Elmo, Please Save Us

We’re literally climbing walls over here. Em is sick. Usually I take him outside and let him run around, but the only thing running lately has been his nose. He’s losing his mind with boredom and his voice by coughing.

I never knew babies to get bored. But they do. They get really bored. And they express their boredom by climbing chairs, moving furniture, throwing pots and pans, spinning, digging through the trash or cat litter, following their parents around with books, sighing a lot, screaming, climbing bedcovers, playing with cellular phones, TV remotes, hairbrushes. They follow you around right on your heels like they’re waiting for something awesome to happen and whenever something awesome doesn’t happen, they throw little tantrums on the floor at your feet, after wiping their snotty nose on your pant leg or crotch.

I have no idea how to amuse this poor child. All he wants to do is go outside and dig in the dirt and he has too much of a cold to do that. (I think?)

Something has become very clear to me, however. This is precisely why some parents simply can’t live up to the “No TV Until They Are Two” rule.

There are only so many baths we can have and books we can read. There are only so many blocks we can stack, puzzles we can build, pictures we can point to.


  1. you’re totally right, the only time we caved on our no-tv rule for our 18-month old was when she was sick. unfortunately she wasn’t much interested in the tv anyway (it only distracted her for about 5 minutes) but since i was sick too i really enjoyed watching sesame street while she destroyed our living room. :)

    anyway, i don’t think there’s anything wrong with a little tv, especially on sick days. you are definitely not alone.


  2. The only good thing about being sick is TV.

    I even have “flu movies” as a category for movies that I’d never watch sans sickness.

    Turn the thing on and let him zone out.

    Just make sure Dexter isn’t on. He’s the kinda dude who would spoil it for me.


  3. I’m no expert but go ahead and go outside. Maybe not for long but a little air, a little motion, a change of scenery, these things cannot be bad for either of you.


  4. I did take him out this morning. And it was fine. When we got home, however, his jacket looked as if someone smeared slugs up and down the front of him. Twas not pleasant.

    I think maybe we’ll head out tomorrow morning for a while. I gave him an extended bath and now he’s watching Hoobs and Bounce or whatever it’s called. (Chick singing lives in Maplewood. CRAZY!) Em loves her.


  5. I’m not a parent, so I’m obviously not an expert but I do have an awesomely inventive mother. When I broke my leg and had a hard cast up to my hip and couldn’t go out to play, she threw an old shower curtain down on the floor and piled flour (or corn meal) down for me to play in. I’m not sure how that would work around your house, but she said it worked out awesome for us. Anyway, I hope Em gets to feeling better and you get your sanity back.


  6. Try making an indoor sandbox with a big plastic box. Or you could even use rice or small beans (like lentils) for a good sensory box. I don’t know, Em might be too small for that yet, but it might be an idea to hold for later. Be prepared for a total mess, of course, but it might work. We liked the big sand/water tables too, which are great as soon as they are able to stand at them. we put that on our screened porch, which was ideal in different kinds of weather.


  7. I definitely don’t think you should feel guilty. I do the same thing with my daughter and she isn’t too interested in most TV anyway. She gets bored big time!! Plus, he’s sick so he’d probably just zone out anyway.
    Also, my doctor told me fresh air is great for them when they’re sick!
    Hang in there! My daughter had a cold about two weeks ago and it’s the most horrible sound hearing the little ones cough.


  8. Can we focus on what’s important here?

    Daddy has the sniffles and Top Chef is on tonight. And his sweater is covered in baby snot.


  9. if i dont get out of the house for a little while every day, whether ryan is sick or not, he goes absolutely mad. i just bundle him up a bit extra if he has a cold and keep extra cloths around for his nose. not that he lets me wipe it. he’d rather let it drip down his face.

    i dont know what to tell you about entertaining. ryan entertains himself for the most part. and the tv? well, we always have that on. he stops every now and again to watch but most of the time he just goes about playing. or he likes to use the remote to change channels or use as a drumstick on the glass.

    i think i have it kind of easy with ryan. if he’s throwing little fits and being all around grumpy all i have to do is give him some food. a piece for each hand. he either eats it or hides it. dont know how that would work with cats around though.

    i wish you luck. sick toddlers aren’t easy. try not to let it get you down. the cold wont last forever and you’ll be back outside playing in the dirt in no time.


  10. I’ve given in to TV as well, just here and there. She had absolutely no interest at first and now is rapt for the first five minutes or so (yesterday she shouted “Hi! Hi! Hi!” at the kids and monsters on Sesame Street). We don’t sit down and watch whole shows or anything but it’s a nice distraction if I’m waiting for her to be ready for her nap and the grumpiness is increasing but the tiredness isn’t. I have to tell you, though, I don’t feel guilty about it at all! Everything in moderation, you know?

    BTW, is Em on one nap or two? We are making the transition over here and it is going painfully sllllowly….

    PS: We got the Sesame Street Old School and Muppet Show DVDs to watch. That way I get a little trip down memory lane too :-)


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