When I am under the weather, I rarely, if ever, feel like spending my sick day bouncing rubber balls across the family room floor. In fact, when I’m feeling well, I don’t feel like it either. And yet, ever since we got home from the pediatrician’s office forty-five minutes ago, my son has been bouncing his rubber ball collection on the floor over my head.
It is right about now that I begin to wonder if I really should have called my child in sick. Or at least, if I should have dropped him off at school when his quick strep test turned up negative and his pediatrician diagnosed him with “just a bad cold.” A bad cold that was accompanied by a barky seal-like cough—kind of like the one his friend with whooping cough has—this morning, but now, not so much. Now, it’s accompanied by bounce-bounce-bounce-bounce-bounce.
I thought we’d be done with this by now. This Name-That-Illness game. This It’s just a cold, but keep him home anyway stuff. This nebulous sick day nonsense. He’s ten, not three. He’s not going to sneeze on the other kids. He’s not going to put various objects in his mouth. He’s not going to fall asleep at his desk. Rather, he is going to bounce-bounce-bounce his rubber balls while I wonder what he’s missing at school today. Also, what I’m missing because I can’t leave the house.
Here’s what I did when I heard his cough this morning:
- I texted my friend Cheryl to tell her I wouldn’t be working out with her this morning
- I texted my brother to cancel lunch
- I called the school nurse to ask her to send homework home with my other son and to send him home on the bus today
- I cancelled piano lessons
- I called my son in sick at choir lessons
- I cancelled our choir carpool
- I checked the pantry to make sure that we have enough food for two night’s dinners, as we’re supposed to get snowed in tomorrow
- I made an appointment at the pediatrician’s office and took my son there and then back home, stopping for soup along the way
- I turned my car around and backed it into the garage in case I need to get out in the snow tomorrow
- I listened to bounce-bounce-bouncing
Here’s what my husband did:
- He went to work
If only I’d been lucky enough for the Sick Day and tomorrow’s Snow Day to match up, to align like stars in a rare newsworthy instance. Then I couldn’t have gotten out anyhow and my son’s cough would have subsided and the bouncing would have started. I could have skipped my entire list and gotten some work done. But alas. If only I felt like bouncing balls.