“Embrace the laziness.”
That was the mantra around our house last week as soon as the doctor confirmed Beckett had the flu and should miss an entire week of school.
When the doctor said he needed to do nothing but relax the rest of week, and possibly more depending on how he felt, I wondered to myself how that would possibly happen. Who has time for this? It’s Monday afternoon.
Nothing tests my patience more than a sick kid who waffles between needing you for tissues, medicine and liquids and wanting to be left alone in a passionate way. Caring for a sick kid is not a rewarding experience for me. It’s a job, one that’s not really my groove and exposes my weaknesses as a parent.
I’m more of the busy type of parent. I’m the mule. I’m the three times a week grocery shopper (because I forget what I’m there to get most of the time), the errand runner, the homework checker, the shower monitor and enforcer and the valet service putting hundreds of miles on my truck every week running kids from here to there.
I’m much more comfortable in the role of being busy and productive. That’s why last week was so trying because everything in life grinds to a halt with a sick kid who must stay inside, ignore other commitments and simply rest so he can get better. The goal quickly becomes keeping the other kid away from the sick one so there’s not two kids in the same house with the flu. Add work responsibilities to the caregiver role and the result is a lot more juggling and stress than usual.
After a few down days, then comes the time when he starts to feel better and gets too active around the house, resulting in him spending the night coughing in bed and waking up exhausted.
Beckett is an active kid. He can be a live wire. When he gets sick, which is rare as he has often earned perfect attendance at school, it’s usually in a bad way. When he goes down, he falls hard. It’s tough on him, as he stresses about what he’s missing in school and the amount of work he will have to make up when he returns to school.
Throughout the week, I continuously assured him his teachers understand and do not expect you to return to school with everything completed. I reminded him to just “embrace the laziness” and give himself time to recover.
The worst part of the flu is how long it takes to get better. Although they are more intense, most illnesses, like stomach viruses, typically move quickly and do not require long recuperations. They can be more violent but at least they pass through quickly. The flu is a long-term deal. In Beckett’s case, it took about 10 days for him to regain his strength and energy level.
Throughout the week, as I balanced Kleenex and medicine duties with working remotely, I kept telling myself these are the days I will miss 10 years from now. Although time has a way of altering the perspective, I’m skeptical.
Along the same lines, let’s fast forward a week to Wednesday when school was cancelled for the threat of snow. I was back battling a familiar case of cabin fever.
It was more imperative for Pam to be in the office on this particular day than me. Therefore, I stayed home with the boys because I could get done what I needed to for work from home.
By now, Beckett was back to himself, meaning there were dozens of questions throughout the day about whether he could play outside in the pouring rain. When the answer repeatedly was no because it was so nasty out, he grew impatient. He even wondered aloud whether he would just rather be at school and how come school was canceled due to rain. Complaints also came from Carson, but he wasn’t willing to go so far as to prefer to be in school.
With the crew becoming restless, I started a schedule they seemed to embrace and one that kept me sane. Thirty minutes of playing something with me and thirty minutes of independent time so I could work. Carson was the timekeeper. On more than one occasion, I caught him rigging the clock. He said it was a mistake that he put in three minutes instead of 30 during one break from a game, but I wasn’t buying it. He could have easily fooled me with a more realistic time cheat.
Our playtime included a game of “Horse” on our little indoor basketball hoop that somehow turned physical between the boys, some card games mired by accusations of cheating and a vigorous round of Monopoly Fortnite that took up most of the afternoon.
By mid-afternoon, the “rain day” had morphed into a Fortnite dance contest between the kids. It was about this time I gave up on working and gave them my entire attention.
When Pam came home, she noticed neither kid had changed out of their pajamas the entire day. The funny thing was I hadn’t even noticed.