Snugly, huggly, mean and ugly

Rowan has bronchitis and I want drugs. Or a big huge mallet to put one or the both of us out of our misery.

The poor boy, really. After two weeks of minor coughing (I know, writing it down makes it sound like we’re entirely negligent parents, but, really, he coughed once after waking up. I thought it would resolve.), some nasty bacteria decided to set up camp in his lungs and fight the good fight. When I dropped him off at his babysitter’s in the morning, all seemed well. By the time I picked him up, his voice was froggy. The coughing woke him — and us — through the night. Our wonderful doctor agreed to squeeze him in the next day, and now he’s on amoxicillin and has a puffer, which he is not very good at using.

And he’s miserable. I guess I would be too (oh, wait — hey, I am!) if I coughed until I threw up on Friday night. (“There’s something all over the floor!” he told me when I went in to see what was wrong.)

Every interaction for the past 24 hours — a 24 hours, I should add, during which he helpfully decided to skip his daily nap — has been a battle. From getting dressed to eating to toileting to going to bed, all activities are epic and worthy of sustained resistance. Unless it’s watching Dora DVDs on the couch or throwing toys around, he’s not interested. Even when I think he might be cooperative, he manages not to be. It takes real skill. Witness the conversation I overheard between him and Rachel this morning:

“If I take olives in my lunch, I have to share them?”

“I’m not sure you’re taking olives in your lunch.”

“But if I take olives, I have to share them with Patrick?”

“I guess, if you take olives, you can share them with Patrick.”

“No. If I take olives, I have to share them. I don’t bring them I don’t want to share them.”

“That’s right, Rowan! That’s the rule. If you bring them you have to share them.”

A wail like an air raid siren: “But I don’t waaaaaaaaaaaant olives in my lunch!”

And so it goes. What got me through Sunday was knowing that on Monday we could ship him back to child care, assuming he was well enough to go. Admittedly, our standards for “well enough” are pretty low, though, given that if he stayed home with me another day I might just kill him.

I have to keep reminding myself that he’s not enjoying this either.

After forcing his clothes on his stiff, thrashing little limbs this morning, I finally got it together enough to pick him up and hold him close. “You’re having a rough time, aren’t you?” I asked him. “Do you want a cuddle on the couch for a little while?”

“Yes,” he said, proving that he still knew the word.

And so we cuddled on the couch and I sang him “It’s all right to cry” from the Free to Be You and Me album. Twice. He even giggled at the “down in the dumpy” part. And then he let me put on his coat and boots and mitts and hat and drive him over to someone else’s house for the day so that I could recover.