Last night Mrs. B and I had the dreaded feeling parents have when at 11 p.m., one of the kids (the Boy) shuffled into our room and said, "I don't feel good; my tummy hurts". Dealing with a sick kid is bad enough, but the real source of dread lies in the fact that this is just the beginning. With other kids at home, if this thing does turn out to be a virus—which it did, then your chances of this little event lasting through multiple kids has goes up dramatically. The Twin-kies certainly did not help their cause. They insisted on taking the Boy's disease-plagued cup and drinking out of it all day long. Their indifference for their own water glasses was almost super human. You would have thought only the sweetest water came from the disease cup, and their own water was flavored with dead fish.
Having a sick kid has other complications, like the fact that the Boy’s younger brothers could care less how he feels. They continue the behaviors that have irritated him all week long (taking cars, throwing things at him, and getting frustrated when he is in their way). It all weighs into the “fun” of the event.
As a parent, it is hard to not see yourself reflected in the actions of your child, and maybe that is why I am so particularly nonplussed when the Boy gets sick. I am a complete baby when I am sick. Just ask Mrs. B. She will gladly confirm my status as a whiny, needy, wimp (and that is just when I have a headache). The Boy exhibits many of these same traits and they drive me nuts. Thanks to my lovely and tolerant wife, I have learned a few strategies that make me an acceptable caregiver.
I am embarking on the next couple of days of illness with the support of a wonderful wife and mother, and just like everything else, it’s never is as bad as you make it out in your head. A week from now (or by the time you are actually reading this), everyone will have already forgotten about being sick. I hope they do remember the time we spent just sitting together on the couch watching Cars for the 100th time. That’s the kind of thing memories are made of.
a. minor baker
A. Minor Baker is the father of four living in Austin, TX. In addition to a soon-to-be second grader, he and his wife are the proud parents of 5-year-old twins and a new baby sister. He can be reached for comment or question at firstname.lastname@example.org