Sick Day

James Mehring

A few days ago Lyn and I got a knock on the door at 5 a.m. Lyn answered the door and got the news that he mother wouldn’t be able to watch our daughter that day. That meant one of us had to stay home to watch our daughter for the day. Luckily, it was a Friday and I could do all my work from home. Unfortunately, Lyn’s department was shorthanded so we couldn’t make it a family day at home.

I got really excited about the prospect of spending a whole weekday at home with my daughter. It was the adult version of a snow day. All I had to do was spend some time working while Abby was still asleep in the morning and then again while she napped or when Lyn got home. I started to form an itinerary for the day in my head of all the things we could do together. I had a nice day all lined up. We would eat breakfast, then play in the living room, go out to lunch, take a quick trip to the local mall and grocery store (our daughter loves to ride around in shopping carts), come home for a nap, and then play some more. Perfect.

Things got off to a great start. I was able to work for a couple hours in the morning before my daughter woke up. We had a blast at breakfast playing with her Cheerios and then proceeded to the living room to throw more things around. We crawled across the floor together and even sorted the laundry. Well, my daughter actually pulls out the clothes from the basket and whips the items behind her while I put them back.

We kicked off the field trip part of the day by hitting the local Pizza Hut lunch buffet. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine. Sometimes, all I want is a pepperoni pan pizza with that greasy crust. Throw in a coupon and I just couldn’t say no. Plus, my daughter loves pizza crust and I planned on sharing some salad. Just as I finished my first piece of pizza I turned to my daughter in her high chair only to see her get sick. There I was in the middle of the Pizza Hut with a full plate of pizza and one sick daughter in urgent need of attention.

I have to say that out of everyone immediately affected by this, I was having the toughest time. My daughter just sat there silent with a dazed look on her face. The wait staff got me a check and a mountain of napkins immediately. Meanwhile, I had a million thoughts rush through my head. Is my daughter going to be ok? Where do I change her? What would Lyn do? Are there extra clothes in the diaper bag? What are the other parents thinking? Would it be wrong to stuff pizza in the diaper bag?

Once again I was disappointed by a public bathroom. There were at least a dozen other children in that place and I have seen the restaurant full of kids in the evening. Yet, there are no changing facilities in the men’s room. I pulled out the changing mat and put it over the sink but that was a resounding failure. Instead, I charged out of the restroom and hustled us to the car. I opened the back of our Subaru and changed her in the parking lot. It was like a NASCAR pit stop. I never changed my daughter so fast, which is probably why I found her top was on backwards when we got home.

Needless to say, we never got to the grocery store. And my daughter wasn’t up for throwing her ball or whipping laundry around the room. Instead we had a quiet afternoon together listening to music, looking at books, and even watching a Veggie Tale video. Looking back, however, I see the day as a success. I was fortunate enough to spend a whole day with my daughter.

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