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Dude Turned Dad Episode Thirteen: “The Sick Day”

Fall has officially fallen, and that means it's time for kids to get sick.

Fall is here. The air? Crisp AF. The pumpkins have been milked, their spice collected. As a more eloquent man once said, “it’s decretive gourd season Motherfucker.” And with every decretive gourd season comes the bane of every parent’s existence: sick kids.

Your own Dude to Dad is battling with his first truly sick baby this week. My son Rory has had reflux, colds, and some other health odds and ends. But this is the first time we’ve taken him to the pediatrician and gotten a diagnosis. The boy has been stricken by Bronchiolitis which sounds positively Dickensian. “Sorry, mum. I wish I could work me shift in the button factory, but I’ve got a case of the Bronchiolitis!”

It sounds worse than it is. Bronchiolitis is basically just a super tough baby cold. My little guy’s breathing is ragged, he’s throwing up, and he generally feels uncomfortable. So this week my wife and I have been staying with him, trading off shifts “working” from home and doing our best to help him figure out what the hell is going on.

Taking care of a sick baby comes with mixed emotions. On one hand, we feel so bad for the sickling. He’s being poked and prodded and “nebulized” and he’s not sure why. On the other hand, we get to spend precious quality time with him: reading, taking baths, soothing, doing, you know, parenting things. I obviously don’t want him to be sick, but you never feel more like a Dad than while you’re taking care of your little dude.

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Of course, I’m now sick as well. I can lie to my coworkers and myself, but we all knew it was coming. That’s the other thing about parenting a sick kid for the first time — you will get sick. It’s not a question of if. It’s a question of when.

So if you’re dealing with a sick kiddo as fall ravages our immune systems, remember to drink water, get sleep, Purel those hands, be honest with your co-workers about your condition, and get your flu shot. And also enjoy that feeling of taking care of this little person who needs you more than anyone else in the world. They’re sick, but you make them feel good, and that’s the best medicine.

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Fall used to mean apple picking. But for Dude to Dad, it now means booger picking. Good luck out there fellow parents. Don’t touch my hands. I probably have a cold.