Throat swollen, each breath is audible, a dragging in with great effort, an exhalation that often turns into a coughing fit so hard he gags with the force of it. We have our routine down. First the comforting hugs and kisses, wiping away tears and assuring that all will be well soon. Then the sip of medicine to reduce the swelling and lower the flaming fever. And finally, the rising from bed, draping ourselves in fuzzy blankets while padding to the front door to step into the fog-chilled night and seat ourselves on the stoop.
It's kind of fun at that point. We listen to the silence of our sleep-shrouded street. Water drips down the gutters and plops onto the rocks below. We peer into the fog wondering if anyone else is stirring at this hour and if so, why? I imagine what I would do if a mangy dog came loping toward us, or if we witnessed those naughty teens who have been raiding parked cars overnight, stealing forgotten iPods and wallets. Nothing happens. KC just breathes deeply, filling tiny lungs with moistened air, relieving the stress and softening his cough.
Afterward we turn to SproutTV, a 24 hour toddler TV channel and find that Caillou is just starting. KC perks up and sits nearer the fire and tree.
I am growing weary and he seems to be getting a second wind. Oh well, it seems like the perfect time to pull out the new book I have been dying to read, so I do.
Perhaps you are familiar with Katrina Kenison's earlier books, Mitten Strings for God and The Gift of an Ordinary Day. Each came into my life at the right moment, she being about ten years ahead of me in her life experience raising boys, and I soaked in her wisdom and prosaic writing about the everyday life of a mother. Her latest, Magical Journey, is at the top of my 2013 to-read list. Thanks to this flu I am now half-way through!
Yesterday the fever and tickly throat hit me hard and I was able to stay quiet while my husband worked from home and supervised KC. During the night I heard that same barking cough from ZJ and we went through the Croup ritual as well. We had fun sitting outside, alone in the neighborhood, not a light on in a house in our view. We giggled picturing all the neighbors we know by daylight now snoring in their beds, pajamas on, make-up off and oblivious to our outdoor presence.
And now I have two sick boys at home with me today. And in a weird way I love it. Taking care of sick boys has always made me feel the most motherly. It's so fun to snuggle and soothe and meet such basic needs. All worldly obligations fade away and simplicity of life is all that must be done. Chicken soup for breakfast? Sure! More Caillou and cuddling? Count me in. It's sick week at our house we are making an adventure of it.