Can you teach them how to be sick in bed?
I’ve scoured child development books since before we knew baby Big Guy was going to be a guy, but I’ve yet to find the answer to this one: At what age do children master being sick in bed?
My childhood memories of being sick – and I was sick a lot until about age 12, with chronic sinus-ear, you name it infections – involve dozing fitfully and occasionally waking to demand more buttered toast. If I was only moderately sick – temperature of 100 or so instead of 104 – I’d lounge on the coach and catch up on the soaps I missed during the school year. Funny, but it never took more than a day to catch up.
None of that from Big Guy, though. He was his usual warp-speed self all day today – maybe even a little more so, because I’d blackmailed him.
His favorite Persian rug has been in a closet for about six months, mainly because I got tired of leveling Rug Mountain that kept popping up in the middle of the floor.
“Well, I’d love to bring it out, but the living room is such a mess," I said. "And there’s really no way to clean it up, because your room is such a mess that you can’t fit the toys in there.”
He bought it. Worked himself into a frenzy until early afternoon.
But about 5, he came in from the backyard and nonchalantly announced that he wouldn’t be eating dinner because he had a headache.
There’s no way he means that, I thought. It was pizza night, and we’d been working on dinner for hours. The guys always look forward to it on Mondays.
Besides, headaches have been my favorite excuse of late with the guys. As in, “Stop banging that drum; it’s giving me a headache.” “You don’t have to be so loud – it’s giving me a headache.” “Turn down that keyboard; it’s giving me a headache.” It’s probably a good way to prepare them for married life, too.
“If you’re not feeling well,” I told him, “then why don’t you just go to bed now?”
And then he really did go to bed – in his very own room, not his brother’s, where he’s been sleeping since June.
His temperature was 102.
He stayed in his room long enough to draw Dad and me in. He took his medicine without complaining and then told me that he was sure he’d feel better soon if I would just stay with him and not bring Little Guy.
Sick, but not sick enough to resist trying a con.
He was up about five minutes later, when I told him a hot shower would probably help his head stop hurting.
YES! Attention from both parents, plus a chance to play in the shower. That’s as good as it gets.
My best guess is a sinus infection, though with him you can never rule out ears. And the lungs always scare you when you’re dealing with an asthmatic.
But for a brief, shining moment, I could see the future – a child who prefers being sick in bed to terrorizing everyone.
Copyright 2007 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.