On Monday morning, Jet arrived with a cold. At first she didn’t want to play. “Maybe you’d better put me in my bed,” she said solemnly.
She snuggled down with a cozy blanket and I turned on the string of Christmas lights over the window that we use during her nap. A few minutes later, she called to me. “I don’t want to stay in bed, I want to get up.”
“That’s fine, it was your idea to get in the bed: you can get up anytime you want.” We returned to the play area. “Do you want to play?”
“Do you want to take your bath now?”
“Do you want to lie down on the couch?”
I got the cozy blanket, some Kleenex, juice, a bag for the used tissues, some stuffed animals and a meemie. “I need a pillow Grandma!” I got a pillow. “Move Marcy’s bed so I can lie down all the way.” I moved Marcy’s bed, placed the pillow at one end of the couch, covered her with the blanket and sat down near her feet. “Lie down with me right here.” Jet patted an open area of the couch. “Snuggle with me. I shimmied into place and she put her arm over mine. “You’re squishing me.”
“I’m sorry, Jet. This is the best I can do.”
“I need to put my head on your lap.”
“Okay. You can put your head wherever you’d like.” I sat up and moved to the other end of the couch. Jet turned around and meticulously repositioned the pillow, blanket, meemie, stuffed animals and tissue bag.
She sighed. “I need you to pet my head.”
“Like this?” I stroked her hair.
Jet closed her eyes. “Good job, Grandma.”
By Wednesday, Jem had the cold and a fever too. He couldn’t go to daycare with a fever, so Jet went to daycare and Jem came to Grandma’s house. Jet was not pleased, and turned her head away from me when I peeked in the car door. “Are you mad at me?” Stony silence answered the question. “She’s not speaking to me,” I told her mother.
Back in the house, Jem alternately coughed and smiled, but he didn’t want to play: he just wanted to be held. I was happy to oblige. While Jem rested in the crook of my arm, I talked to him, sang songs and moved various baby toys in and out of his field of vision.
Eventually, it was time for his first bottle. Jem didn’t quite have the knack of drinking while breathing through his mouth instead of his nose. Crying about the frustration of it all only made things worse. I patted his back and dried his tears while he looked at me reproachfully. When we tried the bottle again, he did a little better. He managed to drink the whole thing before falling asleep.
Such was our day: wet, eat, sleep, and repeat. It doesn’t seem like the kind of day that would make you feel tired, but it did. When my daughter arrived, I went out to the car to say hello to Jet. “I’m not speaking to you,” she said. As my jaw dropped, my daughter reminded me who was responsible for teaching her that phrase. I can only hope she’ll forget it.