Sick kid day & the pursuit of unhappiness

crying baby

I’m home today with a sick little boy. I knew it was no ordinary middle-of-the-night awakening when the panting started. Brief groans and cries = normal. Panting signaled fever. Unfortunately, I was right.

So I scrapped my long list of Things to Accomplish At Work Today and made a doctor’s appointment. Usually, I’d ride it out a bit, but Roy hasn’t been quite himself for a couple of days, so I figured we might as well get in and see if something out of the ordinary was going on. The morning’s fussiness and neediness turned to lethargy and then further degenerated into all-out bawling. He was inconsolable for the half hour leading to the appointment, in the waiting room and during the entire exam. It was easily the longest stretch of time that Roy has cried in all of his 16 months.

His fever was over 104. The doctor suspects strep. So now he’s loaded with Tylenol and antibiotics and sleeping fitfully. But sleeping.

It brings to mind an article my friend Frank wrote for The Rotarian recently called The Pursuit of Unhappiness. “In viewing unhappiness as a problem to be solved, might we not miss what a little sadness has to offer us?” he muses. Then he brings up those stories and studies we all read about that tell us that parents are not as happy as non-parents.

Having two young children myself, I can more or less confirm this is true. And yet, despite all the headaches, sleep deprivation, stained furniture, and general crabbiness, few parents I know regret their decision. One study even found that mothers ages 36 to 44 were less likely to be depressed than their childless peers, even if, at a given point on a given day, they may be less happy. Raising kids isn’t nonstop fun. But eventually (we hope) we’ll be better for it.

Today has been pretty much the opposite of nonstop fun. Still, days like today are part of the deal, and Frank is right: I wouldn’t trade that deal for the world.

I’ll accomplish things tomorrow. Today, I just want my little boy to feel better.

Image © flickr user PinkStock Photos!

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  1. by KG

    On June 1, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Poor little Roy. Hope he’s back to his cheery self soon!
    I’m loving your new blog and looking forward to more posts.

  2. by Berit Thorkelson

    On June 1, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Thanks, lady! I hope he is, too. When he woke up, he just laid his hot little head on my shoulder and whimpered, “no,” and “mama.” Sad.

  3. by Mama Jen

    On June 1, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    A little unhappiness ain’t a bad thing, Mama, that’s so true! We used that mantra often when we were traveling. Love this new blog and can’t wait to be a part of the community! How can I subscribe?

  4. by Berit Thorkelson

    On June 1, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Awesome to have the author of the soon-to-be-released “Running Away to Home” in the house! See “subscribe” under “About the Author” on the righthand side of the page over there? Click on that orange square with the three lines in it. Or just follow me on twitter @loveanddiapers I’ll tweet my posts. Welcome! Happy to have you.

  5. by Joanne

    On June 1, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    My 5 year old son had strep this past winter and with it, a ridiculously awful sinus infection that leaked into his eye socket. After crying through naptime, and repeatedly telling me that his eye was burning, I took him to the doctor for the 3rd time in 24 hours (the first two times they gave me stronger antibiotics). They admitted us to the ER for 4 DAYS (!) for intervenous antibiotics. I said then, there is nothing that makes your “big boy” appear like a diminished pile of bones more than a hospital bed. ugh.

  6. by Berit Thorkelson

    On June 1, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    Joanne, your poor boy — and poor you! Maybe it’s my fragile & half-asleep state, but that story quite literally makes me want to cry.