I’m home with a sick Charles today, but everything’s going to be all right because I have chocolate cake.
In addition to catching up on laundry and vacuuming and dishes and whatnot, I plan to eat that cake like it’s the last cake on earth. It’s the best kind of cake, too, because it’s birthday cake, and we all know that birthday cake tastes better than all-purpose, other-occasion cake.
Charles doesn’t want any cake, he doesn’t want anything, so really, even though the cake is from his friend’s birthday party, a party Charles had to miss due to a bad cold and what appears to be an ear infection, there’s no reason said cake should go to waste just because he’s too sick to enjoy it.
It’s 10:30 am. Is it too early for cake now?
Despite the sick kid, we had a pretty nice weekend. Nothing like being forced to stay away from public areas for fear of spreading disease to make you slow things down a bit. Tony got to flex his fort-building muscles and I went for a run. All’s well that ends with forts.
I almost made Charles go to school today. He woke up pretty normally, no fever, and he ate well, but he kept telling me, “Mommy, I’m still sick. I don’t feel well.” Was he just saying that to get out of going to school? Did he just want to watch more movies? Probably. But then I thought, shouldn’t I trust my kids? Shouldn’t I show Charles that I trust him to be honest with me and tell me when he is too sick to go to school? I didn’t want him to think that “not feeling well” is an excuse for missing school that he can use every day – he claims to hate school every morning and always tells me he doesn’t want to go. He’s not serious, he’d just like more fun time; he loves school, running inside as soon as we get there. So I hesitated. He’d been sick all weekend, but seemed totally fine yesterday evening and he slept all night.
But if I had forced him, even if he was totally fine, what kind of message is that sending to a four-year-old? Would I be effectively telling him that I don’t believe him, that I don’t trust him to be honest, and also that we should push through illness and go to school/work even when we’re sick? None of these messages seemed like good ones to send. I ultimately decided that if he spent all day bouncing off the walls, I could use the opportunity to talk about honesty and responsibility and hopefully make a lesson of it all.
But he is sick. He spent the early part of the morning on the futon in my office (of course there is a futon in my office! I like to think of it as my fainting couch for when office jokes get too offensive or expenses get too high) and by 9:30 was crying because his ear hurt. We’re back home now, watching Babar, pumped up on children’s acetaminophen. Relationship intact. Trust issues avoided this time.
Sometimes a parenting win is knowing that you didn’t screw them up for one more day.