When you cry, I’ll comfort and cuddle you—as long as I can

Because one day my arms won’t be the ones you turn to for comfort. So right now I will hold you. For as long as I can.

When you cry, I’ll comfort and cuddle you—as long as I can

I’ve always felt a bit anxious when I hear my kids cry. I don’t like to see them in pain, disappointed, or sad. I hate knowing that sometimes they’re so frustrated and can’t express themselves so they cry because that’s their “best” option.

I know that experiencing a wide range of big emotions is a healthy part of toddler life...but still, it can be so hard to listen to.

It makes my heart ache and my stomach twist.

I think this can be hard for parents to deal with—the emotional lows our children go through—because we know how much it stinks to be so distraught over something that crying is the only way to feel better.

(Well, that and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream…?)

And while, to an adult, this frustration might mean getting into a fight with your partner or making a mistake at work—to a toddler, it could very well mean things that matter SO MUCH in their little worlds—even if it means not getting to have macaroni and cheese for dinner or not being able to go to the park.

As mamas, we want to snap our fingers, fix the situation, make our kiddos happy again then tie it all up in a nice big bow at the end. “All better!”

But sometimes, we can’t figure out what magic trick will fix the situation. And sometimes, they’re too small to find the words explain it to us.

One thing I know that always makes me feel better—and helps my kiddos too—is picking them up and holding them until they calm down.

When I hear one of my children cry, I go to them and pick them up—and I don’t feel guilty about that. This works for us, and it might not always work for you. But that’s OK. Right? Because you do you, I’ll do me—and that’s how parenting should be. ?

So, my baby, when you cry—I will be there for you.

When you cry over losing your favorite stuffed animal, I will hold you. I know this is a tough situation for you to understand and come to terms with and I want to be there for you.

When you cry because your feelings are hurt, I will hold you. I want you to know it’s OK to express your feelings—any of these big, confusing toddler feelings—to me and your dad, whenever you feel necessary.

When you cry because you fell at the park, I will hold you. That scared you, and I know my arms will make you feel safe again. I’ll encourage you to keep going, but I want you to feel better first.

When you cry because you’re overtired, I will hold you. Sometimes, I want to cry when you’re overtired, too. Because my patience is wearing thin and I need a break. But—I will try my best to hold on to my last few ounces of that patience I have left, and I’ll help you settle down.

When you cry because you’re fighting with your sister, I will hold you. (I’ll probably hold both of you, to be honest.) I’ll hold you while we talk about being kind to one another and the importance of protecting each other. I’ll encourage you to apologize and try again.

When you cry because you’re so mad the big tower you built came crashing down, I will hold you. I will validate those angry feelings and I will hear you out. Maybe we’ll even sing a song from Daniel Tiger (DT kills it in the feelings department.)

When you cry because you can’t get your way, I will hold you. I will gently explain that the answer can’t always be ‘yes.’ Sometimes, it’s going to be ‘no’—and you might not like it, but that’s how life goes. But I’ll hold you and kiss you and try to make you laugh. I promise I’ll try to make it better.

One day you will cry and I’ll only be able to try to comfort you over the phone.

One day you will cry and I won’t be the one you turn to first.

One day you will cry and my arms won’t be the solution.

And when I think about that too long, honestly, I cry.

I know you’re going to grow up into an amazing, independent, capable adult. And I want that more than anything. But thinking of the days when I won’t be so needed, and my arms won’t be as heart breaks a little.

So, right now, I will hold you.

I will choose to pick you up.

I will choose to comfort you with hugs and kisses.

For as long as you let me.

For as long as I can.

In This Article

    Tips parents need to know about poor air quality and caring for kids with asthma

    There are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

    When wildfires struck the West Coast in September 2020, there was a lot for parents to worry about. For parents of children with asthma, though, the danger could be even greater. "There are more than 400 toxins that are present in wildfire smoke. That can activate the immune system in ways that aren't helpful by both causing an inflammatory response and distracting the immune system from fighting infection," says Amy Oro, MD, a pediatrician at Stanford Children's Health. "When smoke enters into the lungs, it causes irritation and muscle spasms of the smooth muscle that is around the small breathing tubes in the lungs. This can lead to difficulty with breathing and wheezing. It's really difficult on the lungs."

    With the added concern of COVID-19 and the effect it can have on breathing, many parents feel unsure about how to keep their children protected. The good news is that there are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

    Here are tips parents need to know about how to deal with poor air quality when your child has asthma.

    Minimize smoke exposure.

    Especially when the air quality index reaches dangerous levels, it's best to stay indoors as much as possible. You can find out your area's AQI at An under 50 rating is the safest, but between 100-150 is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as children with asthma. "If you're being told to stay indoors, listen. If you can, keep the windows and doors closed," Oro says.

    Do your best to filter the air.

    According to Oro, a HEPA filter is your best bet to effectively clean pollutants from the air. Many homes are equipped with a built-in HEPA filter in their air conditioning systems, but you can also get a canister filter. Oro says her family (her husband and children all suffer from asthma) also made use of a hack from the New York Times and built their own filter by duct taping a HEPA furnace filter to the front of a box fan. "It was pretty disgusting what we accumulated in the first 20 hours in our fan," she says.

    Avoid letting your child play outside or overly exert themselves in open air.

    "Unfortunately, cloth masks don't do very much [to protect you from the smoke pollution]," Oro says. "You really need an N95 mask, and most of those have been allocated toward essential workers." To keep at-risk children safer, Oro recommends avoiding brisk exercise outdoors. Instead, set up an indoor obstacle course or challenge your family to jumping jacks periodically to keep everyone moving safely.

    Know the difference between smoke exposure and COVID-19.

    "COVID-19 can have a lot of the same symptoms—dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and chest pain could overlap. But what COVID and other viruses generally cause are fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea and body aches. Those would tell you it's not just smoke exposure," Oro says. When a child has been exposed to smoke, they often complain of a "scrape" in their throat, burning eyes, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain or wheezing. If the child has asthma, parents should watch for a flare of symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing or a tight sensation in their chest.

    Unfortunately, not much is known about long-term exposure to wildfire smoke on a healthy or compromised immune system, but elevated levels of air pollution have been associated with increased COVID-19 rates. That's because whenever there's an issue with your immune system, it distracts your immune system from fighting infections and you have a harder time fighting off viruses. Limiting your exposure to wildfire smoke is your best bet to keep immune systems strong.

    Have a plan in place if you think your child is suffering from smoke exposure.

    Whatever type of medication your child takes for asthma, make sure you have it on-hand and that your child is keeping up with regular doses. Contact your child's pediatrician, especially if your area has a hazardous air quality—they may want to adjust your child's medication schedule or dosage to prevent an attack. Oro also recommends that, if your child has asthma, it might be helpful to have a stethoscope or even a pulse oximeter at home to help diagnose issues with your pediatrician through telehealth.

    Most importantly, don't panic.

    In some cases, social distancing and distance learning due to COVID may be helping to keep sensitive groups like children with asthma safer. Oro says wildfires in past years have generally resulted in more ER visits for children, but the most recent fires haven't seen the same results. "A lot of what we've seen is that the smoke really adversely affects adults, especially older adults over 65," Oro says. "Children tend to be really resilient."

    This article was sponsored by Stanford Children's Health. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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    "A lot of people do it the other way around ... they get married [and] have a family in their youth," says Diaz."I'm kind of doing it in the second half of my life."

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