I have been sick for four days. Nothing crazy — just the usual sore throat in the morning, coughing, fatigue kind of thing. Yet, in those four days, the world miraculously kept spinning. My children’s schedules did not disappear; nor did mine. They made it to school and to baseball and to the doctor. They did not suffer from starvation because I decided to forgo grocery shopping or making them breakfast or packing their lunches so I could lie around and do something trivial, like recuperate.
Last night, I happily turned out the lights at 11 p.m., hoping to make up for that three-hour nap, ahem, sleep I had the night before. At midnight, my 15-year-old dog, Buddy, pacing and panting, sent me out like a shot for his first pee break of the evening. At 1 a.m., my daughter ran in soaking wet, exclaiming, “I think I sweated too much.” Unable to peel myself up, I let her little naked tush into my bed where she continued to whine for about an hour straight. “Mommy, I neeeeeeeeeed pants.” “I’ll get you pants” and let our heavy breather out for the second time.
“Mommy, I neeeed my favorite pillow.” “I’ll get your favorite pillow” and give our letchy dog a bowl of water. By 3 a.m., my little princess had tried 12 different positions, including the one where you go all the way under the covers to the end of the bed and push until you fall to the floor, taking the comforter with you. She complained about 20 different things, from being upset that I had to remake the bed after she fell out of it to having an actual dislike for the color of my sheets. “They’re white.”
In the midst of this chaos, my husband was completely oblivious. Some could argue that this has been the case for the last decade. He was sleeping with his body pillow, the one he stole from me in the third trimester of my first pregnancy. It has been our small-person-sized bedmate ever since. A bedmate that he shoves in his crotch and smothers between his knees.
Well, better the pillow than me.
He had two more pillows over his head and was taking up 73.6 percent of the bed. He built an ironclad barricade around himself that neither my daughter nor I could penetrate. My baby girl and I were so snug in our 26.4 percent I feared I’d have to rebirth her to get her to school. Finally, I gave up on our community bed and wooed her back into her room by promising to make her a fort “just like Daddy’s.” Of course I had to remake her bed first, as the sweat had an uncanny resemblance to pee. I got back into bed around 4 a.m. after reading my dog a story and letting my daughter out. Wait, scratch that and reverse it.
By 4:45 my little princess was back in the womb. “Mom, can I be your snuggle bunny?” For how many years will I get to hear that? At 5 a.m. my son was squeezing in on the other side of me. We lay there like a hermetically sealed package of sausages, my arm coyoteed under my big boy’s head. Then he started complaining. “It’s too hot with this blanket. Mom, why is the comforter all bunched up? Mom, I hate the color of your sheets.” “THEY'RE WHITE!”
Somehow, 6:30 a.m. managed to roll around. I banged on my husband’s fort ith the door knocker he had installed. Bang…Bang…Bang. “Please get the kids ready for school. I was up all night.” Mark is a morning person, so I imagined it would be no big deal.
“Grumble grumble… no.”
“What do you mean, no? No, you won’t help me?”
“Grunt, I’m sick; my throat is killing me. Besides, I was up, too.”
“What kept you up? Was it the sound of your snoring? Or maybe the pillow over your head wasn’t soft enough.”
“I just can’t. I’m too sick.”
My husband’s cold might as well be the plague, as the Earth had halted on its axis.
One would think he could muster up the strength to complete the morning duties and take himself to a doctor. Ha ha ha ha ha ha, oh, I’m sorry, that was me laughing. I mean, who are we kidding here? It would take a hemorrhaging artery to get him to the doctor, excuse me, the clinic, as he has never officially acquired a doctor. But why go? It’s easier to lie around and tease my children with his untouchable presence.
He’ll spend his day creating an impressive mound of snotty tissues large enough to pitch off of — tissues that he is too sick to bend down and pick up; however, he will without a doubt feel well enough to send work emails and keep up with his fantasy football team.
He’ll refuse to use sanitizer and sluggishly mosey around the house, putting his grubby, germy hands in every bag of chips, touching every doorknob and remote, and talking on every phone. He may even lick the straws on the juice boxes for good measure. All in an effort to ensure that as soon as he gets better, both my children will surely contract his illness, and I will have no shot at personal recovery.
Now I guess I’m supposed to mother him, which in my bitter and sick state, I cannot even fathom. Listen, if I wanted another child, I would adopt one from Angelina Jolie. Look, us women don’t ask that our sickness or lack of sleep take precedence over yours. We just ask that you go to a hotel until yours passes.
Oh the things they do when they¿re sick...
Oh the things they do when they're sick...
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