K brought Ben home to me a day early this week. With a diagnosis of pneumonia. And orders from the doctor not to return to school or to any extracurricular activity for five days. Oh yeah, and my mom left town.
I canceled or re-scheduled nearly all of my clients and classes. I dug out the cough syrup with codeine. I bought a new Honey Bear to use as a "chaser" for that god-awful antibiotic I checked the movie listings. I called friends for advice. I didn't sleep much. I wondered how a fever could last for so. many. freaking. days. I realized that I have tremendous friends, who bend over backwards to offer support and help. I fell in love with my sweet boy, all over again.
My eyes are burning with fatigue as I write this but I'm grateful, once again, to have had three full days and four nights with Ben. Divorce does that to you; makes you appreciate otherwise worrisome things, like pneumonia.
On Wednesday, we went to see the movie "Up." Halfway into the movie, Ben crawled into my lap, set his feet up on the seat in front of him, and reclined back so that his head could settle onto my (bony) chest. I didn't think he was quite grasping the storyline of the husband living out a dream, in memory of his deceased wife, until the scene of the husband looking at photos of his wife. Ben turned around, looked at me and said, "Mommy, he really misses her." I didn't need a tissue earlier in the movie, but I definitely needed it then.
We left the movie to hit McDonalds for what I call a "crack coffee" (that would be for me, not for Ben) and an ice cream cone. No more than ten licks into the cone, Ben passed it to me and said, "Mommy, I'm too cold for this." Now that is the sign of a sick kid. No question.
Thursday found us back at the same theater, this time in "Ice Age 3." Ben's pick. Once again, midway into the movie, Ben slithered across his seat, straight into my lap, and assumed the reclined position. Leaving the theater, he proclaimed "Ice Age" his favorite of the two movies.
This particular theater is located in a mall, so we strolled the mall after the movie, in search of (more) coffee and a treat. We didn't find a Starbucks but we did find a coffee kiosk where I was able to order my several-shots-of-espresso beverage. I hoisted Ben up so that he could see the different kinds of cookies. "No thank you, Mommy," he said. Turning to the barrista, he then said, "I'll just have a Gatoraide." The barrista looked shocked. Sick kid, indeed.
I then dragged Ben into Macys in search of a foundation. Normally, this would be a feat that I'd never attempt given that he, like most other males, loathes shopping. On a mission to get a decent foundation quickly, I went straight to the prettiest girls with the best looking make-up. Yup, the MAC counter. There was an empty high-backed stool which is where I placed Ben and then I told the pretty girl to find the best color for me, please. We walked out of Macys in under five minutes. With only one item. Miraculous.
Well, it would have been five minutes except that Ben developed a sudden fascination with the fragrance area of the store and insisted that I lap the entire department and spray every perfume for him to smell. I have to say, the kid has great taste in fragrance! Who knew? We decided that most of the Estee Lauder line is "stinky" and we concluded that "Daisy" is the best smell in the entire world.
I couldn't do another movie on Friday because I really, really needed to work at least a little bit. So my fabulous friend Linda dropped her kids off at school and then came to pick up mine. I gave Ben strict orders not to bother her and to play alone. Nicely. Quietly. Being the only child that he is, he followed the last two instructions rather well, the first not so much.
As a thank-you, I picked Linda's son up from school and took both boys to Target where they picked out GX Racers and then proceeded to run away from me (admittedly, I was a little distracted by all the great new fall clothes). I circled the women's, men's and children's sections and then began to panic. Seconds later, I heard Ben crying, from the front of the store. Loudly. Both boys were standing very far away from where I had been admiring the fall clothing line-up. Several adults were hovering. Security had just been called. Ben looked terrified. His buddy looked like the Cheshire cat that just swallowed the bird. I was furious. If I was a strict mom, I would have confiscated the GX Racers right then and there. But discipline is not my strong suit. Obviously. Housework, however, is!
Once settled back at home with threats of "if you ever do that again, I will take away every last Hot Wheel in this house and donate the whole lot to Goodwill," I taught Ben the fine art of Swiffering. Which he took to quite well, I might add. I think that this could become his permanent job in the house which would mean that his list of household jobs would now amount to a whopping three and we would be about 5% accomplished on the Kindergarten home task list.
I can't say that the last four nights have been restful for either of us. Sharing a house, and a wall with a pneumatic child is like sleeping with a freight train running through the backyard. Just not restful at all. That is one serious cough. I'm not sure what the maximum amount of recommended codeine is for a 60 pound, nearly-6-year-old, but I am fairly certain that we exceeded it every night.
Ben's dad picked him up today. I was sad. And I still am. Ben is growing up too fast. I almost need a serious bout of illness - regularly - to be able to push the Pause button on my own life and fully dedicate my attention to him.
I believe that Ben thought he was on vacation this week. He certainly talked more about our activities of the last four days then the entire week he spent at Disney World with his dad. He's still going on about the movies, the GX Racers, the long nights of reading, the getting to stay up past his bedtime and watch his new favorite, "Shaun the Sheep."
And I'm still wiped out. But it was worth it. I'd do it again next week. Which might be the case, according to the doctor, if that damn fever doesn't break soon!