Lesson Learned from Month Nine of Parenting Two: Nary a Sick Day One Taketh

It all started with an annoying sore throat on Tuesday. I immediately dismissed it as a result of being overtired, as Elyse, our now nine-month old, has been working overtime in the must-wake-up-every-night-one-if-not-two-times department for the last four

I'm nine months old!

I’m nine months old!

weeks. When Wednesday morning dawned and the aching in my throat was still there, again, I tried to ignore it But, every swallow was a cruel reminder that I am now living in the land of toddler germs and was probably on the verge of getting another cold — my fourth (or fifth?) one since Elyse was born.

Since I had a Thanksgiving dinner to attend and a soon-to-be three year-old’s birthday

Happy Birthday, Clara! (Picture not from her party, but from her actual birthday.)

Happy Birthday, Clara! (Picture not from her party, but from her actual birthday.)

party to prep for, I didn’t have time to be sick. So, I did my best to fight off the germs that threatened to ruin my post-Thanksgiving plans  — extra orange juice with breakfast, wishful thinking, etc. Thankfully, I stayed healthy through Clara’s party. But, as soon as the last of the balloons were deflated, the cold came on hard-core. By Sunday evening, I was stuffy, achy and all-around miserable.

Before I had children, I didn’t mind getting the occasional cold. I actually looked forward to a day of sacking out on the couch, watching movies and eating tomato soup with crushed up Saltines (a home remedy that always worked when I was a child). Now, that I’m a parent, getting sick is not as “fun.” I no longer have the luxury of snuggling up under the blankets for a day of mindless television. I still have to go to work. Don’t get me wrong, when it was just Taylor, Clara and I, I do remember an occasion or two when I was able to get in some quality couch potato time (a random stomach bug or the morning after Taylor’s 33rd birthday gathering at Don Jose Tequila’s comes to mind). But since Elyse was born, no such luck. In fact, when I was in the hospital recovering from my c-section, I still wasn’t able to rest. The day after Elyse was born, I remember being wheeled down to the NICU with the worst headache of my life in order to nurse my newborn baby. And on the day I was discharged from the hospital, again, I dragged myself home, shuffled around the house (all the while holding my throbbing head and new abdominal incision) to gather my belongings for an evening of caring for my new daughter. In the past nine months, although I have been sick a handful of times, I have not taken a sick day. *Insert wild applause and cheering here.*

SONY DSCNow, I can’t speak for any of the dads out there, but since adding the MOM to my title, I have found a new strength. Not only has my ability to handle emotional challenges skyrocketed, but my physical strength has been upped quite a few notches. Sure, carrying around a 32-pound toddler and 16-pound infant is great for sculpting those biceps and triceps, but it takes a lot of strength to haul your snuffling, coughing, phlegmy self out of your warm bed at 2:40 in the morning, make your way into your baby’s room, lug the both of you back to your warm bed and nurse her back to sleep for the next half an hour. Don’t even get me started on what happens just five hours later when you then add a cute three-year-old into the mix.

So, I think you get my point. Being a parent — nevermind a sick parent — is no easy task. As I sit here giving myself kudos for a job well done, Taylor, the cold’s latest victim, sits on the couch occupying Elyse, cold victim number three. Clara, cold victim number two, is now sleeping, but earlier this evening, was treated to a Christmas lights walking tour around the neighborhood with her now stuffy, snuffling daddy. We may not be perfect parents, but we work through sickness and health to ensure that our little ones are forever happy and content.

Now, off to the couch to enjoy my one hour of sick time for today…

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