We’ve just gotten back from a beach vacation, which ended up, of course, being a day of travel, a
night of interrupted sleep, an hour at the beach, and intense illness for the remaining day.
Just as we were leaving for the beckoning waves, Dulce came down with quite a cough. Bad enough that we stopped on the pharmacy on the way there, but not bad enough for my ‘sometimes I’m actually a good mom’ radar to flip on.
We got there, and she played. I mean, she really wanted this. She played for, like, 15 minutes.
You know a three year old is ill when she’s at the beach and she’s been looking forward to it for weeks, and all she can do is flop on a towel next to Nana.
We carried on, trying different little things in case she was only kind of sick. We played in the sand instead of the water. We had her in the shade. We tried feeding her some lunch.
Look at her, resolutely helping Pop Pop with a bucket of water. Determined to have a good time.
Meanwhile, her sister was having a blast.
Can you even tell the difference? One twin is on death’s doorstep, the other is perfectly fine. The only difference is the smile. One is playing with grim determination. The other is carefree.
We brought her home. Where she immediately slept.
That night, she requested warm milk. I was against the idea, but she wanted it, and as my mom’s old friend used to say, “Whatever the children want.”
She got three sips in before tossing it back up.
And yet she still wanted to get up and play with her daddy and sister before bed.
All of these reminders of what I should have known already.
Kids don’t know when they’re sick. They ignore it. They have such fierce wills, they believe they can force the illness away. They continue on as if it’s nothing. At least adults (most of them), acknowledge that illness takes a toll on them and rest up. We know that we can combat the next day as a well person. We know that taking it easy and allowing ourselves to heal means better fun tomorrow. Kids don’t know that. It’s as if every time is the first and last time, and they don’t want to miss out.
If we don’t watch out for our little ones, they certainly won’t do it for themselves. It’s up to us.
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