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Sick days

January 17, 2008 - Betsy Bethel
I knew I was in trouble when Emma's finger became permanantly buried in her nose last week.

Over and over, I swatted it away. "Don't pick your nose, Emma."

"WAN-na pick-a nose!"

Like it was spring loaded, her finger re-inserted itself after each swat.

"Pick-a nose, pick-a nose, pick-a nose!" she shouted and stomped.


On a positive note, I learned from a co-worker that boogers have antibiotic properties -- but only if they're swallowed, she said. No problem there, I assured her.

Despite these homegrown antibiotics, on Monday, the booger-picking ended and the back-of-the-hand wiping began. Someone had turned on Emma's nasal faucet. Her nose ran so much that day and the next, it could have been a contender in the New York Marathon. I kept a tissue within arm's reach.

Wipe-a nose. Wipe-a nose. Wipe-a nose.

The full-scale cold hit Tuesday. Sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, fever.

I stayed home from work, arranging for my brother to come over during her nap so I could nip into the office for two important meetings.

A sick child can throw one's world into a tailspin. Or it can be a reminder of what's important in life. When Emma was awake Tuesday, we were inseparable -- she was on my hip or on my lap. That was perfectly OK with me.

She's not really the clingy type. More characteristic of her is what she did when she took her nap that day:

"Just go sleep, Mommy," she said after I took her temp (101.9) and gave her a dose of children's Tylenol.

"You want to go to bed already?" It was 11:45 a.m. A full hour before nap time.

"Yeeess," her sweet, pathetic little voice whined.

Once in bed, she asked me to rub her back. I did, and I then found that I couldn't stop hugging and kissing her. You just wish you can make it all better, you know?

I'll never be able to get away with being a helicopter parent, though. There will be no hovering around Miss Emma Skye. After a minute of my fussing, she gently pushed my shoulder with her tiny hand and said, "Go."

I bent to give her one last kiss, and she shoved a little harder and spoke a little louder. "No, Mommy, gooo!"

I did, a little injured despite knowing I shouldn't take a toddler's rebuffs personally.

My feelings were salved the next morning, when I stayed home again and she fell asleep in my arms for the first time in months. Ah, bliss.

Today, Emma is nearly full throttle; all that's left is a productive cough. And some dried boogers.

And a rejuvenated sense of maternal well-being.


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