I know all parents can relate to this…
You are sleeping soundly when you are awoken by one of two sounds:
1. The piercing, frustrated cry of your little one, followed by incessant sniffing OR
2. Incessant sniffing followed by more incessant sniffing
I was awoken at 2am last Wednesday night by the piercing and obviously frustrated cry of my six-year-old, causing me to immediately sit up in bed. Before my feet touched the ground to go to her, I could hear the sniffing. After two powerful sniffs failed to clear her nose, I heard her cry in frustration again.
I have been through this with my two older daughters, not that long ago either. I cannot remember the exact age at which they “outgrew” this “need” to breathe through their nose and only their nose while sleeping, but I cannot wait for my six-year old to outgrow it. And it must be coming soon. Her sisters are only eight and ten.
I went into the room that she shares with her two older sisters – by choice – with some tissues and the promising news that I would return with some Vics Vapo Rub. Had I been able to locate the miracle nasal-clearing cream I may have been able to return to bed almost immediately. As luck would have it, it was not in “its spot” and I still cannot find it five days later! Might have to pick some more up given the frequency of stuffy noses in our house so far this winter. And all you parents know, the day I buy more Vics Vapo Rub is the day I will find the one I was looking for. But anyway…back to that night…
I told my desperate daughter that I could not find the Vics, which made her cry with disappointment, stuffing up her nose even more. Great! This required more tissue. Another problem with young, stuffy-nosed children is that at first they do not know how to blow their nose at all! And then, even when they do, they are not all that effective. My daughter is at the “I get the concept but my nose blowing is barely effective” stage. And so the next half hour went something like this:
Sniff – Sniff – Cry – Sniff – “try breathing through your mouth” – Blow – “I don’t know how” – attempt at mouth-breathing – Cry – Sniff – Sniff – Cry – Sniff – Sniff – “Just like this” demonstrates mouth breathing – Sniff – attempts mouth breathing again – Sniff – Sniff – Cry – Blow – Blow – Sniff – Sniff – Cry – “how about sleeping propped up on pillows” – Sniff – Sniff – weak “okay” followed by cry while reaching for tissue – leave the room to get pillows but can hear more sniffing and crying and blowing – pillow propping occurs – Sniff – Sniff – Cry – angrily reaching for tissue to blow – “remember try breathing through your mouth” – reattempts mouth breathing while laying down – “ahhhhh” followed by crying – Blow – Blow – look of excitement creeps across daughter’s face “Mommy I got it” followed by two sniffs with extremely limited air movement.
And with that, my youngest, congested, non-mouth-breathing-while-she-sleeps daughter, closed her eyes and with mouth firmly shut, drifted off to sleep.