Mommy Confession: I Like When My Child Is Sick
It hit in the middle of the night. My six-year-old daughter came running to me and said I don't feel well.
She was fine when she went to bed, no signs of illness or crankiness, but when I touched her forehead I knew - she was burning up.
She burrowed into my bed, glassy-eyed and hot and she stayed that way for six days.
Her fever kept climbing and even with the double dip of ibuprofen and Tylenol, she was up in the 100s (sorry, I'm a Fahrenheit dinosaur).
But we never worried.
She kept eating and sleeping and asking for her favourite TV shows. She would nap and wake up and ask for a drink. I would hover around, granting requests and writing. Sometimes I would snuggle in beside her and read to her or try and catch up on my book club novel.
I had heard from friends that a high-fever virus was going around and there was nothing to be done. So I did nothing.
That's not true. You know what I did do? I enjoyed it.
It's true (and I am knocking on wood while I write this down), I like when my kids are sick. Not really sick, but lying around watching movies kind of sick. I even like the middle of the night restless snuggles and chats.
The world slows down. And we get to take a break. And I feel needed and appreciated. Two things that I don't feel that much in our busy life where my role is to pick up, drop off and make sure their lunch box isn't mouldy.
When else does a cynical tween cuddle up with you? When else does an active nine-year-old lie still and read books with you?
I know that other parents don't feel the same way. They get very anxious when their kids are sick, I understand we all have our neuroses. As long as my kids aren't supremely lethargic or talking gibberish, I assume it will be fine. (That is the advice I got from my friend the doctor; it's not the number on the thermometre that matters, it is how the child appears to be.)
I call the doctor when I need to, I line up at the walk-in if I think they need antibiotics or a fever has gone on too long. I worry about their sore throats and their coughs, I fear for the barfs. I apply cool washcloths and administer medication on time. I hate when they are in pain or uncomfortable. But you know that in-the-middle zone when they are too sick for school, but don't feel that bad? That kind of in-between sick and well that only kids get to have? That's okay with me.
After five days of the high fever I did call the doctor's office, I spoke to the receptionist who knows me and she told me to wait it out. That too many people had rushed in with the same virus and there was nothing the doctor could do. I repeated what she said to my mother, mother-in-law, sister and anyone else who thought I was being lackadaisical in my nursing skills.
When the fever went down, she went back to school and I was a little bit lonely. I missed our blanketed days on the couch. But life goes on. 'Til next time.
Want more chaos? Last year, I wondered how I could make my kids go viral.