Monday, March 21, 2005

Little man hangs out

I wouldn't wish illness on anyone. But I've got to admit it was nice spending a couple of days at home last week with our ailing four-year-old son.

The fact that my wife is a teacher and I'm a writer often influences our planning when one of the kids gets sick. Since all I do is toss words at a screen until some of them stick, I can easily work from home - or a suitably-equipped Starbucks (yes, I'm dreaming. For now.) It is decidedly more difficult for her to phone it in to her class. Oh, I suppose her kids could make do with a webcam.

Oops, maybe I've just given a bean-counting school district administrator somewhere a really bad idea. But the truth is elementary school teachers need to be in class. That's a bummer when your little people wake up too sick to leave the house.

As of Tuesday, little man had been up for most of the two previous nights. We weren't sure what was worse: the high fever, his coughing, or his general state of restlessness as he tried to drift off in between the two of us. By that morning, my wife was starting to look greener than our son, and I got on the phone to get him a Doctor's appointment. I did this only AFTER sending the now-routine "my-kid-is-sick-so-I'll-be-online" today message to the office.

By mid-day, he had been diagnosed with a throat infection. I gave him his first dose of antibiotics and he was happy. He ate apples, crackers, and anything else he could get his busy little hands on. Mom brought home the DVD for The Incredibles, which made him and his elder siblings very happy.

I got a ton of work done. And despite the fact that I still had a ton of work left to do, it felt good to power through a mountain of stuff while a munchkin played at my feet. Every once in a while, he'd quietly call my name and ask for something. A movie, an apple, some crackers, and even water for the cat (oops, glad he caught that).

He smiled the whole day, and was ever the trooper when it came time to take his meds: like a champ, he insisted on taking the syringe (we fill needle-less syringes with the medicine...less fuss and mess than spoons) in his hands and self-administering the dose. For four, he's remarkably easy to have around.

I found myself periodically staring at him. Occasionally, he'd catch me in the act and give me his Silly Daddy look. But I couldn't help but wonder what I ever did to deserve a kid like him, or kids like his brother and sister. They're not perfect - indeed, whose children are? - but they're little slices of us. Pretty magical, even when they're not feeling well.

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