Learning Opportunties: The Dreaded Cold

We don’t get sick very often around here. In fact, I can’t remember the last time Emily had a cold. I’m half-convinced that’s because she’s never had one before now. Flu, maybe, but a cold?

In any case, last Friday I noticed she was warm to the touch – then hot, followed closely by a sore throat and looking generally run-down. By Friday evening there was no doubt – Emily was sick. We were keeping the fever down with a fever-reducing med, but her other symptoms were increasing.

I had a snergelly-nosed, coughing, wheezing, snot factory on my hands.

My mother lived in fear of me ever getting sick. When I did, I was ordered to my bedroom, given a pitcher of water, a box of Kleenex, and told not to come out until I was better (or had to pee). The only other interactions were refilling the jug of water and imperious commands to drink the water and try not to breathe on her or touch her.

Determined not to be like that, I set Emily up on the couch. I got her cherry-flavored 7-Up when our water tasted icky to her cold-affected tastebuds. I fed her whatever I could convince her to eat, which wasn’t much, and fielded a lot of questions.

Can I get others sick?

How long will I be sick?

Why did I get sick?

Will I ever get better?

Why does everything taste bad?

It reminded me that, even in the midst of a miserable cold, there are vast learning opportunities. We have talked at length about what colds are, how they are spread, how long they can last, and what we can do to prevent them or deal with them once we have them.

In between our talks she has taken almost daily naps – something that faded into the ether about a year ago to my dismay (there’s a lot of writing you can get done in an hour and a half of a child’s nap!). She has shed tears over not getting to go to Story Time at the library (or our last day of L.E.A.R.N. classes) because she is so sick. All of you moms can thank me later – because if you haven’t already got this particular strain of cold, I doubt you would want to catch it from us.

She has worried about getting us sick which – judging from the way my throat feels today – has already happened. Oh well, it’s time for my annual crudfest anyway – and right on time. If I get it over now, I won’t be sick when I’m culling chickens in late January or heaving boxes about in late February when we are moving into our new house.

Meanwhile, it is a great opportunity to learn about how people get sick, spread the germs around, and eventually get over it.

Everything – even a miserable cold – is a learning opportunity.

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