July 9, 2014 by Dadinator
My son is sick. My daughter is sick. My wife and I refuse to fall off the edge of health into the abyss of sickness and waft around in the purgatory of “almost sick”.
It’s been that way forever. Forever started about 2 months ago, but hasn’t stopped since. Perhaps it never will. It bloody well better.
The doctor informed me on our 5th visit to get our son’s unceasing cough checked out that your average 2 year old who attends childcare will develop 10 to 13 respiratory infections in a year. There’s not much you can do about then either.
Viruses are hard to kill. In fact there is some debate over whether they are even alive in the first place, but your body is remarkably good at getting rid if them most of the time. In fact once you’ve caught a virus and fought it off it will probably never bother you again. Great right?
The problem is that the common cold and flu are caused by a whole bunch of different viruses (1000s of the buggers), so you are never immune to them all. Also they keep changing and evolving and forming variants, so even if you built up an immunity to every cold going round this year (which you won’t) there’ll be a new one around the corner waiting for you… Babies are especially vulnerable as they haven’t caught any of the cold/flu bugs before, so they are susceptible to most of them.
So when your kids are sick, what does it mean?
It means you kind of wish you were sick too so you could hide in bed and take a sick day. Although, parenting doesn’t work like that. Since becoming a dad there have been days where working while sick has seemed the less daunting option.
It means all the hardest parts of parenting young kids: the sleeplessness, the mood swings, the sense of tedium are all amped up while your floppy and feverish little one is not nearly as entertaining as usual.
It means you are usually about to get sick.
It means you feel helpless because your kids are sick and you can’t help them. This feels like a thump to the ribcage from the inside to me.
It means you cradle your child, walk miles with them pressed against you. You may find your self singing or whispering the whole time. It might not achieve a thing.
It means you cart your kid to the doctor 5 times and get the same “There’s nothing major wrong here” every time. Fortunately our local doctors are kind souls who don’t mind us paranoid parents and have never left us feeling like we are time wasters.
It means you find yourself reaching for paracetamol or ibuprofen, even though you swore you never use painkillers on kids… before you had kids.
It means you dread night time because that’s when the cough comes back.
It means your kids need you more than usual, which is kind of nice. And kind of hard.
But most importantly it means: It means they will get better.
What experiences of sick kids have you had? How has it effected you?