Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Bliss of Toddler Sick-Days

I woke up at midnight on Saturday/Sunday night to a sound that I had never heard before but recognized instantly:  my toddler was barking like a seal.   I spent the rest of my night with a constant refrain running through my head:  Liam has croup. How should/will it be treated?  How long is he contagious?  When will he return to daycare? 
We woke to a gorgeous fall day.  The perfect day to go pick out our perfect pumpkin at our favorite farm, undoubtedly filled with lots of other families and little ones.  Maybe not.  Although it pained me slightly (imagine the beautiful pictures of Liam toddering around hundreds of pumpkins!), we decided to stay in our warm home and let our little man have a quiet, peaceful day where we could keep a close eye on him.  Early in the day, my husband and I started discussing our "sick day" plan for the next day.  We decided that he would head to work in the morning, come home at noon, and I would head into work at noon.  It seemed like the perfect solution:  each one of us would be able to put in a half-day of work and Liam would be in the care of one of us at all times.
I make no secret of the fact that I wish I could spend more time with Liam.  Right now, I need to work full-time.  Someday, hopefully soon, that may change.  But for now, the office pulls me away from my son for at least 40 hours every week (a HUGE reduction from when I was in private practice, but it still kills me to spend that much time away).  I feel like I go through seasons with my desire to spend more time at home:  some days/weeks/months I am begrudgingly OK with working full-time, some times I am happy to trot off to work while Liam runs into his daycare room, and other times, each day feels like my heart is being wrenched out of my chest anew.  Lately, I have been in the latter season.  Sunday night, I devolved into a puddle of tears over having to leave Liam while he was sick.  My husband and I talked, I decided to spend all of Monday home with him, and I breathed a small sigh of relief to spend the next day with Liam.
I don't take joy out of my toddler being sick, but yesterday filled my soul.  With croup, Liam seems to feel the worst at night and waking up.  By mid-morning, he was buzzing around the house, joyfully getting into everything.  There were times where he clearly needed down time, and I was happy to provide a snuggle or hug.  We spent the day puttering around the house, running an errand or two and making homemade muffins.  With the weekend behind me (and the laundry and cleaning and whatever else behind me too), I felt like I had a day to focus on Liam.  I sat on the floor and played with trucks.  We ambled through Target looking for sheets for his big-boy bed.  I sat him on the counter, talked him through making muffins and explained in a quiet voice that we had to be gentle (and quiet) in folding in the blueberries.  In response, Liam started talking back, "buuuberry" in a hushed tone.  And later, we sat in Daddy's chair, eating our muffins and watching the wind whip the trees.  At nap time, Liam fell asleep on my chest and I dozed off with him softly snoring in the nape of my neck. 

Going to work today was not easy.  It never is, but at least I had fresh memories of a day where I was totally focused on and enjoyed every moment with my son.

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