Young children are essentially bioreactors.
Viruses infiltrate their systems, take up residence, make improvements to themselves, and then look for bigger and better hosts to move onto--namely the siblings or parents of the bioreactor in question.
I live with two such bioreactors. They play with other bioreactors, whom I just cannot send away, so we are always fighting off something.
However, I hope not in complete disregard for public health, I almost always send the children to school. Once you have had children with issues, you learn how very important routine is. By very important, I mean that routine is the difference between going to bed smiling and laying your head down with chunks of hair missing (whether the hair was removed by children or self may vary).
But this last week, the big one became very whiny, and the big one is rarely whiny. Then the big one didn't want to eat--even stuff that the big one really likes to eat. Then the big one was too tired to play. Okay. So the big one stayed home sick.
And I have to say that I did enjoy it a bit. I got nothing that I expected to done, but I enjoyed it. I liked the cuddles, appreciated not having to reprimand but giving in a little more. I laughed at his jokes, smelled his hair as I read him stories, covered him up on the couch, and just relished the him-ness that is he is as he simply rested for the day. Okay, "rested" may not be completely honest. If you've ever watched a hyperactive child try to rest, you may notice some contradiction. He tried to stay still, but his body just needed to move. So he would try to move, but then he would quickly tire and lay (almost) still. We cycled through this repreatedly. We came up with creative solutions to his normal coping mechanisms for his sensory issues. I bounced him on my knees, wrapped him in a coarse, scratchy blanket, and rubbed his hands and feet. It wasn't quite a normal day, but it was a good day--as good a day as an adult can have after watching endless episodes of "Street Sharks" and "Spider Riders."
Sometimes you need the child next to you to remember how funny and sweet he can be.
Today, the big one was back at school, and the little one was home. While they may be cut from the same cloth, their nap is reversed. Where the other one is generally nonverbal, the little one is verbose--very verbose. He likes it that he doesn't die very often. He thinks you can't kill wild turkeys because they are just too wild. Well, maybe, he amends, you might be able to get one if you had a very big slingshot. We have a tiger living around the block (a stripey-looking rescued greyhound), who is very nice and doesn't eat children often. When he is finished "bestroying" all his enemies, he might read me a book. And why isn't school over yet? This would be much better if his brother were home to play with him.
After a day with the little one, I wonder what planet I live on.
But he can tell me. "We're in the American world now. When we live in the other world, we speak Korean. And there are other worlds, too, but they all speak Spanish." He still has not discovered who speaks cursive, but he is looking.
"My teacher doesn't speak cursive, just English," he confides to me. "That's why they keep her in kindergarten."
And even though there is much to be done and I didn't get a whole lot of it accomplished, I have rediscovered the joy of my children, recalled their idiosyncrasies, and remembered the individual traits I love about each of them. Perhaps I recovered from a sickness as well--the illness of forgetting your blessings even when they are staring you in the face...sometimes literally...at a distance of 2 inches.
Of course, having recovered from this illness, I am ready for the bus to come tomorrow morning. But I'll be a little sad to see them both climb aboard.