One day this week, Spawn #1 woke up with spots all over his face. The verdict? Hand, foot and mouth – emphasis on the ‘mouth’. If you’re a parent of a pre-schooler, you’ll know what’s up.
For the last 165434444 months a steady stream of green snot has also been streaming out of Spawn #1’s nose. On top of that, he regularly has a cough that keeps him up at night.
Yesterday afternoon, he had a temperature of 39.6 which went down to 38.something after I force-fed him all the drugs. Last night while I was at work, Husband called to say that our small human’s temp had spiked to 41.2. We both thought the thermometer was broken, but just in case I sent them off to A&E and we paid a nurse $60 to feed Spawn #1 5mls of Pamol which we could’ve done ourselves at home. (She also ruled out meningitis which we couldn’t have done ourselves so I guess we got our money’s worth.)
My life is busy. I’m a wife, a mum of a busy three-year-old, an almost-mum of a she-baby, a business owner, a freelancer and someone who’s just starting a home renovation, all the while trying to be a good friend and member of society. I do the grocery shopping, pay the bills, take Spawn #1 to the zoo, go to the Post Shop to send off stuff I’ve sold on Trade Me, try to fit in physio appointments because Spawn #(almost)2 is absolutely murdering my pre-birthing hips (you get the picture) … So when my child is contagious, it really mucks up my week.
They say that when kids are sick, the mums are the ones who usually get lumped with it. In my marriage that is largely the case – but not because of my role in our family. It’s more because I’m self-employed and can work from anywhere that I’m able to take time off to be at home with my sick child. Yesterday afternoon, I wrote an article while sitting on Spawn #1’s bed, stroking his back and laying cold flannels on his sweaty body while he fitfully napped; Husband couldn’t have gone to a client meeting with a contagious child in tow.
So as annoying as being stuck at home with my sick child sometimes is, the fact that I can is actually a real blessing for our family. It works.
Husband and I are a good team. When Spawn #1 is sick and can’t go to daycare, I frequently stay at home with him but Husband lets me tap out when I need to get to an important meeting or my other job. Heck, a few weeks before Christmas, Spawn #1 got sent home from daycare with a temperature and Husband picked him up so I could go out for a yuletide lunch with some other self-employed orphans who wouldn’t get to go to a Christmas party either unless we banded together. We share doctor duty, and if I need it he gives me the time and space I need to catch up with any work I’ve missed in the evenings or weekends.
This arrangement isn’t the case for every family, and many mums are expected to drop everything for their sick kids, even though they’re not the only parents in the situation. I’m thankful that my working arrangement lets me do both and that my partner in parenting doesn’t just assume that I’ll drop everything to take on nursing duties simply because I used to breastfeed our child.
Oh, and did I mention that I’m also thankful that Spawn #1 doesn’t have meningitis?