It looks like le Petit won't be able to participate in his nursery school's Carnival celebration tomorrow. I could probably dope him with ibuprofen and he'd be energetic enough to go, but then I'd be one of those parents who send their kids out to infect all the others. Even if this flu or flu-like virus most likely came home from school originally, I feel no need to send it back. I think I'm more disappointed than le Petit is. I was seriously looking forward to seeing him parade through the neighborhood with his classmates disguised in his school-made wolf costume.
For the last three days, he's been grounded by a moderate to high fever, exhausted enough to spontaneously turn off computer and abandon sesamestreet.org to curl up on the couch. For the first four hours after he's taken fever-reducing medication he's almost himself, and then he crashes as if at the end of a very bad trip, ornery and utterly worn out. I do my best to help him through the next two hours, rubbing his back and snuggling up and offering sips of water.
My father-and-law and I took him to the pediatrician today. I carried him the four blocks to the office because he wanted Mommy as his only mode of transportation, only Mommy, not Grandpa and not the stroller. ("I'm too big for the stroller!" he now asserts proudly.) The pediatrician told us essentially what our GP told us three days ago: flu-like, not worrisome as of yet, nothing to do but wait it out.
He's barely eaten in the last three days. I offer the most tempting treats I can think of, pudding, chocolate, cookies, at all hours of the day with no success. I'm not too worried. The pediatrician was even less worried. Then, when we got back home, le Petit started attentively paging through his book of rainbow-colored fruits and vegetables.
He looked at the picture of the spinach.
"I want risotto," he declared. Spinach and risotto are associated in his mind and he expects them together, even if at his healthiest he barely picks at the green stuff. It was four o'clock in the afternoon, but I'd been so busy taking care of the kids all day, even with plenty of help from my mother-in-law, that I hadn't had lunch. Le Petit shepherded me to the kitchen.
"Let's make risotto! But first," he told me in a serious tone, "We have to wash our hands."
"Do you want pretend risotto or real risotto?"
And so he watched intently from his little step stool as I prepared a simple risotto. He then ate a decent portion of it along with a bowl of gazpacho (and spread another decent portion of rice on the floor). "Healthy and delicious!" he declared, and I was flattered, even if I knew he was merely quoting a piece of Sesame Street social engineering. I enjoyed the risotto, too. Proof that you can pull a small victory out of even the hardest days.