Awhile back, I theorized that having a penis makes boys/men blind. I think it also makes them wimps when sickness strikes. I’m not talking about major illnesses or diseases that deserve our sympathy and attention. I’m talking about run-of-the-mill sniffles, coughs and fevers. You know, basic cold and flu stuff.
Here’s how it goes down in my house when one of the male members is under the weather: First, the embellished coughs and excessive nose-blowing begin. Next, the dramatic moans and exaggerated groans are added for effect. Then, the strained “weak” voice squeaks out an “I’m dying” declaration and the need to stay home from school/work … Can you say, “Drama king(s)?” [To be fair, my husband doesn’t often engage in this behavior because he pops Zicam like TicTacs at the first sneeze. But I hear from friends that this conduct applies to their husbands, so it must be a penis thing.]
Last week, my oldest was home with the flu. For four loooong days. I felt bad for him because he really was sick. At least for the first 3-1/2 days. But then the melodrama kicked in and my patience started to run out. To hear him, you’d think he contracted the Ebola virus, not the flu virus. I’m sure he felt miserable because he looked and sounded miserable, but he wasn’t exactly on his death-bed. And to be honest, his being home from school for three days before a holiday weekend kinda messed up my schedule.
I don’t get sick very often, and when I do, it’s pretty short-lived. Usually just a twenty-four-hour bug. But on those days when I am infirmed, I do what all moms do … I bitch about it, then suck it up and go about my business. Miserably, but I go. News flash for those not in the know: Moms don’t get sick days. Have you seen the new commercials for Vick’s DayQuil and NyQuil? Spot on! … Except for the Dad version. Penises, remember?
As a kid, I don’t remember being sick all that often. I do recall having mono and getting the chicken pox, but those were biggies and hard to forget. What I remember most about being sick during my childhood was the “routine.” I’d stay in my parents’ bedroom, propped up on pillows with a wet wash cloth across my forehead, surrounded by old bath towels and a vomit bucket (a.k.a., small bedroom trash can). I’d sleep and watch TV, and when I was hungry or needed something, I rang a small bell to get my parents’ attention. The “menu” was always the same, too: Warm, flat ginger ale (through a straw), buttered toast, custard from Ziggy’s Deli, jello (if I was lucky, I got to drink some of the gelatin before it hardened) and my grandma’s homemade chicken soup, made from scratch straight out of Brooklyn.
I don’t have a “routine” for my kids when they are sick. It really all depends on the circumstances. Sometimes they stay in their own rooms or the guest room (definitely not my room!), and they have been known to venture downstairs to the family room as well (which I disinfect the second they leave). I don’t give them a bell to ring (are you crazy?!), but I do surround them with old towels and a vomit bucket. Two, actually, because you can never be too careful (I really hate touching vomit). As for food, that, too, depends on circumstances. I don’t usually keep soda in the house, I can’t find custard anywhere in PA and the boys don’t really like jello. Toast is easy, so I’ve got that one covered. And I’m working on perfecting my own chicken soup recipe — It’s not as good as my grandma’s, but I’m sure it’s much healthier.
Now if I can just find that secret ingredient to make my little drama kings handle their illnesses like a woman …