Thumper, who turns two in six days (WHAT??! NO!!!), often preempts my concerns after a fall with a quick, “I’m otay, mama!” or “Me pine (fine), mama!” before I could even ask about her spill. But, on Monday, with a fever that hovered steadily at around 103.5 all day, she couldn’t offer that peace of mind.
She woke at a little after 4 AM drenched in sweat and crying. My Guy brought her into bed with us after he took her temperature, and I knew it was not going to be an easy night. Or day, for that matter. I was half right.
As sick as she was, surprisingly, she didn’t fuss all that much. In fact, in between spikes of fever, she was rather entertaining. When the sound from a siren woke her up for the day, and she found herself between her parents, she exclaimed, “Eet up, duys! (Get up guys!) Fietwuck outside!” Soon after, she heard the birds that prompted her second exclamation for the day: “Hey duys, I heah buh-dies! (birdies)”
Yes, she’s easily excitable. My Guy and I were still groggy, both turning away from her, when this last one finally pulled me out of my sleep-soaked state: “Yook (look) duys! I have bown he-ah! (brown hair)” she announced as she clutched fistfuls of her own hair, like we hadn’t known that previously. I had to chuckle and give up on sleep. Apparently, that part was over, but what a way to wake up, with this smiling, precious toddler between us. It could’ve been a lot worse.
Eventually, it did get there. Her fever rose even higher and all she could manage was to lay quietly next to me in bed. Unlike the last time she was out of sorts, My Guy was at home so he could care for Little Miss, who felt left out because she was healthy and we weren’t doting on her like we were her sister. She started to complain of a headache, which was understandable, but not quite believable, but I decided to play along.
We tried to explain to the four-year-old that we would have done the same for her – to stay right next to her to care for her had she been the one afflicted – but appeals for empathy would only go so far at this stage.
After My Guy brought Little Miss to preschool, Thumper and I spent the rest of the morning in bed. She would only sleep if I was right next to her, with my hand clutched between hers, so as she lay there softly breathing, I thought about all the tasks I had planned for today that had to wait. Thankfully, I had a smart phone that allowed me to get to some client emails, but with only one hand, I accomplished little so I spent the rest of the time thinking about what led us here.
We had an unusually busy weekend, which started last Wednesday(!) when we went for a fan sneak preview of the latest Star Trek movie, “Star Trek Into Darkness”, and then went back again for a second viewing after we hosted a small party for friends on Saturday. (Can we say geeks?) Two movies in one week (and the same one, at that) was quite an indulgence, but it didn’t end there.
In between those were play dates with friends at the beach and the park, a jaunt to the library, a highly anticipated concert (The Shins!), and a lovely evening out to meet a fellow blogger, Rudri, who was visiting Chicago with her family.
I remember thinking over the weekend, man, I can’t wait till Monday (and who actually says that?) because we might have been a little overzealous with our social plans. Perhaps it was in response to My Guy’s more stable schedule, now that his business travels have slowed down, that we tried to fit as much in as we could, as if making up for when he was gone for much of last month.
Of course, the ever-present mama’s guilt led me to think that I might have run my toddler ragged with all the activities. But she didn’t go to the movies and concert or spend a late night out with friends. She was home, asleep! I argued with myself, grasping at any possibility that it might not have been my fault.
The little one spent the rest of the day drifting in and out of sleep, although her naptime in her crib only lasted an hour, which meant I still wasn’t able to catch up on the tasks I had on my to-do list. There were three deadlines that Monday, which I couldn’t get to over the weekend for obvious reasons, but knowing that we would have a sitter Monday morning convinced me that I would be able to get to all of it.
You’d think that nearly four and a half years of parenting would have taught me something. Like “expect the unexpected” and “things don’t always go according to plan”. Like a toddler with an inexplicable fever. So there went my brilliant plan. (Can you tell I’m still struggling with this whole work-at-home-mom (WAHM) thing?)
Thumper wouldn’t leave my side, and every time she was uncomfortable from the fever, she would cry, but she would still remember her manners as she implored “tissue please...” and once it’s in her hand, “thank you, mama,” in between sniffles.
It’s bad enough to helplessly watch her suffer through her ailment, but what killed me were the please and thank you’s that accompanied her requests. It’s so Thumper. Ever so sweet, and so full of surprises.
Occasionally, I could still bring a smile to her face, especially when I mentioned her upcoming birthday. “What are we going to do for your birthday?" I’d ask, and she’d respond with a twinkle in her eye, “Sing hattie dehd-day! Bow tandou (blow candle)…Eat tate! (cake) Weh (wear) hattie dehd-day hat!”
I didn’t tell her that we would also be at a waterpark resort at the Wisconsin Dells for the weekend to celebrate her special day. I wanted to wait to surprise her and see the reaction on this water baby’s face when she sees the place.
Her fever finally broke close to bedtime, after a dose of infant Tylenol, much to my reluctance at administering it. While not sprightly, she was delighted with her fruit popsicle, which was the only “solid” food she ate all day. There were multiple “water please” requests, but nothing else appealed to her. Not even the “jook” (rice porridge) that My Guy picked up from our favorite Chinese restaurant, a staple in our house for anyone afflicted by sickness because of my own half-Chinese upbringing that mandated this healing comfort food.
I spent the night finally getting to my tasks and woke early for a run the next day while everyone was still asleep. When I came home at 7:30, I was greeted by the sounds of a healthy toddler on the monitor. The rest of the day was spent at the playground, where she reveled in the sunlight that she missed the day before, slowly returning to her old self.
After naptime, we picked Little Miss up early from preschool, and My Guy took us all out for ice cream to celebrate good health and glorious sunshine. (Can I just quickly mention how much I love our current lifestyle where we can just take a break and spend time together in the middle of the afternoon?)
At the end of the day, when I was trying to console a crying Little Miss (although I forget the reason why – perhaps because they’re often not really end-of-the-world important like they make it out to be) as I was tucking her in at bedtime, Thumper, who was already comfortably snuggled under her own blanket next to us in the crib, called out: “You otay, Missy? Mama, Missy needs tissue.”
Yup, that sounds like the Thumper I know (and adore to pieces), always looking out for everyone around her.
After tending to my big girl, I turned to the little one for a last kiss goodnight and to make sure she had everything she needed for the night, when she offered without my prompting, “Me pine, mama; me happy.”