As a teacher, I tend to get sick every year around this time. As Halloween hits, I usually get a bout of strep or something else pretty quick and curable. This year, the strangest germs have been floating around my elementary school, things I didn't even know were contagious. So when Sam came down with a streaming nose and started to lose his voice, I figured between daycare and the germs I brought home, it was inevitable. When I started to get headaches and congested, I figured it was just my turn. Then the colds lingered and lingered. Based on the patterns at school, I saw kids out for a week, I thought we had the same thing. Then I went to pick Sam up at daycare, after battling through a day at work with Sudafed, Claritin, and Tylenol (should've hit the doctor then), and found him with green mucus on his eyes. I called the doctor on the way home.
"He's processing the cold," the nurse told me when she called back. "Treat it as an eye infection and lots of fluids and rest. He doesn't need to come in if there's no fever."
Ah yes, an 18 month old resting.
But he did. He laid down and rested for two hours the next day. Red flag #2 or 3? Meanwhile I worked half a day, sans cold medicine that wasn't working anyway. Now I was dizzy and feeling horrible, but still no one had a fever.
The next day I went to the doctor, figuring someone should, and my husband wasn't volunteering, though he was also congested. They told me I had walking pneumonia and to go home and rest.... going back to the 18 month old who had now been cooped up in the house for two days.
I enlisted my dad to take Sam to the doctor, so I could rest. This involved explanations of new parking meters in Davis Square, checking in with the flex spending card, when Sam would cry and why, which were the diapers and wipes (seriously), and how he could probably be bribed with getting to see buses afterwards. The was a huge surrender of control and probably not worth the effort.
I attempted to nap, but worried the whole time and felt guilty for not being with him.
When they got back I apologized to him(Sam screamed the entire time until the buses), thinking he was diagnosed with a cold.
"Nope, ear infection." my Dad told me, dropping a small carrier bag of everyone's medications on the dining room table and handing me the printout from the office.
"Treat for right ear infection in addition to upper respiratory infection," I read aloud (and between the lines most negligent mother ever). "Increase intake of fluids and rest."
So for the past two days we have been increasing our fluids and "resting," which usually consists of reading lots of books on the couch and occasionally giving into the pull of ten minute episodes of "Roary the Racing Car." As well as me encouraging Sam to stop "zooming" around the house (complete with sound effect) with his dump truck, bus, or any other wheeled vehicle. Plus we get to fight about taking medicine and/or baby Tylenol a few times a day.
I'm not entirely clear on how to recuperate with an active toddler, let alone thinking in the future about doing this with two or three kids. I email sub plans in after Sam goes down at night, the real "rest" of the day. I miss the days of lying on the couch mindlessly flipping TV stations and catching up on gossipy celeb magazines.
And if anyone has tips on getting an 18 month old to rest, please pass them on.