Home Sick: The Difference Between Kids and Adults

When I’m home sick: Sleep in as long as possible. Wear PJs all day. Sprawl on couch, catching up with bad TV and junky magazines. Feel guilty about not being at work and/or being home and not getting anything done all day. Doze off a bit on couch. Shuffle to kitchen to make chicken and stars soup and eat with Saltines and think it tastes amazing. Think about running to store for some medicine and more soup but fear running into someone who will then think I wasn’t really sick. Get a little stir crazy and attempt to brush hair for possible walk around the block. Find another good show on TV and watch that instead with some tea on couch. Greet husband with excitement when he comes home because I am not used to a full day with no one talking to me.

When my 5-year-old is home sick: Opens eyes earlier than expected and pops out of bed with more energy than on any normal weekday. Drags me into room to start building Legos. It is barely 8 a.m. Builds Legos, finds forgotten toys, races cars and protests loudly when I sneak away to make coffee. Exhausts all toy options by 8:30 and insists on breakfast and a TV show. Sits like a king during show while everyone waits on him. Perks up (more) from food and starts jumping on furniture. Climbs up my back and tries to wrestle. Protests more when I escape to shower (because we clearly are going to have to leave the house to burn off some energy). Welcomes me back with more ideas for games, all of which involve much activity and some sweating, rejecting all of my calm, “sick day” activities like cards and drawing. By 11 a.m. there are zero signs of being sick (this may occur earlier if you go to the pediatrician. They’re like cars at the mechanic). Accompanies me to the store, asking for everything on the shelves. I cave because the poor guy is sick (!). Falls asleep for a blissful nap on the way home and sleeps while I move him to the house. I then skulk away to log on and answer e-mail and get some writing done. Nap ends, energy is back, playtime resumes. Greet husband with enthusiasm because it is his turn now.


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