An Ill Wind: Sick Children

Read about being a mother of 12 as our resident 'Supermom' shares her wise parenting advice

A lot of times, the first sign I had that one of my 12 kids were sick was irritable behavior. At first it might seem momentary; complaints about the lunch you've served him, or he'll claim that all his shirts are itchy and he has nothing to wear. However, as the hours of the day go by, you realize that he's plain miserable, about anything and everything. You stop what you're doing and look at your child; really look at him for the first time in the middle of your busy day, to assess him for illness. You press your lips to his forehead, and startled, you tell him, "You've got a fever!"

You know perfectly well he did no such thing

Since he is already cranky, he will whine something along the order of, "I told you I was sick." Even though you know perfectly well he did no such thing. 

Being a mother, your think about what you might do to make him feel better. "Would you like a cup of tea?" you offer.

Your ill child bemused at your sudden concern, plays along, just to see how far you will run, how high you will jump to make his booboo go away. Warning him that it's quite hot, you serve his tea, asking if he'd like an ice cube in his mug to cool it to a more perfect temperature. "Sure," he grins, in complicity with your need to wait on his every little desire.

"It tastes weird."

You watch him take a test sip, as you wring your hands with worry. "It tastes weird," he pronounces, "I can't drink it."

"Well, would you like a different kind of tea?" you offer, with eager concern. "We have Roaming Raspberry, Cinnamon Mist, Apple a Day, Ginger Mountain, or Vanilla Sleep tea," you pause, out of breath. "Which one shall I make for you, Darling?"

"Don't we have any Perfectly Plum? That's the only one I like right now."

"Well, no, Dear," you tell him, feeling awful that you haven't stocked the only tea he likes and him so sick, poor Dear. "But I'd be happy to run out and buy you some. It will only take a minute."

You race out to get him his tea, and then prepare it for him with love. You watch him to see if it's helping him feel better. He allows you a small crumb. "It's good," he says and you can once again breathe.

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