Such babies.

*Cough cough*.

I keep typing.

*sniff sniffehkkhu kehkkhu..kehkuu

The guttural coughing sounds are getting louder. I smile inwardly and continue looking at my laptop screen. 


I stop typing. Look over my screen. “Are you ok love?”

From the recesses of the bed, muffled under a few thousand blankets, a tinny voice comes. “I don’t feel too good”. 

Aw, baby. Do you want some warm water with honey?”

No response. Just sniffling noises. Then a hoarse “No.”

“Ok, how about some creamy tomato soup? You love tomato soup!”

“No, I don’t want soup. Tummy hurts now.” 

“Look you got to eat something! An empty tummy will make you feel worse. You know that.”

Silence. Then more (theatrical) coughing. “Ok, maybe a bit of soup?”

“All right, love. You rest now. I’ll go get you some soup.”

I get up and stretch. Feel my forehead. Yup, still running a temperature. But because I’m a mother, somehow the fever doesn’t impact me much. I still do my daily chores, I still wipe snotty noses, I still kiss crying faces. Illness doesn’t mean any time off, really. (My personal theory- somewhere along the line, evolution has armed all mothers with extra strength and reserve. I mean, the original cave woman couldn’t really afford to take a sick day off, especially if her cavebabies were coughing/crying up a storm, threatening to attract every predator within a mile. No, she’d have to rock the babies and shush them and blow cool air on their foreheads with palm fronds or whatever. And hope the jungle cat lurking outside would go eat her caveman husband instead.)

So I walk to the kitchen, a little slower, and come back with a hot bowl of delicious soup, on a tray. Avoiding the forest of used and crumpled tissues, I set it on a low table and go to the bed. I can hear video game sounds from under the blankets. Not too sick to play with the iPad, I think snarkily
“Food’s here. Come and eat before it gets cold.”

“One more level, then I’ll eat”, says the voice, sounding perfectly and miraculously healthy. Then silence. Then more enthusiastic coughing, a little too forced in my opinion

“I still feel sick, ok?”

“Yeah, I can see that”, I say, rolling my eyes. 

Soon the head emerges from under all the fabric and eats the soup. Followed by a lot of manufactured sniffing and coughing and sighing. All the while making sure I’m paying attention. I don’t know whether to laugh. So I smile, take a painkiller and keep typing away. I have a deadline to meet and I need to finish my article before my fever spikes.

A little while later – “You’re always looking at the laptop. Can you cuddle with me, please?”

The voice sounds sulky. Petulant even. 
I ignore it. That tactic works sometimes. 

Not this time, I guess.

“Please Please Please Please Please”, the voice begs in an increasing crescendo. In the excitement of the moment, all pretense at illness has vanished.

I sigh. Finish my final edit and hit send. Done. Deadline met. 

I close my laptop and stretch again. My eyes are burning and my muscles are sore and achy. My throat is hurting. 

“Fine, I’ll cuddle with you. But just for five minutes ok?”

The click of the iPad getting locked.

“Ok, five minutes only” agrees the voice, sounding positively healthy. 

So I dim the lights and climb into bed. Find my squishy pillow. Feel hands coming in my general direction. “No!” I say weakly but firmly. “I am really sick, unlike you!”

And as my big baby of a husband pouts and sulks, I curl up into my warm blanket and fall into a dead sleep.

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