I continued to groggily sneeze and cough my way through our morning routine. The day was the same as any other Thursday –except that Lauren, age six, did not have school due to teacher conferences. This meant she and Kate could bug each other all morning while I attempted to care for the baby and clean up after breakfast. After about fifteen minutes of listening to crabby, sick Kate either screaming at her sister or coughing in her face, I decided that the TV needed to go on and to stay on indefinitely. I was just too sick to care.
The rest of the day was much of the same. We spent a very long, boring day at home because three out of four of us were too sick to leave the house. However, anyone who has children knows that children with hacking coughs, runny noses and even fevers, seldom act like invalids. Too sick to go to school is not too sick to wreak havoc at home. Kate had no desire to lay in bed with a hot water bottle and a bowl chicken soup, quietly looking at books and napping. And Cooper slept even less than usual because of his stuffy nose.
I swept, I vacuumed, I wiped bottoms and changed diapers. I made lunch, cleaned the kitchen and threw in loads of laundry. I carried Cooper around the entire time because he was feeling extra needy, being sick himself. And silently, I cursed my husband who, if sick, gets to shut the bedroom door and take four-hour naps, then venture out for a light meal in the den while watching TV alone. My husband can do this because no one will bother him. Why did I curse my husband for this, something that was clearly not his fault? Because I was sick and crabby and I needed to curse someone. Even if he had stayed home to help with the kids, it would not be a guarantee that they would leave me in peace. When mom is home, mom is on call, on the clock and on the job. The only place a real “sick day” would happen for me is at a hotel.
By five thirty when my husband walked in the door, I was ready to drop. I had fed the kids an early dinner so all he had to do was to put them to bed. I took Cooper and went upstairs and collapsed on the bed to nurse and sleep– that is until Kate came up twenty minutes later because she needed me. No, Daddy could not help her. She needed me. And since she was sick too, and only a little girl, and most importantly, about to pitch a major fit and wake the baby, I roused my aching body and helped her.
A little later, the girls were in bed but Cooper was awake again. At least I could care for him all while sitting on my duff in front of the TV. Eventually, I made it into bed with a cup of tea and my book. And soon after, I fell asleep. I must have slept for at least an hour before Cooper woke up and wanted to nurse…