Sick Toddler Theater

Daughter Doin’ Work (Little DDW) is sick with pneumonia. As we all know, pneumonia is NO joke and has the potential to be fatal when not properly treated. Luckily, Little DDW is on the mend – but I’ve learned a lot during the past few days.




First things first – I want to be clear that I’m aware of the fact that there are a million worse things that can happen to a toddler than dealing with pneumonia. I absolutely get that. However, in my short sample size of parenting (21 months), this is by far the biggest challenge I’ve dealt with to date. If any good news comes from this ordeal, it’s the fact that I’ve learned a lot. Without further ado, let’s get to it.

REVELATION #1 – Trust your gut: Once Little DDW started getting sick (fever, bad cough, etc.) I took her to the doctor to get looked at. After five minutes of poking and prodding, the doctor said, “She’s fine. You new parents worry so much, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, I guess. Just let her rest and she’ll be just fine in the morning.” I took the guy at his word because, well…he’s the expert, and I’m not (or so I thought). The next day, the cough was worse and she was completely miserable. At this point, I had a decision to make: Do I ignore her symptoms and trust the doctor who said that she’ll be “just fine”? Or do I trust my gut and go back to the doctor because I know that something’s wrong? The choice was obvious.

Once I went back to the doctor, we had the following conversation.

Doctor: “Hmm…it looks like she has the early stages on pneumonia. Good thing you caught it early, dad!”

Me: “All due respect, but you told me that she’d be just fine in the morning. If I took your advice, I wouldn’t be here right now and who knows what would’ve happened.”

Doctor: “Well it’s a good thing you trusted your gut.”


The bottom line is nobody knows your kid better than you do. If your gut tells you that something ain’t right when it comes to your kid, then it probably means that something ain’t right. I shudder when I think about the condition Little DDW could be in right now if I took the doctor’s advice and ignored her symptoms. Take action and do it quickly. It could literally mean the difference between life and death.


REVELATION #2 – Advice and stories come from all angles: As soon as I told everyone that Little DDW had pneumonia, the floodgates of bad stories and advice burst and I almost drowned. Here are a few examples of stories/advice I received in the past 24 hours:

– “One of my best friends knows a kid that died from pneumonia. It was the worst thing she’s ever seen. Don’t let that happen to you.” This story is helpful…how exactly?

– “You really need to be more careful with your daughter. I keep my kids away from germs and they never had to deal with something like this.” Memo to all of you who’ve dealt with sick children: YOU are the worst parents ever. After I’m done typing this post, I’m going to turn myself into the authorities and you should too.

– “I think this happens a lot with black kids. I’ve never seen a white kid with pneumonia before, but I know of at least three black kids who had it.” Besides the obvious fact that my kid is only 50% black (like that even matters), where do people come up with this shit? I was just waiting for her to tell me that the best cure is a healthy dose of fried chicken, watermelon, and Kool-Aid.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all about receiving good unsolicited advice and hearing helpful stories. But if you happen to be a #2 on my Dirty Dozen list or if you feel the need to give me crappy advice like this, please do us both a favor and stop that shit. I’m just going to roll with the “rest, fluids, humidifier, love” treatment.


REVELATION #3 – My go-to moves don’t work when Little DDW is sick:  You know what I’m talking about. Every parent has go-to moves that they use to get their kids to smile/laugh. Maybe it’s a funny face, a silly noise, or a ridiculous dance – but it works EVERY time, right?

Wanna know my go-to move?

Wait for it…………..

I freestyle rap to the beat of “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” If something could win the award of the funniest, corniest, yet most ingenious thing ever – it would be  my rhyming skills. Since I like you all so much, I’ll share a verse.

If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands

Daddy’s got more skills than any rapping band

If you’re happy and you know it

Then daddy’s clearly the reason fo’ it

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands


Oh – she clapped her hands, alright. Right upside my face right after she yelled “NOOOOOOOO!”

The takeaway here is that you need to have a secondary “go-to” move when your kid gets sick. Otherwise, you could get your nose broken.


REVELATION #4 – There’s only “so” much Dora The Explorer one man can take: It’s no secret that Little DDW loves Dora, and to a certain extent – I love her too. She’s cute, smart, bilingual, etc. However, if you watch Dora for six hours straight because it’s one of the few things that will put a smile on your kid’s face – you will lose your damn mind. Here’s yesterday’s timeline and reactions:




11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Dora: “Do you see Swiper?”

Me: “I sure do, Dora!”

Dora: “Where?”

Me: “He’s behind you, Dora. Do you see him, baby?”

Little DDW: “Swipa! Swipa!”

Dora: “There he is!”

Me and Little DDW: “Yay!”


1:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Dora: “Do you see Swiper?”

Me: “Yes!”

Dora: “Where?”

Me: “C’mon girl, he’s behind you!”

Little DDW: “Swipa! Swipa!”

Dora: “There he is!”

Me: “Duh.”


4:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Dora: “Do you see Swiper?”


Dora: “Where?”


Little DDW: “Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”

Dora: “There he is!”

Me: “Thanks, Dora. Thanks a lot.”


Every man has his breaking point. If you’re not sure what yours is, Dora will help you find it. She’s an “explorer,” after all. I bet she won’t even need to break out her silly map, either.


REVELATION #5 – I’m so grateful for everything I have: Yes, I know that a having your one and only child sick with a serious illness is a strange time to express gratitude, but that’s how I feel.

I’m grateful that I have excellent health insurance.

I’m grateful for my wonderful friends and family who offered kind words and support.

I’m grateful that I have a really tough kid who’s kicking pneumonia’s ass.

I’m grateful for the extra snuggles I get from my baby while she recovers.

I’m grateful to be a dad. Sometimes the gig can be hard…really hard, and sometimes we complain about how our kids drive us nuts. However, when your child gets really sick – you have that “OMG-moment” when you think, “OMG, what if my baby dies?” It’s just another reminder of how lucky and blessed we are to have these little monsters in our worlds.

Whew! I was able to compose this whole post while Little DDW sleeps peacefully on the bed next to me. She’s going to get through this and will be back to her normal cheerful self in no time.

Thank you for your kind words, love, prayers, and happy thoughts. Hug your loved ones and tell them how much you love them today (and everyday). I know I will.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to create a new freestyle rap to the beat of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

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  1. says

    Awww sweet DDW! You are an AWESOME dad–trusting your gut is one of the BEST parenting skills ever. I know it’s caught a lot of things that doctors missed w/ my kids.

    My son had pneumonia too–and yeah it was scary but he was fine and she will be too. But yeah I was the one that caught on there wasn’t something right.

    Kids tv will fuck you up. Only in our house it was Barney. If you can get a hold of them Baby Genius DVDs are QUITE tolerable and very soothing. Lots of ones about Go to the zoo, aquarium, etc. Ok those and Disney Sing Alongs. Yes I’ll even admit I liked the Wiggles. Maybe try the classic Muppets/muppet movies. No one says you have to be bored to death while entertaining your wee one 😉

    ((((Hugs)))))) lots of prayers for her to feel better soon! xoxo
    Headacheslayer recently posted..Fall TV: Impressions part 2My Profile

  2. Cari says

    The unsolicited advice part was dead on!! I actually got that comment (after my baby was out for a week with pink eye) from a MOM IN DAYCARE!! It took every ounce of self-control not to slap her across the face… but decided to consider the source instead. She actually said that outside of “this” daycare, she sanitizes and “cloroxes” everything, that I should try doing the same…
    by the way, love your blog! I got here through Amber’s blog :)

  3. Shirlene says

    What a great post. You nailed it! I had a scare with my daughter when she was 2 years old. She kept getting horribly nasty ear infections. On one instance, I knew she had one (you just know) & took her to Urgent Care. Her fever was 103 & climbing. They told me it was the flu, but that my daughter had wax build up in her ear. Then proceeded to try to get the wax out, which pissed off my daughter. The doctor said, well I don’t know what to do & sent us home. 2 days later was Halloween & she was still sick with a high fever. Halloween night it got horrific. Her fever spiked to 105 at 11p at night. I FREAKED OUT! Called 911 & got her into a bath. She was out of it. Could barley keep herself up & all she did was scream. Within 20 minutes I had her fever down to 103 & the paramedics arrived. A ride to the hospital & I was RIGHT! She had a MASSIVE double ear infection. The ER doctor said that the fever could of killed her & the infection was on the verge of rupturing her little ear drums. Luckily I knew what to do to get the fever down. Needless to say, that doctor & my insurance company got a NASTY letter after that. 2 weeks later we had tubes put in her ear. Unfortunately, my daughter is one for high fevers & it always scares the CRAP out of me. The only thing that makes her happy when she’s that sick is ME & some popcicles.

  4. Sandy Boyer says

    Ahhh! You touch my heart so! My children are almost forty and almost 36 years old! I still remember the horror of when they got really sick. My son like your babes, pheumonia. He was in the hospital a week under a plastic tent!!! He had IV abt’s and I never left his side. I slept on a little cot. He was four years old. By the third day he was doing so much better. My daughter caught checken pox at five months old and it was everywhere!! In every orifice and man was she miserable. The doctors told m e it was next to impossible as breast fed babies like her had my immune system and babies don’t get chicken pox until they are at least a year. All I could do was give her Keri lotion baths which I did several times a day. She didnt sleep for four days I just held onto her and rocker her. My son got them around a week later and he had five!! Only Five and he was four years old!! I still worry about them and their kids my grand babies. I pray for them every day and I am not even religious! I know exactly what you mean. You love them so darned much you feel your heart could burst. I would die for any one of my kids or grandkids. So glad she is on the mend!!! This shit happens to all of us parents and I know I was and am an above average great mother as are you a dad. Kids get sick. Especially going to day care and then starting school. I think the worst comment or *advice * you got what the gal that said it’s only black kids that get pnuemonia. Well I am white and so are my kids. My son WAS blue when I brought him to the ER. Maybe she won’t count him as being really white!! As
    bugs Bunny would say, “What a moroon!!!!” You just hang tough! She is almost out of the woods and you are wonderful parents. Love you DDW and your bro!!!! Take care of you too!!

  5. Sheila says

    You are awesome. I totally know what you mean about the “I should trust them, they’re the professionals”. Sounds like your doctor is a pretty decent dude. To cut the horror story short, my daughter around 20 months got RSV, there was quite an outbreak at her daycare (that i worked at). It was back-to-back dr visits, and on the second visit the doctor saw me and my daughter and didn’t even close the door! She grunted (literally) and said “What, did she suddenly get more sick over night?” I about came unglued!!!! I >>demanded<>eye roll<<. Anyways, you're a total badass. I love reading your blog, especially the one about the Dirty Dozen. It's a reference point for me now when chatting with my fellow parenting-homies. And I just wanted to give you a big thumbs up and a cheers with the 3-week old sippie-cup (sans lid) that i just found under my couch because you know what, that's RDW class my friend. *cheers*

    • Sheila says

      Hey that cut my thingie short. I DEMANDED the test for RSV, had to argue with the dr that it WAS necessary. and then when she came in after she got the results, she was rude then. “i guess it was rsv. i’ll send the nurse in with instructions and prescriptions.” BLAH!!!

  6. Tessa says

    I remember those days well, chicken pox, thankfully not serious at all, 2 weeks straight of Dora, I swear I wanted swiper to eat her and her bloody monkey, then as that hell finished and I could see light at the end of the tunnel, kid 2 gets it and I have 2 weeks of Barny that stupid fecking dinosaur I hated him at the start of the 2 weeks by the end I loathed him with a passion, how I wanted to kill barney when those 2 weeks were up I was so happy…..until my fecking sister brought kid2 a fecking singing barney toy. So whoever thought up Barney, thank you, really :/ As for crappy advice I think that’s universal, when kid2 was born she was put into special care (neonatal unit) I don’t think I’ve ever told that many people to feck off, one gem was ‘you don’t want her there, she could die’ to this day I don’t know how I didn’t kill her, or the nurse in charge of my baby, who when I asked how long my baby would be there for, answered ‘how long is a piece of string’. I hate that nurse more than Barney. I will tell you the BEST advice on how to parent ‘Don’t break her’ 13 years later and I’m still trying hard not too :) I’m glad DDW is getting better, enjoy Dora, it could be worse, it could be that bloody purple dinosaur :))

  7. says

    On her first birthday, my little one had a fever of 104.3 and the on call nurse was telling us to just alternate Ibuprofen and Tylenol until the fever went down. We dosed her and then took her to urgent care, because spiking a fever that high generally has a cause – and I wanted to know. Turns out she had an ear infection. Good thing you trusted your gut… and good luck to her healing with snuggles and free-style raps (which my husband is now totally stealing)…
    Rebecca recently’re damn right i’m judging youMy Profile

  8. Claire says

    Well, I’m 100% white, and so is my husband, and so are our children. My 2 year old has pneumonia. So, I’m not sure about that whole black theory 😉

  9. says


    I *totally* just laughed out loud at that. It is SO TRUE. Besides that, what is the deal with everyone on that show shouting all the time? Do they think our toddlers can’t hear or respond to normal levels of vocal communication? Sigh.

    Glad to hear your daughter is on the road to recovery. Next time you should put her in a plastic bubble and never let her out – clearly you are a terrible parent. 😉

  10. Rachel says

    When my son was six days old I noticed that he was listless and not wanting to nurse so took his temperature it was 102 called the urgent care and the nurse there tried to tell me to make himto the reg Dr on monday two days away after a few choice words and threats they finally agreed to see him we got there they ended up doing a spinal tap then ambulances transporting him to the children’s hospital for a week stay in isolation due to an urinary track infection so always listen to your gut

  11. Misty Russell says

    I’m sure you have heard a million horror stories. I have my own as well, being the mother to 3 boys it’s impossible not to but I won’t share.
    You’ve got it right. Trust your gut, you know your child better than anyone. I’ve battled Dr’s and nurses and won’t back down until my babies get the treatment I know they need. I don’t care if I come home w/ them hating me, my babies have gotten what they need and that’s all that matters. You’re doing a great job!

  12. Noelle says

    Good on your for trusting your gut!!! Gramma always told me that I know my kid better than any doctor and to always trust my feelings when something wasn’t right. Gramma was a wise woman and you’re a wise man.

    “Only black kids get pneumonia”??? What the hell??? People who think like that are stupid.

    I had that “HE’S BEHIND YOU, MORON! HOW CAN I TRUST YOU TO TEACH MY KID ANYTHING IF YOU CAN’T EVEN LOOK OVER YOUR SHOULDER??!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW? SERIOUSLY? HE’S BEHIIIIIIIIND YOUUUUUUU!” moment towards Dora after about 3 episodes when my kiddo was in the stage of loving her. My kid is 13 now and I still have a deep seated hatred for Dora. I hope Swiper goes psychotic and takes her DOWN.

    Mostly, though, I just hope Little DDW gets well soon.

  13. Jenn says

    I love your posts! Btw I’m the mom who has sent her kid to school with ringworm becuase I thought it was a bug bite! Ugh. I’m lucky I have a dr who actually listens to me as the mom. Good luck with ddw! And I love the Dora part too. I’m glad we are past that stage! Lol

  14. says

    One of the things I love about your blog, for a first time stepparent like myself, is the honesty. My jaw dropped when I read the “advice” you’d been given. “Only black kids get pneumonia” ummm okay because somehow pneumonia can tell the difference between races. But since Little DDW is only half black she should’ve only gotten half sick according to that whack theory. I almost fell off the sofa laughing at the Dora part. Omg I can’t stand Dora I have thrown things at the TV because of her. Could be worse though at least she’s not in love with Caillou that cartoon pisses me off more than Dora.
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  15. Sherry says

    You were absolutely right to trust your gut. That is the #1 parenting rule (at least in my book it is). One thing you can add to your ‘grateful’ list is that Dora is nothing compared to BARNEY! That is what my kids watched. And my mother made sure they had EVERY darn VHS tape ever made of Barney.
    Don’t let being grateful/thankful for any of your blessings ever let you question the “appropriate” time to express it. The way I look at it, the alternatives suck.
    You are a great father … oh, and anyone that blames illnesses on a person’s color are just STUPID. Glad you ignored that. Loving this blog … keep it up.

  16. Eleda says

    I’m a little late reading this. I haven’t been keeping up so well lately… First I have to say I absolutely love your posts. You really have a way with words that we (at least I) can relate to. Second I REALLY hope she is better by now. I love the section about the bad advice. I didn’t know skin color had any factor in pneumonia… I do know that there has been an awful virus going around and I know at least 4 people personally who developed pneumonia from it. One of which is in my own home. And you know something else? All white. Lol! The ignorance of some people, I swear. Also as for the Dr… That right there is why they call it practicing medicine. When you took DDW in initially she may not have been showing the symptoms. But within 24 hours things changed. That’s kinda how it goes. A couple years ago I had the pleasure of taking care of my son who got, of all things, H1N1. I wouldn’t wish that experience on my worst enemy. And for the record, I ended up with it too. Lucky for us I didn’t get sick til after he was better but it went from a few days of what if I lose him to what if he loses me. Not fun. Anyway, I love how well you make light of a difficult situation. You have this whole Daddy thing in the bag and are doing a wonderful job. She is a VERY lucky little girl.

  17. Smerkbich says

    Hey, listen. Fried chicken, watermelon and grape Kool-Aid make ME feel better when I’m sick. And I’m a white woman. Just sayin’…. 😉

  18. sam steven says

    I lost my friend as he ignored his illness for a long time. For him, his bronchitis turned into pneumonia because he waited too long. One has to take his/her medical condition seriously. I’ve read this post and I wish to suggest your blog readers go through at least once so that all the queries are answered. Thanks!!!

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