Wednesday, February 25, 2015

When Your Toddler Has a Tonsillectomy

I was just thinking lately about how my blog is really lacking in insanely specific and random posts that will be mostly useless to the vast majority people, so it was perfect when life handed me some content! If there is one thing I have learned about life and blogging it's that your lived experiences are only really lived if they materialize in a blog post. (That entire paragraph is sarcasm, in case you missed it)

But really, I figured I would strike while the iron is hot, or more accurately while the memories are fresh, and write up a little post of things I learned from Lucy's recent tonsil/adenoid removal and tube insertion. It's mostly for future Ana who will likely have to go through it again (all 6 girls in my family all had to have the surgery) but also for the random person googling "what the heck to do with a toddler after a tonsillectomy".


1) Not everything that everyone tells you will be true for you. Whether it be the things your kids will definitely  want to eat, or how "super drowsy!" they will be the day after, you should just wait and see how your own kid does with it. Lucy wanted nothing to do with ice cream and ran circles around our house the day after her procedure and I was so totally thrown off. I assumed that every kids is pretty cookie cutter post surgery and I was wrong, good to know for the future.

2) That said, you should still be equipped with everything everyone tells you do have on hand. Because you just don't know! I was so glad to have a freezer full of things to offer even though she said "no" to most of them. I was not worried about the kids not eventually finishing the sherbert and Popsicles that Lucy doesn't eat.

3) Netflix streaming is the bombdigity. Honestly, I felt really guilty letting Lucy just hold my ipad and watch whatever the H-E-double-toothpicks she wanted because thoughts kept going through my head like "we are so spoiled!" and "I didn't have instant streaming when I got my tonsils out, I just dealt and was fine! my kids should be able to do the same!". And while both of those thoughts are true, I also have horrific memories of my own tonsillectomy and I feel pretty sure that the constant streaming of something to lift my little spirits would have changed the general feel of the memories greatly.

Some favorite during her recovery were:
-Curious George everything.
-Mickey and the Beanstalk and the other stories that go with it.
-The Aristocats (over and over and over)
-Robin Hood
-Random weird shows that she accidentally clicks on while watching a kid show.

4) Get back to your schedule as soon as you can...

5) But not on the first day. The day of the surgery was just crazy for all of us, but especially for little Lucy who had NO idea what was coming for her. She pretty much did nothing but scream and sleep for the first 2 hours post surgery, which I completely understood since she thought she was just going "down for a little nap" and then woke up and her throat has been cut at and nose and ears heavily tampered with- seriously? It was so sad! So I held her most of the day, let her fall asleep on me that night, and slept in bed with her through the night, and we are not co-sleepers, so it was weird. If you don't have much of a schedule (no judgements whatsoever!!) this may look pretty normal and so you could just stick with it on day 2, but we do and Lucy has a very specific nap time and place which I did not get back to that second day and I so wish I would have. I think she was craving the normal even though she kept screaming that she didn't want anything, and I think that stability might have helped her rest and recover more. She didn't end up napping even for a second the day after her surgery and by the next day you could tell she had totally outdone it the day prior. So day 3 looked totally normal other than watching 1000% more Netflix and still not eating much and drinking 200% more juice (she's already a big drinker).

6) Take all the help you can get. I begged my mother-in-law to come and she so graciously did, I took up any friends on offers to have the older girls over for play dates and said "yes!" to all meals offered. No regrets, it was all very needed and MOST appreciated.

7) Have some good "in bed" toys for right after the surgery. I did not do this and so wish I had. Luckily my mom and mother-in-law were big thinkers and both had presents for her to open that she could play with in bed, they've obviously done this before.

8) Let yourself be in survival mode for at least 2 weeks. I know some people said that she would be back to normal by 1 week out, but I would actually say that some of our toughest days were during that second week. House falling apart, no clean laundry, fast food for dinner, wine drinking at 3:30 p.m., these are all good indicators that you are solidly in survival mode, which is exactly where you should be for those first couple weeks- so don't freak out, just stay there!

9) Bad habits you make, you can break. We had gotten Lucy off of taking a bottle in November. Yes, I had an over 2-year-old still drinking out of a bottle, it was pretty absurd. It was no easy thing getting her to stop back in November, and after the tonsillectomy the only way I could get her to drink was from a bottle, so back on the bottle she went. However, as soon as she was better we ripped that band aid right off and everything was fine.

I am sure all of these are no-brainers and common sense, but I'm putting it out there anyways because having a little one go through that surgery was no walk in the park and I know I will be looking for solidarity from myself when I most likely go through it again down the road. However, I hope that none of you ever actually have to read this.


  1. This is really good, Ana! Thank you.

  2. Excellent advice. Thank you!!!

  3. I think this applies to any child who has this, toddler or not (mine was 6 when he had his out!). I totally agree with all of this - and week 2 was definitely worse.

  4. My son just had ear tubes put in yesterday (which is so minor compared to a tonsillectomy), but I found A LOT of this to be applicable to that. It was such a hard day yesterday since the gas made him SUPER grumpy (almost violent which he usually isn't) and very teary. It was literally a whole day of me guessing what to do with him. Again... SO NOT THE SAME as a tonsillectomy, but yeah. Good advice for any procedure with toddlers.

  5. Awwww. I still feel bad that you had to go through this, but loved this post. Mostly because of all the realness (wine drinking in the afternoon? I seriously love you and your honesty right now!). Also, my 2 year old had 6 (or was it 7? I lost track....) bottles yesterday, so I totally get you on that :)