My sister sent me a meme a few days ago: “Only a woman who has given birth without an epidural can understand a man with a cold.”
Right now my Petie Boo is upstairs with what I call a “boy cold.” It’s just like a man cold, except the patheticism is much more endearing.
Honestly, when I woke up this morning, hearing Sally hacking in her room, and then saw Pete’s flushed face and glassy eyes, I was a little relieved. Am I the only mom who sometimes welcomes a sick day? Not in a Munchausen-by-proxy creepy sort of way, but in a “Well, at least now I don’t have to run downstairs and make two lunches and four breakfasts and dress myself and a toddler in 40 minutes or less” kind of way. And maybe a little bit in a “My instincts were right again” sort of way, because when we went to Pete’s troop picnic on Sunday and I saw three other boys running around with coughs, I turned to Dr. Awesome and said, “The kids will get sick this week. But it’s about time. It’s been two months.”
It’s a break that sometimes I think we just need. A school day to stay in our pajamas, not go anywhere, and drink lots of tea. It helps that A.) Doc and I are not also sick; B.) everyone woke up sick in the morning rather than middle-of-the-night; and C.) this isn’t a stomach bug. Without those conditions, I would be singing a different tune. But a fever is actually something that brings me a little peace with my asthmatic Boo. It’s a warning that lets me know to increase his meds, and I’m not caught off guard by sudden middle-of-the-night wheezing out of nowhere. And while I treat his breathing, I don’t tend to medicate his fevers, because having a fever is the only time he actually stays in bed.
Now that we’re entering cold-and-flu season, I see a lot of jokes going around about the man cold (or man flu, in Britain). I definitely laugh with the rest of them. Have you seen the “Mom Cold vs. Man Cold” video? Too funny, and too true. When I make jokes about Pete’s boy cold, I don’t even have to exaggerate. This morning:
Pete: “Last night was the longest night ever. Why was it the longest night EVER? I was so hot, I didn’t put my legs under the covers.” Petulant sigh.
Me: “Well honey, why didn’t you come to Mommy and Daddy’s room if you were hot and couldn’t sleep? I’m only one room away.”
Pete: “Yea but. . . I can’t walk.”
However, as much as I make fun of this, I really don’t think they’re exaggerating. I used to roll my eyes at my sick husband like the rest of them. But after having kids, I truly believe that boys and men experience colds and flus more acutely than females.
Whenever they have fevers, Pete will stay in bed all day, flushed and moaning with any temperature over 100 degrees F. Sally can be skyrocketed up to 103.5, and I can still only keep her down for so long. This morning I told her to rest. She rested until precisely 8 a.m. She will drink tea, she won’t eat, and she will cough, but otherwise she has been bouncing off the walls singing loudly and making MagnaTile castles with her sister, until I asked them to take a break, and they cuddled up together while Sally read books out loud. That’s another reason I welcome the occasional sick day. When was the last time one big kid was sleeping at 10 a.m. and the other one entertaining her sister so I can actually do something rare and precious, like write?
And not only that, but my darling husband, being up at 7 a.m. with no kids to help get ready for school, said, “Well, I guess I’ll go in early so I can come home earlier tonight.” Score!
So now, having mocked his “boy cold,” I am going to go peek again at my little man and offer him some more tea. I’ll put on a pot of chicken bones for broth, and maybe put my feet up and read a book while the girls play. Because Pete isn’t the only little man in our family any more. His brother “Little Blue” is due at the end of January. And I just can’t wait to meet him, to hug and kiss and cuddle him, and even tend his boy colds in the future.