The Timeline of an Ill Child

5.30pm

Collect from nursery.

‘They’ve been a bit clingy today: needed lots of cuddles’

Right-o.

6.30pm

Rejects bedtime snack. Concern level flickers.

7pm

Child sweats during bedtime story. Child falls asleep huffing clammy metallic breath.

8pm

Nonchalantly ask about partner’s work day: ‘Got much on tomorrow? Busy?’

8.25pm

Pause Luther because you thought you heard footsteps upstairs. Is it a child…or a murderer?

8.26pm

Child. It’s a child. Sweating though their pyjamas and swaying on the top step.

8.27pm

Projectile vomit.

8.30pm

False hope: ‘it’s probably just because they’re tired- just an emotional vom. It’ll be fine’

8.32/8.36/8.41pm

Wretching in to the family sick bowl.

8.42pm

Calpol dispensing.

8.43pm

Calpol resurfacing.

8.50pm

Realisation dawns. Child cannot go to nursery tomorrow. Cue whispered hissings: I’ve got a full day tomorrow. Can’t you stay off? What about I do the morning then you come home at lunch?

8.55pm

Child lays sweatily on someone’s lap and Luther goes back on. No one is really watching. One of you is mentally recalculating their work day.

9.20pm

Ill child is asleep. Nominated parent carries child upstairs whilst other lays down towels,Calpol, glasses of water and plumps cushions and beggars off to the spare room.

Twenty five minute intervals throughout night

Wake. Sit bolt up right. Feel child’s forehead. Uncover hot child.

Wake. Sit bolt up right. Feel child’s cold limbs. Cover child.

Repeat.

6.10am

Child wakes sunny shiny and full of chat. Expect a debrief with any sibling or person present: ‘I be sick ALL night. I could see my raisins in it!’

Realise child is in rude good health but can’t in all good conscience send child to nursery…can you?…no…no, of course not.

7am-5pm

Watch CBeebies with ‘ill’ child whilst checking work emails and feeling guilty about not being there.

5.15pm

Sibling returns from school looking pasty. Feign sympathy and swallow a sick burp.

Fair play, respect and Bourbon biscuits to the parents doing sick days solo. May your immune systems be strong.

4 thoughts on “The Timeline of an Ill Child

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