He made it through school yesterday, but as soon as he got home his fever started snaking up the thermometer, each time I checked it, it was a bit higher. He spent the afternoon curled up snugly in our big bed with ice water and cartoons. His only requests were, "Can you get me some fresh ice? This isn't very cold on my throat." And "Can you please come snuggle with me? I can't get comfortable without you." I find it delightfully easy to parent a mildly ill child, illness hastening the return of that infantile stage in which they only want their base needs met, thirst, hunger, and cuddly comfort. No arguing, no boredom, they are simply pleased that you fetch them cold ice water and hold them close enough that they can relax and drift to sleep easily.
When the kids are sick, Josh volunteers to sleeps on the couch so they can have the comfort of our great big comfy bed and the benefit of having me within arms reach, and so I can hear their fevered whimpers or painful sobs without racing up the stairs to get to them. Last night, BubTar and I were watching television together and he turned away from it, curling into my side and closing his eyes. I said, "Are you ready for bed?" and he said, "No, I think I should just close my eyes a little." So I fetched his medicine and by the time I got back to him he was nearly asleep, my poor sick boy with the pink cheeks and sleepy eyes. I curled up with him again and stroked his feverish forehead and he was asleep before I could even blink. I tucked him in and snuck out of the room for a bit. An hour later Josh, who cannot detect any but a raging fever, called me into the room, concerned about his very hot little head, which had likely jumped from a 102 to a 103. He was beginning to sweat, though, his fever finally getting to the breaking point and as we hovered near he slowly began to feel cooler. We both slept through the night, for me this first time in a week.
Today he's home from school, too sick for school, but not quite sick enough to need to see the doctor, existing in the land of ice water, cartoons, and spontaneous napping. Feeling well enough to be hungry, but too sick to actually sit up and eat the toast he's asked for. He was cool this morning, but his fever is working its way up again, 100, 101, 102. We're playing the quarantine game again, KayTar in the living room, BubTar in the bedroom, me pingponging between the two. When things get quiet enough I sneak back to check on him, brush his hair off his hot little forehead, rest my hand on his chest and feel his fervent little heart pounding inside his small furnace of a body, hoping that soon he'll feel good enough to run and play again, far too busy and too healthy to need the quiet comfort of his mother's arms.