When it comes to health, I’ve always been pretty lucky. Flu season always passed over my apartment. Friends, family, and neighbors would get sick year after year and I would be fine. I never got flu shots either. The first and last time I got the flu was when I was seven. Aside from the occasional common cold, and that one time I got food poisoning, I never got really sick ever again.
Then I had a kid.
It’s a vicious cycle. Adi gets sick from somebody at the playground. Then Adi gets me sick. Then Adi gets my mother sick. My mother gets my father sick. I get Mike sick. Mike gets Adi sick again. Adi gets me sick again, and I can’t call my mother for backup because she’s already sick. I’m stuck inside all day now, so Adi and I trade worse and worse mutations of the same disease back and forth for a couple of weeks. When it all passes, Adi gets sick from someone at library story time.
Flu season lasts for months around here.
I’ll never be healthy (or leave my apartment) again.
Let’s say your child is sick. Really sick. Not hospital level sick, but vomiting and sneezing everywhere, and terribly grumpy sick. Three phone calls an hour to the pediatrician sick.
How do you entertain her? How do you entertain yourself? How many Disney movies can you watch in a row before your IQ starts to drop? How many Blue’s Clues do you have to solve before you start feeling good about yourself again?
I can solve Blue’s Clues after the first clue now. I found three plot holes in Yo Gabba Gabba. I’m turning into one of those mindless TV 24/7 addicts everyone talks about. All TV and no work makes Rachel an insane stay-at-home-mom stereotype.
I can’t go outside. I can’t even watch the news. Adi has total control over media consumption. If I even think about watching something without bright colors and alphabet songs Adi starts screaming.
If Chris Matthews could incorporate puppets and some current-events based alphabet songs into his show I would be eternally grateful. A is for Abortion rights. B is for Barack Obama. C is for Chuck Hagel. D is for Debt Ceiling! It’ll be great.
And then there’s the medication.
Adi hates taking medication. She hits. She scratches. She’ll force me to force her mouth open. It doesn’t matter what the medication tastes like. It could taste like bubblegum, or rainbows, or cupcakes sprinkled with the ground up bones of unicorns. She won’t take it. I swear she throws it up on purpose. Since it’s so important for her to take medication now, I have to make sure it stays inside her. So what does that mean?
It means medicated suppositories.
I literally had to shove medication up her a**. As you can imagine, I was dreading it. How the hell am I going to explain to a medication-averse toddler that I have to stick a vegetable glycerine bullet up her butt? Someone told me to just do it, and not tell her. That didn’t seem right to me. If somebody was about to shove something up me, I’d want a heads up.
So, when it came time for a diaper change, I told Adi that after I was done wiping her, I would be putting a suppository up her butt. She just nodded. I figured she didn’t understand. I braced myself for a kick in the throat and stuck it in.
Adi didn’t resist. After everything was…in there, she got up and ran to play with her toys.
They should make suppository versions of everything.
I found myself standing there offering prayers of thanks to the merciful G-d who saw it fit to make my child okay with suppositories. It’s the little things.
And then I read the part of the New York Times that nobody threw up on.
If you have flu symptoms stay away from moms. Please. Wash your hands every time you see a sink, coat yourself in hand sanitizer, spray that disinfecting stuff on everything you touch and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Until we have a cure for the flu, just stay home. If you’re a pediatrician please consider having wi-fi in your waiting room.
Also, if we had paid sick leave in my city, I probably wouldn’t get sick so often. Just throwing that out there.
Rachel Figueroa-Levin is a soapmaker, cofounder and educator at Urban Babywearing, a hyperlocal Inwood blogger and organizer, a political/life/religion/parenting satirist, and all around trouble maker. She is also the creator of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Spanish-speaking alter ego @elbloombito. You can reach her via twitter @Jewyorican.