Andrew and Will have been suffering from pretty bad coughs/colds. At first, I was much more concerned about Will because I love him more. He is just so tiny to have such a big cough. He sounded like a baby harp seal barking. I didn't ever become as frantic as I did two years ago with Andrew because I knew better now, because little Will remained happy and smiley, and because I loved Andrew more.
Andrew's nagging cough and cold took a turn for the worse last Thursday when he spiked a fever and complained that his ear hurt. When I told him that I needed to take him to the doctor, he immediately retracted his complaint: "No, my ear not hurt," and, "a doctor died."
He proved allergic to the antibiotic and then I had a rash-covered, ear-infected, coughing, oozing, feverish little boy.
Aside from the momentary panic that he had meningitis (this is a paranoia of mine, and it got me so extremely worried yesterday that I started shaking and almost knocked Andrew off the counter in my haste to blow out the door to the emergency room. I realized in time that it was not meningitis (he could touch his chin to his chest) so I saved myself some of my dignity. And I realized that I loved Andrew more than Will. Or I love them equally.
Andrew's sickness cycle went like this. A feverish Andrew would collapse on the couch and nap. I would administer Motrin and then 30 min later, he would be happily racing around and insisting that he was all better. And he certainly felt a lot cooler, so I assumed I had the fever totally down for a few hours each day. And I guiltily admitted to myself that it is sort of nice to have him feeling a little under the weather; it meant we all got some naps in during the day. It was only a deep maternal love that got me to continue administering the medicine that revived his spirit that the illness had so wonderfully tamed.
We finally did make it to the doctor's office again. There I realized that Andrew is not only totally resistant to sleep unless he reaches an extreme deprivation, but he is also immune to the effects of fever unless it is extremely high. I had assumed that the Motrin had knocked his fever down to normal, and explained to the nurse that he had taken medicine so he no longer had a fever but that he had felt really hot before, only to discover that he still had a fever of almost 101.
Moments before the nurse took that temperature, he had been kicking imaginary soccer balls and talking to all the other parents and kids in the waiting room. When an 18-month-old fellow patient would wander out of the waiting area, Andrew offered to "go get that boy who left. I'll be right back." He was in a fabulous mood.
He also told a lady waiting at the dr office with her two kids that she was "a pretty mommy." That made her day, too. How could it not? Andrew is always making beauty assessments of women. I think I am ok with this so long as he doesn't end up as a judge on America's Next Top Model (a guilty pleasure of mine) wearing a hot pink feather boa and having the people around him call him Ms.
Nope, this man is not kidding.
Andrew confines himself to simply stating that certain women are pretty (including many of the women of Sesame Street, not that he is allowed to watch television). He's not offering any critiques, yet.
We then went to my parents' where Andrew slept the afternoon away (and I did, too). When he woke up, he delighted them by telling them the following: that Nana was pretty; that he was Papa's boy; that he was Nana's boy; that he was Mommy's boy, too; that Baby Will is nice and our friend and our baby and his name is Baby William Cannon; and that he loved to play Dump with mommy. My dad actually thought that Andrew was trying to "butter [them] up." (Dad, he is two.) He was totally compliant in every way and very affectionate.
When we got home tonight, he spiked a fever again. I wanted to know how high it was actually getting, now that I knew that when he felt cool to me he was actually feverish still. Our ear thermometer was not working, so rectal was the only other option. Before that morning appointment, I didn't think it was worth the pain of determining his exact temperature, but now I wanted to know.
Brig tried to talk me out of it, but that never works. And Andrew did go crazy. It got up to 102.6 before he wrenched himself away. He prayed that he would feel better and then went to sleep. (Oh, he is going to sleep these days totally by himself without any fuss and doesn't wake up until morning. It really is a miracle. This started a few weeks ago before any illness. Our lives have totally changed.)
Even though it means no more naps for me during the day, I do hope that he is recovered by tomorrow. I am so proud, though, that he is such a little trooper about illness. As Brigham knows well, I cannot stand for a man to be wimpy about pain or sickness. Or to blow kisses at me, but I digress.
The whole experience of tending my two sick boys today got me reminiscing about my own sick days as a kid. These are some of my fondest memories, maybe in part because I was probably sincerely sick only half the time. And my mom waited on us hand and foot. All rules went out the window, too, replaced by Sick Day Rules. These were anecdotal rather than delineated, but the pattern was the same. We would immediately get set up in our parents' bed and the tv would be turned on (I desperately searched for My Little Pony) and remain on all day. My Mom, who really was at her best when we were ill, would bring up trays of all our favorite food with juice with curly straws. I think she enjoyed having us home sick, too. It gave her day a special purpose, and a special sense of nurturing that she no longer got to experience after we were all in school. And it had a certain termination point, unlike this post.
On second thought, my parents' nurturing days are not yet over, nor will they be until either my kids are grown or we move very far away. Thanks so much for all you do for us, Mom and Dad. You too, Momo and Grandpa. We love you all. Thank you for teaching us how to take care of our own kids on their sick days.