A little bit about croup, and other thoughts

Some of you saw my post at habit today and wrote me (or commented here) with words of comfort and support about James's croup. Thank you so much. I'm so grateful for your thoughtfulness and, as always, the willingness of a group of perfect strangers to reach out.

I have some thoughts about croup that I wanted to share here, because it's something we've been through a lot in our house. (I've heard that some children are a lot more prone to it than others, based upon the unique physiology of their individual windpipes.) Elisabeth was extremely prone to croup until she was about five. In fact, every cold she had (which, thankfully, hasn't been too many -- she's a really healthy little one) always ended with a cough, and then croup. James has been less likely to have a cold progress that way, but he still gets it a couple times a winter.


Any parent who's had a croupy child will tell you that it can be terrifying to be awakened at 2am by a child's barking cough and desperate attempts to draw a breath. Over time, we've tried a lot of different things to help with symptoms. The best thing for croup really is sitting in a steamy bathroom (we run the shower with the hottest water we have) for 10 minutes, followed by 10 minutes out in the cold night air. We tried a steroid one time about 5 years ago with Elisabeth, and it really didn't help any better than the steam-to-cold routine (and our doctor told us it probably wouldn't -- but we were desperate one particularly bad night). I have a few trusted homeopathic remedies that we use for croup now, after years of trial and error (I recommend these three books -- particularly the first one -- if you are interested in learning more about homeopathic and other natural remedies for a wide range of ailments), we have a favorite (very effective!) natural commercial cough syrup, and depending on the child and the situation, sometimes a hot tea or infusion is helpful. But really, taking the time to run the shower, sit in the steam, wrap the two of us in a quilt, and go sit outside, has been the most effective thing of all.


Most of all, it's just taken a shift in perspective. Of course I want my child to be healthy, and of course I'd rather be tucked into my own warm bed than sitting outside in the cold. But there is something a little bit sacred in taking the time to tend to a child in this way. In a way, it has come to represent a part of our wintertime rhythm, this ritual of croup. And there is such unexpected grace in sitting outside on our glider, cuddled together in quilts, my wee one and I. Just the two of us, looking at the stars, and sharing bits of wonder that we might not otherwise have the opportunity to share. In moments like this, I feel uplifted and strong in my mothering, these quiet moments that lend themselves to an opening, an intimacy between parent and child.

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A few other things tonight:

+As many of you may already know, something special is going on at habit this month. All 33 guests from the whole year are joining Molly and Emily there this month. That means there could be as many as 35 voices there each day in December! I'm so very inspired -- and a little bit awed that I'm one of those women.

+My lens is finally back! I just pulled it out of the box this afternoon and all appears to be well! I am so happy that I won't have to "make it work" with a macro lens anymore.

+Thank you for your warm reception to my shop yesterday! I'm excited that a couple of people have already broken the ice with purchases, but there are still dolls and bags available! (And I promise, I won't be talking about the shop every day from here on out!)

+I'm happy to announce that tomorrow evening I'll be hosting a guest blogger in this space, a woman who has been a mentor to me in my own mothering. I can't wait to see what she has to say.

And I'll be back on Friday!