Staying home with sick kids

my child is sick

I was dozing in the rocking chair in the baby’s room when my husband cracked the door open. “I”m sorry,” he whispered, and then I heard the sound of running feet as he scarpered to his car. Tyres squealing, he raced out of the driveway. I looked at the baby; the baby looked at me. I’m sorry? About what? And then I heard it. The sound of the five-year-old being sick in his room next door. I’m sorry, indeed!

It was my turn to stay home with the sick kid, and the sick kid was the baby – or so I thought. It turned out that Master Five was also under the weather. And while I do love the way sick kids seem more susceptible to cuddles than usual, I do not like their inability to aim when they are sick. You know what I’m talking about.

So there I was, up to my elbows in sick baby and sick five-year-old, when the phone rang. It was Miss 11’s school, asking me to come pick her up because guess what? Yep, she was sick too. So I loaded the other sick ones into the car, armed Master Five with a bucket and Miss One with a pile of muslins, and hit the road. An hour and three stops later – one to pick up Miss 11, and two to deal with sickness – we were back home. An hour after that, I finally had all the sick kids changed into clean pyjamas, tucked into bed, and napping.

I trudged downstairs to throw on a load of washing, and saw the dog, sitting shamefacedly in the laundry room on a pile of dirty sheets. “What’s wrong, boy?” I asked him, even though he’s a dog and doesn’t speak English, and he’s deaf anyway so can’t even hear me being concerned. He gazed up at me bleakly. And then I saw the remains of Miss 11’s lunch box on the floor next to him. Yep, the dog was also sick.

Rousing everyone from their sickbeds, we piled back into the car, this time with the dog in tow, and headed for the vet. Two hours and a very expensive vet bill later, the dog was no longer sick but pretty grumpy at being taken to the vet. The kids were still sick and also grumpy. And I wasn’t feeling so hot by this point.

Back home, kids back in their beds, dog curled up in his habitual spot among the dirty washing, I saw down in the lounge. I was tired and headachy and feeling a bit faint. I called the husband at work. “Look, I think you’d better come home,” I told him. “All three kids are home sick now, and the dog ate a lunch box and had to go to the vet, and now I’m feeling pretty crappy.”

“What are your symptoms?” the husband asked, concerned.

“You are not a doctor,” I replied. “Stop trying to play one in real life. Come home and help me.”

“Are you feeling headachy?” he persisted. “Tired? A bit faint?”

“How do you know how I feel?” I asked. “Do you have it too?”

“Nope, but I know what your problem is. You forgot to eat breakfast,” he said. “I’ll be home in half an hour.”

We hung up. Holy heck, he was right. I hadn’t had breakfast! Some tea and toast later (just in case), I felt better. The big kids were up from their naps, playing a board game in the lounge. The baby was giggling in her high chair. The dog was chewing on the pant leg of a dirty pair of jeans, so he felt better.

The husband walked in the door, a bit pale. “You know, actually, I think I might be getting sick now, too,” he said.

Katherine Granich

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