I almost sent the youngest kid in the house to school on Friday. His head felt a little warm, but his temperature only read 99.2. Both boys sleep very “hot,” so I thought he might be fine.
“How do you feel, Bubba?”
“I feel awful.”
I watched him get out of bed, all knees and elbows still and always. He looked a little paler than normal, but the kid is pale every single day. He went off to the bathroom and I took the dogs out. Once back in the kitchen, I looked at him as I got breakfast ready. Something didn’t feel right.
“Bubba, you’re gonna stay home from school today. I’ll call the doctor at eight o’clock. After you eat breakfast, you can go back to bed.”
He finished his breakfast, hit his bed, and was fast asleep before his older brother finished getting ready for school. I got him off to bed and then I did a thing. Originally, I had plans to leave as soon as the boys went to school for Super Early O’Clock Yoga. I don’t know why yoga is Super Early on Fridays, but it is. But since I now had a sick kid, I sent myself back to bed as well.
This year has been a huge adjustment for us as a family. There’s only one morning person among the four of us, and it’s not me. Nor is it my husband. It’s certainly not the youngest child either. Our older son has been a morning person since Day One, so he’s had no problem taking the new middle school schedule in stride.
The younger kid, however, is struggling. 6:52 on the bus means a 6:15 wake up at the latest. He’s exhausted. He goes to bed earlier than last year. He takes naps, sometimes willingly and sometimes unexpectedly in the car on a nine mile drive. His mood has taken a hit and really, he’s just straight up exhausted.
I’m dealing. I get a lot of work done very early in my day now. My 3:15 coffee has moved to 2:45 and is not a maybe but a requirement. Ten o’clock at night is now a struggle. But I’m doing my best. I don’t go back to bed, but this was a special occasion. Or maybe I knew I needed my rest. Either way, I slept hard until almost exactly eight o’clock.
There’s really no worse sound coming from inside a bathroom. Because it means vomit. In the sink. On the floor. The bath mat. His shorts. He started apologizing, and I told him to stop. I took his temp and it had spiked up over 101 in less than an hour. He got ibuprofen and in the shower while I cleaned up the mess.
He was asleep before the nurse called me back at 8:30.
“It could be a virus that’s going around, too. We’ll have you come in.”
I get it. They don’t prescribe antibiotics all willy-nilly like they did back in our childhood days. Superbugs and what not. But I knew it was strep. He gets strep once a year. He starts with a low-grade fever. Complains of a scratchy throat. Then his fever spikes, he vomits, and bam! It’s strep.
We didn’t have our normal pediatrician as she was on hospital rotation. The doctor who saw us was nice enough, but dismissive too. “It could be a virus that’s going around, too.”
No one is shocked that it was strep, right?
The kid got medicine, enjoyed a lunch date with me, and spent the rest of the day sleeping and cuddling with me.
We thought he was on the mend until last night, almost 36 hours after the initial puking episode. More puke. Everywhere. You guys. I don’t understand. I also don’t know the last time I washed the wall behind the toilet, but it’s clean now. Thanks, kid.
He’s feeling better today. We hope.
I’m just glad I didn’t send him to school on Friday. He really didn’t have any fever, so to speak, but my mommy instinct told me that something wasn’t quite right. The fact that I then listened to that instinct and was, shockingly, right, felt good. I don’t mean that I’m glad my kid had strep, because let’s face it, those germs are pervasive and after getting THISCLOSE to random crevices in the toilet last night, my chances aren’t really great.
I mean that I’m glad I still have some ability to gauge parenting situations appropriately at all. Because ain’t not much of that happening round these parts lately. I’ve been doubting absolutely everything about my motherhing and motherhood. Like, who thought I could do this?
At the very least I can spot strep. I’m good for something. And cuddling.
And cleaning puke.