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Soothe a Child’s Cough – with Love

Recently, my youngest, Thomas, had a tickly cough that had worsened over the week.  By nap-time on Friday, he was barely able to sleep because the cough would disturb him every few minutes.  The prospect of a whole night ahead spent listening to him cough was one I dreaded – for his sake and mine – so, we made a trip to the pharmacy.  I knew they would be unable to give us “the good stuff” because Thomas is only two-years-old and those cough medicines can only be taken by older children.  But I came away with every product and tip the assistant suggested, determined that Thomas and I both would get a decent night’s sleep.

The night started off well.  Having readily swallowed a liquid fruit salad of remedies (one was even peach-flavoured) and with the head of his bed propped up by my husband’s cricket books, Thomas drifted off to sleep quickly.  It wasn’t until 3am that the coughing began.  I waited a while to see if it would pass on its own but it was insistent on keeping Thomas awake.  So, I forced myself into alertness and went in to see him.  I offered a drink and some herbal cough liquid and snuggled into bed with him for a few minutes.  His cough seemed to calm down and Thomas was still so I kissed his cheek and went back to my own bed.  Easier than I thought.

I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in bed with my boys for more than 10 minutes during the night.  They are give-an-inch-take-a-mile characters, likely to insist on middle-of-the night cuddles the following night and the night after that if I give in once.  I’ve always been happy to climb in for a bit to give comfort and help them settle down but I never settle in.

However, within five minutes of my leaving Thomas’ room, his cough was in full swing again.  I had no more tricks up my sleeve.  Then I realised that what had really calmed the cough initially was not the expensive concoctions I had bought from the pharmacy but my snuggling into bed with Thomas.  So, I tip-toed down the hall and climbed back in with him.  He put his arm around my neck and, within a few minutes, his breathing was even and I knew he was asleep.  I drifted off too and, when I woke, I had been there over an hour.  I slipped out of Thomas’ bed, tip-toed back down the hall and we both slept well for the rest of the night.

OK, not the most exciting story but I wanted to write about it because it’s such a clear example of the mind-body-spirit connection.  I’ve been aware of the connection for many years but have never witnessed it in such a simple, immediate way.  I lay in bed with Thomas, fully present and not resistant (I’d usually be thinking, “I just want to get back to my own bed” and “I’m making a rod for my back, he’ll expect me to do this tomorrow night”).  The cuddle almost instantly soothed his cough.  It reinforced for me the health benefits of spiritual connection (which I also touched on in Spirituality & Depression – What’s the Relationship?)  If a loving cuddle can soothe a cough, imagine the impact of all the other things we are doing for our children’s spirituality on their well-being.

 

Much love to you and your little souls,

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