aaron brought him back to our room. We just fed him some milk (he refused Motrin), and with some cajoling, were able to get him to sleep between us. This time, he slept peacefully with some wakeful times (where he still had his eyes closed) where I just pulled him closer to me or he just repositioned himself to be in my embrace and fell back in bed. We were all able to sleep on and off until a little after 7:00 a.m. when J woke up with eyes open and ready for the day.

Thankfully, he did not have a temperature this morning other than the usual numbers. He slept his usual 1 hour or so and just woke up so I am hoping that the worst is behind us and that he is feeling his usual self now. We’ll keep monitoring him for some time. Now, I am going to g hug him and smother him with kisses 🙂

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