It was 8:30pm last night and my son had been asleep on the couch for almost four hours, waiting for antibiotics to kick in on a wicked ear infection. I pushed the hair back from his forehead and pressed my cheek to his flushed skin. “Babe, can you go set up the pallet, please?” I asked my husband.
“The pallet” is our code for a very sick boy who needs to be near his momma all night, and a momma that needs to keep watch on her boy. The pallet is his old crib mattress, stored in our room for nights when he is sick. He still fits perfectly on the mattress, so it’s as simple as placing a fresh sheet and laying it on the floor beside our bed. The little mattress, otherwise unused, is far more comfortable than just a pile of blankets on the floor.
When I was a little girl, my mother would put us on the sofa outside their first-floor bedroom – it was her trick to help sick kids feel better, along with ginger ale and cartoons. I remember feeling better simply by knowing I was physically closer to my mother. Her being a whimper away was a boost for any stomachache, sinus cold, or migraine that I suffered. For my son, it’s the same – he settles better an arm’s reach from his mother.
I placed him on the mattress, folded his giraffe lovey in his hands, and covered him with a blanket. When he woke several times last night to ask for water, I was right there. When he cried through his fever, I was able to rub his back reassuringly.
And this morning at 5:45am, he popped up happily, ear infection already on the mend.
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