She Says… Sick Owen (Days 1 and 2)

Dear Sick Owen (Day 1),

You are the sweetest. I know, as a parent, I should never wish that my child felt sick. But last week, wrapped up in my quilt laying on the couch, you were the quietest, most polite, most gentle little version of yourself that I have ever seen. You felt vulnerable and breakable and sad. You held my hand and said “please” and “thank you” and “excuse me” so softly and preciously I thought my heart might burst. You let me pat your hair and look into your sick, watery eyes.

It was one of those days when I realize that underneath the crazy drama of being three years old, you are truly a sweet, kind, gentle soul. A caring, empathetic, emotional little boy. A little dear.

You asked “Please Mommy, can I have some more water? Thank you” and said, “No thank you, Mommy” when I asked if you were ready to eat anything yet. You were quiet. And still. Quite unlike the you we see every other day.

I don’t know if it was all just an elaborate, sneaky plan to make me give you unlimited tv time and popsicles, but for the first time in your life, that’s what you got. I secretly loved waiting on you and clicking away on my laptop while you rested your feet in my lap and watched “Frozen” (your 2nd movie ever). I could have done without the puking, but, you know, we’ll forgive that little episode (that I had to clean up, single-handedly, with a pack of frozen baby wipes, minutes before our doctor’s appointment).

Although of course I am glad you are feeling better now, I kind of loved the way you needed me so much. I’m so glad I have the flexibility to be by your side on days like today.

Your Forever Nurse


Dear Sick Owen (Day 2),

You are feeling so much better today. Your energy is back along with your appetite, but you still can’t go to school thanks to a contagious rash. While yesterday you laid quiet and still on the couch while I worked, today you are impatient. Whiny. Angry that I can’t drop everything (ahem, my work) to be your playmate all day.

“Who can play with me?” you whine incessantly, while I try to explain that as much as I love you, I have other things to do (ahem, like work) and you will need to practice playing by yourself for a while. I regret not calling around frantically for a babysitter for you yesterday when I realized you would also be out of school today, assuming that you would be as easy and complacent as you were yesterday.

You cannot understand why I don’t want you to watch tv all day today, like you did yesterday. You refuse to eat anything and demand only popsicles, like you had yesterday. You whine that your tummy hurts, your head hurts, your hip hurts (?). When you said it yesterday it was received with empathetic nodding and gentle hugs. Today I know it is not the case, and I am irritated and tell you that you shouldn’t lie about those things to get what you want.

I get that it’s confusing. Because yesterday we shared a lot of sweet moments and you’re probably unsure of why things are different today. But they are. You’re not sick. And your whining about all of the “rules” I broke yesterday is making me never want to break them again. Why can’t you just be happy with the exceptions and enjoy them, rather than ruining them by expecting them to be the new routine? Exceptions are just that. Exceptions.

Now it is finally evening. After spending the day watching tv and playing quiet games so that I could get some work done, and amped up on a popsicle that I gave in and gave you (because it’s probably true that your throat still hurts a little), you are wild. WILD. Out of control. Bouncing off the walls. Now I remember why I always always always try to get you outside at least once a day to burn off some energy. You are running around the kitchen like a hurricane. I’m going to lose my mind.

The sweetness of yesterday’s real sick day has been almost completely overshadowed by today’s not-really-real sick day.

Thank goodness you can go to school tomorrow. I know I’m not supposed to feel that way, but sometimes, it’s true.

Your Tired Mama Who Has Spent Almost Her Entire Work Week Being a Nurse (And Still Has Work To Do)



10 responses to “She Says… Sick Owen (Days 1 and 2)

  1. I feel like you are reading my mind! From a fellow nurse/mom, I’m with ya! And I’m knee-deep in the work I haven’t done all week due to 2 sick patients!

  2. Wow…harsh…

  3. I am torn between applauding your honesty and judging you on your opinion that work comes before your child’s needs. I guess I just can’t relate. So thank you for sharing what it’s like to be a working mother with a sick child.

  4. Wait, how is this harsh? It’s honest and it’s REAL. For the two of you – I’m sorry, what are your names again? “Uh…” and “Anon” – where is your honesty? Must be so nice to live behind your screen in your high and mighty tower. Ugh.

  5. I understand it’s real and I am trying to respect that. I admire honesty. It is just hard for me to understand such a different reality to my own. I literally only work when my kid is napping or asleep and that is my reality. But your reaction to my honesty regarding my reaction says more about you and your attacking nature than my high and mighty one. So…. I am not allowed to express that I simply cannot relate?

  6. If I have offended you by making you feel “less” because you work and are different to me I didn’t mean to. Being a working mum is a tough gig I am sure and I know that for a lot of families a stay at home situation cannot be helped. I just… can’t relate to putting work first and I believe there is nothing insensitive in putting my point of view on a public forum.

  7. I knew this post would elicit some rude comments. I wrote it anyway, because I think that any parent, working outside the home or not, can relate with the feeling that you aren’t going to love your kid’s attitude all the time. It’s part of being human.

    @Anon, I would not, for a second, say that I put my work BEFORE my kid’s needs. If you knew me in real life, or if you were a fly on the wall in my house last week, you would know that when Owen needed me, he 100% came first. As he always does, and as does Emmett. But the fact is that while kids come first and work comes second, there IS a second. And when the kid is feeling fine and happy again (but simply can’t be at school), work needs to come next. You cannot begin to judge my priorities based on one short blog post about one short day.

    I completely agree that you are allowed to express that you cannot relate to my situation (which is why I did not delete your comment — I appreciated your own honesty as well). But to think that you understand my priorities or where I put my children in that list is presumptuous and incorrect.

  8. There’s a reason many people don’t like kids, and that’s because their little ‘tudes can be too much to bear sometimes! And the clingy whininess is the hardest ‘tude for me to deal with. Give me a full on tantrum, I am patient and loving and calm. But a whiny, demanding, ungrateful brat…I get very impatient very fast. Add in work pressure and I can totally relate. Also, and this may sound crazy, but there is a noticeable difference in my 2.5 YO’s behavior when he consumes mostly candy and sugar (which, coincidentally, is all he ever really wants). Hopefully Owen is feeling much better and you’ve gotten a bit of a break. It’s been a rough winter re: GERMS (and I’m saying this from sunny SoCal!!)

    Re: putting kiddos first: I think we all put our kids first, which is just our instinct as mothers. But, parents have needs and priorities, too. IMO, it is a necessary tool for a child to learn to be patient, with his parents, other kids, strangers. This is nearly impossible with the toddler-set, but a worthy pursuit. It is always nice to hear a mom have the same feelings that I often do. HIGH FIVE!

  9. When Kate writes these types of posts, I believe she is expressing what some of us are afraid to admit. That sometimes we feel like we are going to lose our minds! I have done both (been a working and stay-at-home mom) and they are BOTH equally hard…for different reasons. I would like to think that as Moms we are all on the same team, supporting each other even if our opinions differ. Alas, that is not always the case.

    Just an interesting tidbit…I agree that there is definitely something to be said for making a child wait (for certain things) and for teaching them to entertain themselves and to be patient. I was just talking to a mom (of a 17 year old) today. She was lamenting over the fact that because she had been at her daughter’s beck and call for her entire life, now as an almost-adult, this 17 year old has NO patience. For example, if her mom is not there IMMEDIATELY to get her after a sports practice, she is complaining and whining about how long it is taking her, why isn’t she there yet, etc, etc. Only thing worse than a whining toddler is a whining teenager 🙂

    Keep up the good work Kate, as a mom and with the blog. I enjoy reading because what you write about is REAL, even if some of us disagree at times.

  10. Catching up on your blog and, as usual, you strike a cord with me. Ryan’s allergies have returned (after being virtually allergy-free since we moved!) and it’s made him uncomfortable, culminating today in a giant three-year-old-sized ball of whine. I was relieved I had a freelance assignment tonight, which I drove to in complete silence because my god, silence sounded so good. Anyway, no point to this comment other than: YES. (And I’m glad he’s feeling better.)

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