My youngest daughter is home for her second day, after a viral infection and breathing problems. As most parents know, little focuses the mind better than a sick child. For all that we say that children are resilient, we fear that their relative frailty may show up too readily when illness strikes. Broken nights that come with dealing with their complaints are hard, but better to get them straight.
My child, like me, is clearly sick when she has no appetite. That was yesterday for most of the time. She begged for a special Jamaica breakfast, and got it (dumplings and salt fish have great restorative powers :-)). But after that, we were headed to the pediatrician and the examinations to find out what was wrong and what we could do. Conclusion: viral infection, for which not much can be done (runny nose can be treated with tissues); coughing is being triggered by lungs struggling to bring in air, so we have the anti-asthma meds (thankfully, no sign of bronchitis or pneumonia). We waited patiently (no pun) at the pharmacy to get our prescriptions: the pharmacist realised that the child needed help so rushed the order. Thank you for caring.
After getting the first dose of those meds, my little lady went for a long nap and spent most of the afternoon under a duvet. By late afternoon, one cracker did not seem to be able to bridge the nutrition gap, I thought, so I tempted her with a proper meal. Gladly, she managed a plate of pork ribs and peas and rice (but please take out the peas, Dad). Revived, she managed to roll into the evening in great spirits. One of her older sisters came by (even though she too had been suffering with sinus problems) and did the bedtime routine and the evening meds; she’s also experienced with a puffer and gave some good advice.
The night was not too bad, though the bed was still too small for three people, and I went to another place. I knew how Brett Farve felt pacing on the sidelines while the action was going on nearby. But, I knew I would get a call later, so I was on my mental warm-up bike getting ready.
Today, fever is not really evident, but we are keeping her home to administer a full day of meds. So, how has she coped with day 2? Well, the request to go ice skating had to be squashed yesterday. Today, we had a real snow fall for the first time, and the light dusting was good for a thrill. I would not have been surprised by a request to go sledding. “Mummy! Look! You’re making footprints.” I heard as my wife headed out to catch the bus. The thrill went on: “I have to rescue my hula hoops from the deck!” Children have interesting priorities.
But, what’s a girl to do? I collected toilet rolls in case we were going to need them for a project. No need. She grabbed the vacuum cleaner and thought it awesome how it sucked up ashes from the fire-place and how the different attachments. “Daddy, can I clean your car?” I pointed her to her own room and the basement, where she often leaves a clear trail. Now, all cleaning done. She had to figure out what else to do. Funny, I have not barred television, but encouraged a day or reading or writing, or just napping. Well, just say the word. Off she went with my new laptop and story telling started: “Look how big it is now, Daddy.” She showed me the paragraphs written so far, which were about four inches long. That’s how a child measures literary skill. Who needs word count. “Now, I want to highlight the words.” So, she has discovered the many ways to colour fonts or background in a document. I’m not sure the story is finished, but it looks very pretty.
Time now to make a movie. The built-in camera of the laptop kicked in and there was a pink-bewigged diva, entertaining some of her dolls. They were part of the video in non-speaking roles. I featured as a background extra.
Now, music. “Can I change to channel 6?” Click. The radio went from NPR’s analysis of whatever into DC 101 and I got dancing thrown in. “Mummy says that if I don’t feel well enough I don’t need to go to ballet today,” I heard as I saw a ‘rocker’ with air guitar flash in front of me across the kitchen floor. The pink wig trailed behind like a jet streak. “How much hair do I have?” I heard her ask herself.
We are not yet at midday. The sun has decided that all of this fun is worth coming out to see, and is just gracing the back lawn.
I would like to think that these are not badly lost days in the school year, especially in the last week of term. I’m sure that class would have been alright, but no need to have to deal with others feeling uneasy with coughing, wheezing, nose-blowing, and inhaling. We worked on telling the time. We do some arithmetic. If the puffer has 120 doses and you have had 3, how many are left? But, I get a feeling that I wont push that line. I hear the strains of another song coming over the air…
Big thoughts are on hold.