Tuesday, March 9, 2010

William caught a cold. Oh no, DON'T WORRY, he doesn't have a fever! - William si e' preso il raffreddore. O no, non preoccuparti, non ha la febbre!

It had to happen. Like every baby on the planet, sooner or later, your child gets sick. Not bad at all. He has been a healthy boy for 7 months, despite both me and my husband were sick for two weeks in a row. And now, here it is. His first cold. William is barely able to cry while coughing. Like most mothers who haven't experienced that before, I am freaking out. Why he is coughing like that? He looks so sad. What can I do to help him breath? Should I put more clothes on him to keep him warm? And now that the sun has come out, should I strip his clothes off? Why is he still sleeping? Should I wake him up? Then, all of a sudden, a loud cough comes out of the stroller, a weak cry and then back to sleep. Right at that point, when I am about to feel a sense of relief from knowing that my child is not dead, that the sun is out keeping my child warm, that he sleeps better in the stroller than at home and that I am not like those mothers who leave their kid in the car and go shopping, a thirty something woman looks at me and says "is your baby sick?" Then, with a whispering and patronizing tone, she goes "Aha, maybe he shouldn't be out?". I then see two moms walking backward while looking at me in fear. At that point, with a highly frustrated and emotional look on my face, I say: "Oh, I have just measured his temperature. he has no fever. He is fine. It is actually his doctor who told me to take him out in the sun!" After a short uncomfortable pause of loud coughing coming from the stroller, I add: "Yes, and the doctor said that he cannot pass it to others unless they get into physical contact with him. I mean, they touch him". While I am still talking, William continues coughing, louder than before. And his face gets covered in tears.

At that point, I pick up William to comfort him and don't say anything. The fearful look on the moms changes into a fake, soft, smile and silence follows, then broken by a woman in her sixties (in gym clothes), who says in a high pitched voice: "Oh, don't worry. It happens to every mom at least once!". Finally, I pack my stuff as soon as I can and leave Starbucks while trying to persuade myself that I should not be embarrassed, and resigned to the idea that until both William and I are 100% well, we are not allowed to leave the house. Two days later, despite staying at home, I see William's eyes all red and swallowed.
I find that his temperature is 102.2 and I freak out more. Then I get sick, then John gets sick. A week of sickness and of sleepless nights for the three of us follow, during which we only find ourselves socializing with the staff at The Home Depot, while looking for kitchen cabinets.

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