Her requests: a slice of cheese, cookie cereal without milk, Trix cereal with milk, chocolate milk, an egg omelet, orange juice, a roll with Hummus and some noodles with tuna.
I raced around getting each of the requested items and then presented them to her, as she laid feverishly underneath “soft,” a plush blanket we got as a Chanukah gift from DH’s Aunt. Her cheeks were flushed with fever and her eyes glittered with tears as she watched the Hebrew cartoons on TV. With each offering of a dish, she took a bite and pushed it away, repulsed yet barely tearing her gaze away from the TV.
I probably should have let some common sense dictate what was going on, but all I could do was think about my sick child, who needed some nourishment, and how I was going to offer her anything but the kitchen sink if that’s what she needed.
Granted, running around cooking, preparing, presenting and trying to coax bites into her mouth were exhausting, but I was determined to get something into her little stomach. She finally ate a few bites of Trix in milk, drank her chocolate milk, and then let me know she was done by putting her pacifier firmly back into her mouth.
I settled back into the couch next to her, stroked her hair, and thought about my own sick days as a child. I remembered the year I was home for two weeks with bronchitis, when the fever and phlem overwhelmed my small body. Each morning, my Grandmother would beg me to eat something. Each morning, I gave her the run around. Truth be told, I felt so horrible, I had no appetite. But she didn’t give up, and I would cry and scream that I didn’t want to eat or drink anything. One morning, after another exhausting battle, I just gave in. First, I told her that I wanted cereal and milk, but since our “milk” in those days came from a powder (story for another blog post) I refused to eat it. Next, I insisted that I wanted a tuna fish sandwich. I watched her open the can, add mayo, put it onto a Challah roll, and then place in front of my seat at the kitchen table. I stubbornly pushed it away and shook my head. I told her that I wanted a “hot” breakfast, and insisted she make me oatmeal.
Now, this is when the alarms should have gone off in her head that something wasn’t right. Specifically, since I have always hated oatmeal. She knew that if she ever tried to serve me oatmeal for breakfast, that I would rather go off to school hungry than eat it. And yet, here she was, desperate to get me to eat something, to keep up my strength, to help battle the raging infection within, that she was willing to do anything to get me to eat.
I remember being annoyed that she was giving in to my every whim and, when she put a steaming bowl of Maple and Brown Sugar oatmeal in front of my place with a hopeful look on her face, I simply slid off the chair and walked back upstairs to my room. At that point, she was finally defeated. I eventually got better, resumed my normal eating habits, and went back to school.
I doubt I thanked my Grandmother for helping me get well. Perhaps today will be a good time to remind her of all she did for me when I was home sick. She probably won’t remember that particular illness, but I’m sure she’ll appreciate the thank you phone call.
While this is not my first experience with Baby J. being sick, it is my first time dealing with her as a sick toddler. She is much more verbal, she has more demands, and she is a lot needier.
Today, I listened to our Doctor’s advice and pushed two sippy cups of chocolate milk in to her stomach. I poured her one bowl of Trix with milk and was satisfied when she ate three bites of cereal. Then, I made myself a bowl of cereal and sat on the couch opposite her and ate my breakfast. I realized if I’m going to make it through today, I need to take care of myself as much as I need to take care of her.
And, when she climbed off her couch with soft in hand, her pinky bear tucked underneath her arm and a pillow in her hand, I set aside my bowl of cereal and helped her up on the couch next to me. I tucked her in as she cuddled up next to me, turned the volume down on the TV and stroked her hair.
Today, I might not run around giving in to her every whim, but I’m always going to be the Mommy to give her love and affection whenever she needs it. And I’m praying she gets better real quick, so I get my happy child back!
How do you spend your sick days home with your kids? Do you let them spend the day in front of the TV? Do you try to keep them to their regular schedules? Comment below, would love to learn from your own advice and experiences!