By: Brian On: February 25, 2016 In: Serious Dad Stuff Comments: 0
  1. Perspective is everything. Pain to a two-year-old is completely different than pain to a 36-year-old. I’ve had a lifetime to learn how to internalize pain, how to not let people know I’m in pain, and to do my best to carry on despite the pain. But for a 2-year-old, the pain he’s feeling could be something that’s completely taking over his life. It’s something he’s never dealt with before, and something he’s not sure if he’ll ever get over. Remember that.
  2. My kid only gets sick on the weekends. Conveniently, doctors work Monday through Friday but Jake has never developed an illness other than late Saturday or Sunday.  He’s never quite sick enough to go to the emergency room (thankfully), but always seems to have his toe just across the invisible line that necessitates the input of a professional.
  3. The internet is fucking scary. It’s no joke. I’m going to create an app that blocks new parents from using Google the moment their kid starts to display any type of symptoms.  My imagination runs afoul when I’M the one with the symptoms, but when it’s my kid with a weird sore and a slight fever, the internet is a menagerie of worst case scenarios.
  4. Saying “It’s ok,” mostly helps me. I just don’t know what else to do when he’s sick. It’s no cliché that I’d take all that pain away from him and put it on myself…any parent would…but last I checked, I’m not the big black guy from The Green Mile, so I’ll just kneel next to him and keep repeating this mindlessly reassuring phrase over and over in the hopes that I don’t lose my mind.
  5. Milkshakes are the ultimate barometer. If the kid is too sick to want a milkshake, it’s probably time to go to the hospital. On the other hand 99% of the things that are wrong with your kid can be healed, or at least made bearable during the time the milkshake is being consumed. Throw in some Tylenol with your milkshake and you buy an extra hour or so.  This technique may also apply to your pregnant wife.
  6. The guest room is down the hall. With a queen size bed, a sick kid, and an 8-month-pregnant wife, the only realistic place for a dad to sleep is in the guest room. Between the squirming, the body pillows, the crying (from all parties), the groans, and the constant requests for things…it’s immediately evident that there will be no sleep for me in the master bedroom. However, I will inevitably walk past the master bedroom on my way to get a glass of water, and my wife and sick child will appear to be sleeping quite comfortably (and quite soundly) without me in the room. Don’t be fooled…the moment your presence is re-introduced to the equation, you’ll have a knee in your back, a toy airplane in your mouth, and a tiny foot about to make sure there are no more sick babies in your life.
  7. Things could always be worse. Whatever my child is going through may seem like the worst thing in the world at the time, but somewhere out there, actually in more places than I’ve ever realized (thanks, Google), there are parents and kids dealing with illnesses that are infinitely worse. In fact, there are kids fighting the same illness whose lives are in danger because of inadequate medical attention…or inadequate parents…or both. Selfishly, I draw comfort from moments like these.
  8. Priorities are powerful. Is it inconvenient to miss work to stay home with a sick kid?    Have I ever once regretted it?  No.  Sick kids are gross, but they are guaranteed…at least at some point…to be more lovable than usual.  With a two-year-old, a mild to moderate illness is probably the only thing that can get them to downshift to 2nd gear for long enough to hug…add in a sore throat and they’re pleasantly quite for a while too.  They just sit there with you and let you hold them for more than 10 seconds again.  It’s a little cathartic.  And what it does is make me think…when was the last time I stayed home from work to spend time with my healthy kid?
  9. Being a parent is hard.  Honestly, if there was an instruction manual, I wouldn’t have read it.  But on the off chance that I leafed through and landed on the page about how awful it feels to have a sick kid…I would have called bullshit.  It’s all true though.  There is a desperation in being the parent of a sick kid…whether it’s a cold or cancer…that only a parent can understand and with it, a determination to do whatever it takes to see that kid smile again.

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