The Why: Sick Kid Cuddles

As it goes, and it must go this way, my wonderful child got wonderfully sick the morning my wonderful wife was scheduled to depart for her first trip away from the kiddo in 13 months – 23 if you count time in utero. Sigh….

He has a fever. Fevers, for the uninitiated, and please, let me mansplain on this, are absolutely terrifying. Sometimes, babies get ’em because their teefers are coming in. And other times, it’s because they are legitimately sick. In my son’s case, maybe both?

Operationally, they require you, if you want to be certain on the data, to stick a probe in your child’s rectum. They don’t like that. And a quick Google search will casually tell you that, uhhh, don’t mess this up, because you could totally perforate a bowel. Easy procedure for a skilled nurse like Mrs. Kee. Brain surgery for a klutz like me. Did I mention that babies aren’t keen on the procedure?

He woke up Friday morning feeling warm, and a quick butt check confirmed our worst fear – 102+

A dose of Tylenol and a trip to the pediatrician resulted in us chipping away at our deductible and confirmation that we should definitely do what we were going to do anyway – “Keep a close eye on him”

After much back and forth, Mrs. Kee was convinced to head three hours away for her scheduled trip leaving THIS GUY in charge. And how did I biff it? By leaving my phone on “do not disturb” and missing dozens of phone calls and texts at 2:00 AM when my wife noticed, thanks to his internet connected monitoring device, that his heart rate had spiked to 150 BPM  Sigh…

So today was spent digesting fluids, watching his food intake, and sticking a thermometer in his butt a lot. And then after his afternoon nap, getting the cuddle session of all cuddle sessions. This my friends, is the good stuff.

A good friend of mine once said, “I hate it when my daughter doesn’t feel well, but man, are the cuddles good.” He’s not wrong.

Fatherhood is weird. You spend a lot of your time getting peed on, puked on, woken up, and at the mercy of a tiny human hell bent on hurting themself in new and creative ways. Seriously, I’ve watched my son lick his fingers and then claw at an electrical outlet. But then, a giggle, or a smile, or a “dada” will catch you off guard and it’s ALL worth it.

Today, my son woke up from his nap grumpy and sick, and feeling terrible. Fever was under control, but he knows he’s not at his best. And the only thing that seemed to keep him from sobbing and feeling miserable was climbing on top of his dad, running his fingers through my beard, and just being close.

Laying on the floor, 23 pounds of hot toddler on top of me, we sat quietly for the better part of 15 minutes. I could hear the air whooshing through the vents, and I watched the fan lazily move air through the room, while my son sat and there and just got the comfort he needed. Meanwhile, I got a dopamine rush that rivaled any drug I’ve ever put in my system.

Fatherhood is the hardest job I’ve ever taken on. Each day, I get rewarded in a big way. Today, more than most.

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