My littlest was sick this weekend. He’s almost 10 months old and it’s quickly becoming apparent that he’s one of those kids who is just sick what seems like ALL THE TIME. In reality, he’s probably about average. He’s had a bunch of colds this winter and a nasty ear infection we just could not seem to shake, but he’s never had bronchitis or pneumonia or anything really nasty and hospital-visit-inducing like that. But compared to our older son, Ben, who’s never had an ear infection in his life and who didn’t even visit the doctor enough to ever learn to be afraid of him, Gray’s like a walking petri dish; growing any and every germ he comes into contact with until he’s a feverish, puking mess.
Having a sick baby, however, has allowed me to hone a genetic trait I didn’t previously know I had. It’s one of those things men and non-mothers have long dismissed as an urban legend. Even I, before I had my kids and this trait was awakened, pooh-poohed the idea of it from my own mother. It may sound silly, but I am a human thermometer.
Friday morning when I got Gray up to feed him before I dashed out the door to work, I thought he felt a bit warm. I mentioned it to Jason and he said, he’s fine, and since Gray was eating normally and seemed happy, I ignored it too. When I picked him up from the sitter’s that afternoon, she said he’d had a fine day. By the time we got home and had had a bottle, though, he was still seeming warm to me, and a little bit lethargic too. Jason was still not convinced. “He’s fine,” he kept telling me, “Stop worrying so much.” So we took him with us to dinner at a sushi restaurant. Before our drinks even arrived at the table Gray was projectile vomiting the peas I had just fed him. When I talked to our sitter again on Monday, she said she had actually taken his temperature Friday because she thought he’d felt a bit warm too, but because it was only a degree above normal and he seemed otherwise fine, she hadn’t mentioned it. By Monday night, long after his Tylenol had run out of his system, his head was cool again, and I knew he was on the road to recovery.
I think the ability to judge any small variance of child temperature comes from my love of smushing their sweet little faces against mine.
We actually have one of those fancy ear thermometers that are supposed to be so accurate. I hardly ever use it for anyone but myself, though. I seem to get different readings from each ear and minute to minute. It’s just not anything close to accurate compared to my internal therMOMeter.