Deaf Dad: The ‘ill day’

Posted on April 20, 2012



Yesterday, something strange happened when I woke up. I just woke up. Naturally.

I’m used to being woken at around 7am by the vibrating buzz of a pager designed to alert me to Toddler and Baby’s cries, or by a thump on the wall behind my head (Toddler sleeps on the other side). But yesterday morning? Nothing.

Although the novelty was nice, it also worried me, so I hopped out of bed to investigate.

Baby sprung up in her cot the second I walked into their room, but Toddler stayed where she was, sleeping soundly. In my experience, this usually means only one thing. Putting my hand on her forehead confirmed it: she had a high temperature.

I decided she was in no state to go to her pre-school when she also refused her cereal and toast, and the only thing that cheered her up was putting on a few episodes of Peppa Pig that I agreed to let her watch in exchange for her gulping down some Calpol.

Toddler’s nose was so runny I was having to run over to her with a fresh tissue every few minutes. Meanwhile, Baby chomped down her porridge but it soon turned out she wasn’t her usual self either – after breakfast, she kept grabbing my leg and crying if I moved more than a foot away from her.

It’s nice to know your kids need you, but not so much that you can’t actually walk across your living room floor.

Soon I was taking their temperatures, exchanging text messages with my Wife, phoning the doctor, driving to the surgery, being told they both had the same infection, picking up a prescription for antibiotics, and finally, getting home again in time for Toddler and Baby to fall asleep on the sofa.

It was quite a novelty, cradling Baby in my arms as she slept – she hasn’t done that since she was a few months old and, she did a quite stunning impression of a cosy (if very fidgety) human hot water bottle.

Toddler was sleeping on the other side of me, so the living room was remarkably calm and quiet for over an hour.

It was almost relaxing. Whatever that word means.

There are days when your kids are ill that are incredibly messy (think projectile vomit + walls), but the worst it got yesterday was a few tears and tantrums as the day wore on.

On ill days, the kids sleep a lot and aren’t able to be as demanding (or at least, demanding in the way they usually are).

Because they’re ill, there’s also the added bonus that you’re ‘allowed’ (for one day only) to let them do a few things you usually wouldn’t.

Rest assured, I’m not referring to crazily juggling knives in the living room – but simple things, like letting them watch TV a bit more than they should, or staying in all afternoon. These things aren’t ok when they’re well, but are totally ok when they need to stay in and get better.

You could call it guilt-free laziness, for one day only.

Except you’re not able to be that lazy when you’re worrying about them all day.

Nor when you’re forced to walk around from dawn till dusk carrying an 18 month old baby who won’t stop trying to put her fingers up your nose.

Read all the Deaf Dad columns, by Charlie Swinbourne, by clicking here.

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