Clearly it’s wintertime when The Kid starts getting the sniffles. After a few days of that, it turns into the snuffles. A couple of days later, he’s up for a Golden Globe for Best Dramatic Interpretation of a Cold.
Yes, I feel his pain. Yes, I understand he doesn’t feel well. Yes, I get that he’s inherited “that gene” from his dad’s momma — the stubborn “I ain’t takin’ no pill” thing that ends with “I’d rather suffer.” So be it.
“Here, Son, have a glass of water. You need to stay hydrated.”
“I can’t. I just can’t,” he moans, as a tear wells at the corner of his eye.
“Come on, just a sip. You need to take this ibuprofen. Just a sip.”
The head rolls from side to side on the pillow, as if I’m asking him to drink bleach.
“Stop wincing! Sit up and drink this water!”
“No, Mom, I can’t.”
“You’re gonna stay sick if you don’t drink!” I admonish, getting really irritated because it is just like dealing with my mother in-law.
“I’ll drink,” he gasps, “if you’ll go to McDonald’s and get me a sweet tea.”
“I’ll get you a sweet tea if you take this pill and a sip of water!”
He sits right up and does as requested, while I put on my coat and drive a block down the street for a sweet tea.
I’ve always been called “indulgent” where he is concerned, but I don’t like cranky sick people.
I don’t like cranky people to begin with. Like ’em even less when they’re sick.
I come in with the swish swish of my coat making noise, and he manages to sit himself up in his bed.
A couple of weak pulls on the straw and he nods, a bit of color coming back into his face.
“OK. Thank you, Mom. Can you put the rest of this in the fridge for me?”
I do as requested.
He goes back to sleep.
Over the course of three days, we have a quiet battle about liquids. He doesn’t want to drink anything because he’s all phlegmy, and I insist he keep drinking to wash it all out.
A sip of Coke.
A sip of hot tea.
A sip of coffee.
A sip of ginger ale.
A sip of water.
“Ugh. This water tastes terrible. It’s gross.”
I make a big pot of chicken and rice soup. It’s yummy.
He eats about a half serving.
“I can’t. I just can’t.”
A kick in the pants?
“Dude, please try to eat something. Want a bowl of noodles?”
“What kind?” he asks, lifting his head off the pillow on the sofa.
“Elbows. With a little salt and butter.”
“Yes,” he says weakly, “I think I can do that.”
Soon he is savoring the warm bowl in his hands, and eats a decent amount of the elbow macaroni.
I endeavor to ply him with liquids, which he keeps turning his nose up at.
Then, at last, there is a pinhole of light at the end of the tunnel.
He awakens and sits up for more than an hour.
Nothing sounds appealing until I suggest, “Cook you up a steak?”
The clouds part and the angels sing.
After tucking in heartily to his grub, he puts his fork down and asks, “Will I have to go to school tomorrow?”
I don’t answer immediately because we both know he needs to be at school, and yet I don’t dare send him back too quickly.
Nothing says “incubator” like a school building.
“We’ll see. I’m not in a rush to send you back. I’m just concerned that you’ll have a lot of work to make up. If you feel well enough, you could try doing some make-up work today.”
The color starts to fade from his face at the mere mention of schoolwork.
Mmmhm. Just as I thought.
“I need to lay down for a while,” he says, grabbing his blanket and heading for his bed.
“Yes, you need all the rest you can get. If you’re feeling better in the morning, you should try to go to school. It’s for the best.”
“I love you, Mom, but you’re depressing me. Let’s not talk about school.”
“Well, just remember. No school, no video games.”
He stops in his tracks and I see the light go on overhead.
“OK. I’ll try.”
Another steak and a kick in the pants ought to do the trick.
That or I’ll have his granny come tend him.
Works like a charm every time.