Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sick Days

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.


Ashley said...

It cracks me up that Andrew told you that the doctor died! He sounds so funny and sweet. Having sick kids is MISERY! I hope everyone is better soon!

Ashley said...

And I am terrified of administering a rectal thermometer.

Audrey said...

Hilarious account of the day. I too sometimes ease off the motrin. My excuse is just that, he needs the rest and shouldn't be running around as if he is feeling well anyway! We hope you are all recovered and we can see you this week!

Jacqueline Auna & family said...

I'm so sorry to hear your kids have been sick! We missed you at playgroup last week, I've been meaning to call!

Great job with Andrew sleeping!! That's really amazing! It's better with Elise, she still fusses a little, but I can't complain because I'll put her in bed at 8 - 8:30 and she stays in her bed until she falls asleep. It's been great.

I love Andrew's personality - he's so funny!

Tat said...

In a perverse way, I actually like it when James is sick, too. (This is probably because he's never been seriously ill.) I get a lot more rest and I give myself permission to let the housework, laundry, etc. go and just concentrate on taking care of James. It's kind of nice.

Jeremy and Sara Smith said...

Man - your mom was so nice when you guys were sick! My mom always knew when we were faking it so she would make us do CHORES around the house the whole day. Needless to say, we did not fake it often. We even tried faking it a couple of times when she went back to work but she would just leave us a list for us to do during the day. Now that I think about it - I'm impressed that we even listened to her - I hope my kids will respect me as much as we apparently respected my mom! Hope everyone is better soon...

Monica Merced Rich said...

Poor boys! We've had that cough/cold , too. Along with bronchitis, stomach flu, ear infections, pink eye, throat infections...it never seems to end this winter. And that's only been Jan. and Feb. It has been my experience so far that the more kids you have, the more illnesses they seem to get.

I hope you are all up and running again soon.

woobers_mom said...

It is true: Andrew is brave. And so is tiny William: he takes those 2-year old exuberant expressions of love from Andrew with those baby blue eyes remaining coolly sanguine and calm.

And Momo, AKA Jan, is so very correct that the prudent RPM will never, ever, take the tiniest, vaguest, most ephemeral flash of a potential health problem or a the sheerest potential of a body-crushing fall or a slip on the step (QUICK: call John Edwards, king of slip-and-fall) or--anything, really-- as nothing short of a flat-out mad-dash-rush to the nearest 911. No matter how many or how old the off-spring, the middle-of-the-night WorryMonster will invariably worm its cruel WorryMeter into overdrive, snaking into your semiconscious mind in the quiet darkness. There is no escape.

The telephone rings. It is in the middle of the afternoon; or not. The name of a child appears in the LED display. FLASH: something has gone horribly wrong! Why is she calling me?? Oh, NO! Whatever could it be? Oh, sorry; you miss-speed-dialed & got me, in lieu of one of your sisters, & never even thought of contacting me? OK. As long as it does not involve a mad-dash to the 911.

Or even, as Homer Simpson says, the 411.

I marvel at how wonderfully magical it must be for you to have such fabulous in-laws like the Cannon clan. Really. Think of my parents & sibs; and then think of your father's parents & sibs. Enough said. I rest my case. (Even if I am perceived as too ineffectual to be stricken from the jury during voir dire, right?[Admit it; you were going to say "stupid" were you not? Katie & I nailed it. You know it. You laughed.)

I love you all dearly. Thanks for being an UN-RPM and taking such tender care of darling Andrew and Prince William the Perfect (I am still holding to that moniker I placed on him in Nov.) You are a wonderful mother. (And a great Woober, I might add.)

Jessica and Matt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jessica and Matt said...

I am a little late reading this blog and don't know if you'll see my comment, which would certainly be a great loss to you. :) I just wanted to let you know how shocked I was to see Miss J. Alexander (i.e. the man in the dress and matching headband) on your blog and more shocked to know that you shared my secret pleasure: Top Model. I think part of why I like the show is to watch Matt's hilarious reaction every time the Miss J. Alexander is on the screen ("Why do they call him Miss, it's a guy, this show is so weird. Why do you watch it..."). I love that guy (I'm referring to Miss Jay Alexander, of course).
Love you Toby.