Miles is sick. Just a cold, really nothing big or bad, thank God. But he’s 6. And being sick when you’re 6 and feisty is a combination of novelty and opportunity, I suppose.
When I was a child, I didn’t mind being sick. I got to stay home from school, eat foods not normally eaten, and spend time with my mom. These were all good things. Fun foods in our house were ginger ale and white rice, and sometimes a little chocolate. My mom said it was good for an upset tummy. I needed to believe she was right!
Since we homeschool, sick days don’t involve missing school per se, but they do involve fun foods and extra time with both me and my husband, who is home with our boys when I work. Here’s the conversation I had with sick Miles yesterday morning:
“Miles, I already made you miso soup and toast with [vegan] butter and jam. I know you asked for porridge but that’s a lot of carbohydrates. So let’s pick a fruit or vegetable.”
“Miles, it’s winter. I don’t have watermelon.”
“Miles, I don’t have cantaloupe either.”
“Miles” – I was at this point stifling a hearty laugh – “I don’t have any melon.”
“Miles. I don’t have grapes. I have kiwi, oranges, tapuzi (our Yiddish-ized version of the Hebrew word for orange which for us means tangerine), and avocado.”
Fruit Face is something my dad used to make for me as a kid. It was, truth be told, the only thing my dad ever made for me food-wise as a kid since my parents sort of operated like it was the 1940s and my mom made all the food and cleaned the house and did the chores and my dad worked and when he got home he napped and was not to be disturbed until he was done napping and dinner was ready. But he made fantastic Fruit Faces and I inherited his talent, if you don’t mind me saying so.
As I made Miles his Fruit Face this morning, he shouted adorable sweet requests from the bedroom. Requests ranged from “Make an alien!” to “Give him an upside-down hat!” to “Put him on a surfboard! With four arms! And crazy teeth!” I smiled to myself and decided not to ask him to please not shout at me from the other room.
Because on sick days, it’s okay to bend the rules a little bit, right?
Being a parent reminds us in so many ways of being a child. Sometimes it’s scary but today it felt wonderful. I did something for my son done well for me by my parents and I got to do it my way for my sick boy.
I wondered if Miles will one day make his children — my future grandchildren! — Fruit Face when they are sick. And I wondered if he, too, would not ask them to not shout at him from the other room. I hope he won’t.
Because on sick days, it’s okay to bend the rules a little bit.