This is my daughter Charlotte, captured on film (er, iPhone) in the throes of a common cold.
This is my daughter Charlotte on a typical day.
There’s a big difference, obviously, between sick Charlotte and healthy Charlotte (her hair is different in the second photo…probably fresh out of a bath). After a week of feeling all sorts of ‘blah’, she’s finally back to her normal, transitioning-into-a-two-year-old self.
And you know what, I miss sick Charlotte.
Before you click out of this post, swearing you’ll near read my ramblings because I am the one, in fact, who is sick, let me clarify: I don’t miss seeing my baby girl in obvious pain and discomfort. I don’t miss losing sleep over my concerns for her well-being. And I certainly don’t miss sticking a thermometer in her butt.
I do miss baby cuddles, though.
Our child is a cross between a mountain-goat and a caffeine-raged teenager, and most days I’m lucky if I can hold her long enough to plant a rushed kiss on her cheek when I come home. But when she’s sick, she’s glued to my stomach like the holiday fat I put on. And I love it.
My wife Nicole and I show our affection through touch: hugs, hand-holding, back rubs, kisses on the forehead, etc., so it’s been an adjustment trying to wrangle our toddler for forced affection (just, dang, child, stop exploring the world long enough for me to satiate my parental instincts). This past week, as lethargy and crumminess set in, she found the sweet salve of her dad’s torso. My body became the pillow to rest her aching head. My embrace became the blanket to cover her chilled body. Dad, the jungle-gym, became dad, the hospital bed/teddy bear.
Taking my first day back from break off, we laid in bed for five hours while she napped (and I binged Parks and Recreation). It was amazing because she’d occasionally pop up, garble ‘daddy’ in her cheerful, albeit muted, voice, then plop back down.
Even though I had googled internet symptoms and prepared my mind for a visit to the emergency room (for my child’s severe 100.3 degrees), I found a wonderful joy in those moments with her.
It also helped that she only pooped when she was with my wife, and she only vomited on her as well.
Yes, I miss sick Charlotte. Don’t know if Nicole feels the same.