February 23rd, 2016
I have a confession to make. Sometimes, I like it when my kids get sick.
Don’t get me wrong: I feel terrible for them when they’re under the weather. And a stomach bug is nobody’s friend, particularly when you are married to a sympathetic puker. (By which I mean that I’m pretty much on my own when my kids throw up, lest he join them.) But one of those 24-hour fevers that shows up out of nowhere and moves on a day later can be pretty fabulous.
Kids with fevers just want to be snuggled. They stop rampaging through the house, quit arguing about bedtime, and want nothing more than to spend time nestled on the couch in your arms.
From a mom’s perspective, what could possibly be better?
When Miss Mouse feels fragile, I get a few glimpses of her early baby days. I remember those sacred hours in the middle of the night, when I’d sit rocking her in the moonlight and it felt like we were the only ones awake in the whole world. I’d whisper my dreams for her into her hair and feel her slowly relax into sleep. When she falls into a fevered nap on the couch, I can see her baby-self reflected in her face.
Sickness is about the only force on earth that can slow Kung Fu Panda down. It makes him the easiest one to diagnose. If I look over and see him curled up on the couch, I know immediately that something is wrong. He’ll let me read to him instead of wanting me to play Super Smash Tigers with Lightsabers of Death (or some other game created on the fly).
When Birdie is sick, I use it as an excuse to sneak her back into my bed. I co-slept with Birdie and KFP when they were tiny and nursing and I miss it. It was a magical time. I would drift off to sleep with my nose pressed into their downy heads and wake up to find them sprawled across my pillow.
Sure, there were downsides to sharing your bed with a small child. They squirm a lot and unabashedly hog way more of the bed than any person their size had any right to. There are logistical problems involving leaking diapers. You wake up with cramps in places you didn’t know you had – results of contorting yourself around their sleeping forms. But it was all worth it. Some of my favorite memories from those early days of parenthood are the hours I spent sleeping with my babies.
Now that my kids are bigger, I am mostly happy to have regained ownership of my sleeping quarters, but if the opportunity arises to relive those early days for a night? I’m definitely up for that. As long as there is no puking involved.