I’ve never been mistaken for a tough guy. I’m slight of build, avoid confrontation when possible and have a fairly low pain tolerance. These are attributes that most people would leave off their dating site profiles (except for little-guys-looking-for-love.com…ok, I just made that up) but I am who I am and I accept it. On a scale of 1 to 10 on the toughness meter, I’m probably about a 4.5 and that’s being generous. One thing I’m sure of though is that I am tough enough to handle my children…or at least I thought I was.
If you live anywhere that witnesses the change of seasons, you know that this time of year is prime cold and flu time. Here in the mid-atlantic/northeast, the bitter cold of winter is upon us as evidenced by the white stuff that covered my yard this morning and the frequency in which my wife and I use our remote start on the car (thank you technology!). If you have kids, you also know that just as the sun is guaranteed to rise each day, your home is guaranteed to be an incubator for the dreaded “common cold”.
Now despite my relative lack of toughness, there are some things I am proud to say I can handle such as running a marathon (done it twice) and in a few weeks, participating in the Polar Bear Plunge. These things help increase my rating on that toughness meter I mentioned earlier, but nothing makes that number plummet like catching a cold. So when I woke up early last week with a lump in my throat and a runny nose, the wife knew she now had 3 babies on her hands.
I suffered through several days of work; complaining to co-workers, requesting additional boxes of tissues, and responding to my wife’s text-message inquiries about how I was feeling with, “not so good” and a sad face emoticon. I even gave a half-assed effort during play time with the kids one night and promptly hit the sack just after 8:00pm. After several days of this life-threatening illness, my condition was upgraded from critical to stable and I felt I was on the mend. Despite my efforts to keep the germs away from the kids however, it was inevitable that the outbreak would spread…and spread it did.
By the early part of this week, both Izzy and Jake were showing signs of the cold. The wife and I prepared ourselves for several nights of sleeplessness, increased levels of crankiness and the possibility of some diaper surprises (parents out there, you know what I’m talking about). With the exception of a slight fever however, these symptoms never really showed up. Instead, we were graced with the usual antics of “Iz and the Jakester” in all their glory.
My mind couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing. “How can these kids be so happy, so full of energy, while being sick at the same time?” DOES NOT COMPUTE! When I’m sick, I feel like a grizzly bear that’s just come out of hibernation and is subsequently shot in the rear with a tranquilizer dart. When they’re sick, they look like the pictures you see above and below.
While I sat there watching Izzy spin around in circles with one sock on and an empty milk cup in her hand, I wondered how it was possible that my kids were tougher than me. At one point, Jake shot me a look that said, “Man up Dad! It’s just a cold.” Izzy followed it up with a comment in Infantese that loosely translated, meant “C’mon Pops…this is how we roll. Can you hang with us?” I felt my toughness rating dropping like a rock. I thought about “showing the kids whose boss” by banging out a few push ups but moving from the couch to the floor seemed a bit excessive. I mean I’m still recovering after all.
So it’s been about a week and a half now since the first symptoms reared their ugly head and I am still fighting the remnants of a cough. The kids meanwhile, have shaken off their sickness like my dogs shake off the falling snow. Hopefully their level of toughness sticks with them as they grow and they take after their mom rather than me. If not, I feel bad for my wife as she’ll be stuck taking care of babies for a very long time.