Friday, November 20, 2009

Taking Care Of The Sick Kid

I have seen way too many episodes of SUPER WHY! and DORA THE EXPLORER in one day, but at last, after many Pedialyte popsicles, Thing Two (the girl) is on the mend.

Poor kid woke up saying "I don't feel good," and proved her point a little later by throwing up the previous night's dinner.

Much of the day was spent in lethargy on the sofa in front of children's television -- thank goodness for TiVo, something I am putting on my "things I am thankful for" Thanksgiving list this year.

But between that and napping, there were some sweet moments when I fed her soup and helped her squeeze the last of those push-up popsicles for all their juice, and just lay beside her.

The day was long and staying in the house every waking hour of it was claustrophobic. I was testy by the end, but not with her so much as with her brother, who somehow remained a Tigger-like bouncy bundle of energy far into the evening.

But the whole experience brought to mind a school sick day from my own childhood.
 I remember the crunch of Saltines. I remember the sucking down of grape juice. And I especially remember daytime 1970s TV: The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, Let's Make A Deal, The Galloping Gourmet, and the only soap I could ever stand, though it gave me nightmares: Dark Shadows (to this day the name Barnabus Collins gives me chills).

The feverish, icky days spent at home were claustrophobic then too, save for trips out to the doctor. I remember submitting to "throat cultures" and drinking treacly pink fruit-flavored, strong-smelling antibiotics to cure Strep. I remember keeping the cleaning lady company: her name was Elizabeth, she was African-American, from the South, once proudly told my mother "I voted for Mr. Nixon" (my liberal Democrat mother was appalled) and when she could get it, enjoyed chewing on the fat from lamb chops.

Those days seemed impossibly long to me whenever they came. I hated the sore throats -- it hurt so much to swallow. I hated burning up in fever and having to be given a cool alcohol sponge bath. I especially hated having to do more homework to make up for what was missed in school.

Maybe that was part of the reason I got so testy by day's end yesterday: I had a visceral memory of those shut-in all-day sick days from my school days.

But in the end I'm glad I was there for my kid, who thankfully was much better today, save when she woke up from a nap after having a nightmare and cried and thrashed until only Daddy could get her calm. That's the other thing I'm glad for: Late Blooming Dad, who was ready, willing and able to take over.

Here's hoping there won't be any more sicky sick days soon. And to all the Late Blooming Moms and Dads staying home with a sick kid, I wish you patience, and a high tolerance for kids' TV.

No comments: