Rest: a matter of perspective

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August 12, 2009 by skwishface

I don’t know how Stay At Home Moms do it. If I had to stay at home with my kids all day, every day, my husband would come home to find the kids comfortably confined to their rooms and me out in the back yard, burning my old nursing bras and cackling.

For the past few days, I’ve had a fever and generally felt like hammered poo. The Boy has been bouncing from one minor childhood ailment to another – fevery virus, to pinkeye, to ear infections – and had landed on serious chest congestion with a really gross-sounding cough. With both of us ill, and both The Husband and The Girl well, the division of labor was pretty clear. The Boy and I had been trapped in the house together with our misery for four days.

Four. Days.

By bedtime last night, we were sick alright. Sick of each other’s STUPID FACES. I love my son so very much, and he adores his mommy. But. BUT. We are not fit to occupy the same cage. Not when we’re both feeling whiney and needy and short-tempered. He needs me to be soothing and comforting and patient. I need him to be cooperative and moderately self-sufficient. We both tried our best to be what each other needed, but ultimately just ended up frustrated. The Boy is all of two and a half years old, so he gets to express his frustration by standing in one spot and doing that open-mouthed wailing thing that little kids do. I’m a grown up, so I don’t do that. I sit down for my open-mouthed wailing, thankyouverymuch.

We both had doctor appointments in the midst of all the wailing and gnashing of teeth. My doctor is a rockstar, got me in and out of the office in less than 15 minutes and called a prescription for hardcore antibiotics to my pharmacy for me. She didn’t bother to give me any advice about how I need to rest and drink lots of fluids or whatever, because we’ve been down harder and stranger roads than this one, and she knows that I know. The Boy’s pediatrician, though. He wants to chit chat. He wants to discuss the new GI Joe movie (because somebody had to wear her old Cobra Commander t-shirt). He wants to poke at the boy and analyze every possible permutation of treatment options, both realistic and theoretical. An hour later, we’re staggering out the door with prescriptions in hand, and he cheerfully calls to me …

“Have a good day! Try to get some rest!”

Rest. Rest? You try to get some rest with a 35-pound feverish lemur wrapped around your neck, demanding Elmo videos and refusing to eat anything ever. You try to get some rest when your four-month-old daughter still wakes up once a night for a bottle. You try to get some rest when there’s pets to tend and kids to cart around and meals to cook and a husband to cajole into doing all of those things instead of you. Thanks Doc, I’ll get right on that whole “rest” thing.

This morning, I hauled my still-recovering ass out of bed. I ruthlessly pried The Boy out of his bed and got him dressed, shamelessly bribing him into cooperating with promises of juice. Kid’s mad for juice, any kind of fruit flavored beverage. I hauled him and his sister over to grandma’s house, gave my ever-patient mother-in-law some last-minute (could I use some more hyphens, please-and-thank-you?) instructions on his medications, and then ran like hell to get to work.

Work. Where I can REST.

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