In a few minutes, Fritz's former boss will be arriving at our house to stay for a couple days.
I really love guests. I especially love having house guests, because I feel like it is the only chance I get to visit in depth with adults since Noah was born. It's so much easier to put the boys to sleep in their own beds, eat an adult dinner, and drink wine than it is to get a babysitter and head out for the evening. I also love the intimacy of getting to know people in my own home - and in their own home, too, for that matter.
But this week, the prospect of being host has been somewhat dampened by the onslaught of cold season. This weekend, we each spent a day under the weather. We've rallied as the week has progressed, but we also fell behind schedule from all that nose wiping and frequent night waking. This cold season, the difference between Noah's and Mattias' ability to handle a cold and the accompanying congestion is striking. Toddlers and colds are... just not fun.
Standing in the aisle at the pharmacy last weekend, looking at my over-the-counter options for congestion management with Mattias, I was really struck by the differences between Germany and the US.
Noah was 2 years old when we moved to Denver, so I went through toddler congestion remedies in Germany. In Germany, there was Efeu Blätter (ivy leaves) as an herbal remedy for congestion. There was also medicated nose spray for the over 12 month olds. And pain killers were mostly available as suppositories. (You might be thinking, "Yuck! Suppositories!" But really, I found them so much easier to give than concentrated drops. Mattias has made sport out of spitting acetaminophen and ibuprofen all over me when he's sick, no matter how small the dosage.) In Germany, eucalyptus is not recommended for those under 3 years of age - German pharmacists claim it exacerbates symptoms of congestion. In the US, we use vapor rubs - with eucalyptus - on babies. The whole colds-with-toddlers is frustrating enough without the added difference in remedies.
I guess the key is to exploit both systems, and find what's best. If, you know, I could magically transport myself to the German Apotheke every time Mattias gets a cold this year and fill up my medicine cabinet.
But, it is getter easier with Noah. Because he can take more symptom relieving medications. Because he can tell me what's bothering him. Because he can blow his nose. Because at 4, he listens to what his body is telling him instead of fighting it - ie, he naps if he's tired! These simple differences are wowing me. It's like Noah's been empowered with cold management abilities from all sides in the last two years. It's the silver lining in the otherwise highly unfun cold season.