By: Pearson Brown
Today I took my son to Joey’s Gym in Beverly Hills, the best little kid gym out there — with cool owners who genuinely love kids and their jobs, and I was thinking about how great it is that I got laid off one year ago today.
Thanks to being jobless, I get to take Stephen every Tuesday to his Gym Cats class, and I get to see him growing up little by little, like when he learns to wait his turn and listen for his name to be called before he gets to jump up and run the obstacle course and finish with a big hug for mommy.
And then I really got a dose of the benefits of being a stay-at-home mom when just before class was about to let out he started touching his ear and crying, saying “My ear hurts.”
We went to the gym waiting area where I tried to soothe him, but when he was inconsolable for nearly 10 minutes I left to take him home. He kept crying and hitting at his ear. Even Nemo on the in-car DVD player — usually reserved for long trips — didn’t help.
I called his pediatrician’s office from the car, and he was crying so loud I could barely hear the nurse. They couldn’t see him until 2:45 pm, and urgent care was booked until 4 pm. I took him home to wait it out, to see if I might have to take him to the ER. I gave him some warm milk, which usually calms him, and he was still crying. His temperature was 98. After about 20 minutes he feel asleep in my arms. I kept checking his temp with the ear thermometer. It was now 100.6. But he was sleeping peacefully.
He awoke a few times crying, but mostly he slept until 2:30 when I bundled him up and put his increasingly warm little body into the car seat.
The doc took us nearly right away. His temp was now 102. While I was explaining to him the symptoms, suddenly Stephen heaved and began vomiting. Covered in barf, I tried to comfort him as he cried and vomited more. The doc offered some wipes and paper towels.
The diagnosis –thank goodness –was simple stomach flu. Treatment was a fever-reducing suppository and 24-hour liquid diet followed by 24-hour BRAT (bananas, rice, apple sauce, and toast) diet.
The main relief was that I was there with him. I held him when he vomited again before leaving the doc’s office, and then when he got home. He held my neck tightly when I laid down with him, and when I started to move to get a blanket, he whimpered, “Mommy, don’t go.” Of course I didn’t go anywhere. I was nearly tearful to see him so weak and sad, his cheeks flushed red with fever and his eyes half-closed. The only good thing was, because I got laid off, I was able to be home with him during his time of need.
My partner is a school teacher, and it would be very hard for her to get a sub and run home at a time like this. If I had been working at my PR job, it would have been very difficult for me to put down my client’s work and just leave the office to go home. It would have been the nanny taking him to the doc and then staying with him to keep an eye on him and comfort him.
He is only two, so I am sure he will not remember this incident, but subconsciously I think he will remember that I was there for him, and he will continue to grow up little by little each day of his toddlerhood – a time that I am privileged to share with him daily due to my state of unemployment, and he will be a little bit stronger for it.
And even if he does not remember any bit of this time, I will, always.