We knew he was getting sick Sunday evening when he said he didn’t want ice cream.

Oral ThermometerOn Monday we kept him home. His fever peaked at just over 102°F after lunch. He slept on the couch most of the day. Then in the middle of the night he got up, too hot, and had another round of acetaminophen and some water. Then juice. Then hot cocoa. Finally, with sufficient fluids restored, he fell back asleep — next to the mom in our bed.

At 4am I’m tucking myself in on the couch. The downstairs house makes different noises in the night. You can hear the furnace rumbling in the basement. The radiators ping. There is an annoying yellow light from the mercury vapor flood lamps they installed in the post office parking lot last year after an old lady drove her car through the side of the building. It’s colder.

The alarm went off at 5:30. Coffee made. The wife is already up. She’s doing last-minute getting ready because she’s driving to Albany for a press conference and to testify before the New York State Assembly’s Committee on Health about a bill for single-payer healthcare. (Irony.)

The kid is also awake. He’s still running a 99° fever. He’s going to be home again. But he’s on the mend.

Instead of lounging around napping on the couch, because he feels better, he wants to watch DVDs non-stop in bed with the portable DVD player.

Ok. This is better than him jumping on the couch all day. Except that I must lie in the bed with him to keep him company the whole while.

Portable DVD PlayerAnd he can’t just watch the DVD. He has to rock the DVD player forward and back on his lap to see how hard it tilts before it will skip. And whether it will continue to play the movie when held sideways one way, sideways the other way, and upside down. And if it stops playing when you hold it upside down, whether holding it upside down and shaking it will get it going again. (It doesn’t. It makes the disk fall off the spindle inside the case. “Why is it making that noise?” he asks. “I’ll give you three guesses,” I say.)

And then, when I’ve rolled over the other way thinking that I might just as well take a nap, I am soon poked in the back and asked why I’m not watching the movie.

So tomorrow he is going back to school even if his temperature is 108°.