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Catching up on where we left you last weekend

We thought both of our girls were on the mend by Sunday evening but decided to keep them home Monday as a precaution. In most cases, I’d stay home with the kids because it’s easier for me to do than for Kates, given our jobs. But Monday was the first day of spring classes at the university and I had a couple important meetings scheduled. So Kates headed off to her school late Sunday to draw up lesson plans for her substitute teacher, and finally returned around 1 a.m.

Monday afternoon, Kates took the girls to the doctor’s office. The diagnosis: Faye had an ear infection and Phoebe, indeed, had the influenza. Faye wasn’t contagious and could return to daycare Tuesday, but Phoebe had to be fever-free and going on no medicine for 24 hours before she could return to her school.

When I arrived home from work Monday evening, the flu bug had Phoebe in its grips. She was running a 102-degree temperature and the poor girl, sitting in our rocking chair and covered in blankets, was so warm and breathing so heavily and looked so miserable … I seriously feared for her life. But the medicine kicked in and she pulled through.

As it turned out, Phoebe was one of eight children in her class – of 20 – who missed school Monday and Tuesday because of their illnesses.

So on Tuesday, Kates and I reversed the roles. She took Faye to daycare – a task that’s usually mine – and I stayed home with Phoebe. As usual, I juggled my work with taking care of Phoebe as best I could. I had an interview scheduled with the head football coach Tuesday morning, but had to resort to talking with him over the phone rather than in person.

Also Tuesday, our washing machine was repaired once and for all. Once the repairman left, I started laundering the clothes and towels that accumulated since Saturday’s especially messy day – and doing laundry has never been more enjoyable.

We kept Phoebe home again Wednesday, and Thursday, too, as her fever returned to normal and to be sure she made a full recovery. In the meantime, I kept up with emails, arranged several interviews with reporters and pumped out news releases in between answering Phoebe’s calls for water, changing the TV channel, short games of hide and seek, and cuddle time. …

I always end up feeling guilty on these sick days I spend at home with her because I would much prefer to spend those days watching movies, playing and cuddling with her. But the demands of my job require that I be tuned in and always ready to act. … And if I don’t stay home with Pheebs, than it means more 1 a.m. nights for Kates to work up lesson plans and classroom instructions for her substitute. You accept the trade-off.

That said, it was wonderful to be at home with Phoebe this week. We did have a lot of fun, and we laughed a lot. Which is the best medicine, right?

Perhaps my proudest accomplishment as a father this week is turning her into a fan of “The Brady Bunch.” In trying to avoid watching any more Disney programming Wednesday evening and searching for something on TV that both of us could enjoy, I discovered the Hallmark Channel shows “The Brady Bunch” from 5 to 7 each weeknight. By Friday night, she was begging Kates to turn it on when they arrived home from school. … Friday night’s episodes featured the classic ghost town/Grand Canyon story arc. (See: One of the coolest, grooviest days of my life ...)

On Friday, it was back to normal. Kates was up early and off to school around 7 for her morning recess duty. I worked to get myself and the kids ready for the day. Phoebe threw the mother of all tantrums because the outfit Kates picked out for her was “uncomfortable,” and it took us two more outfits to come to a consensus. Then, I accidentally knocked over a glass of water in the bathroom, spilling it on the cabinets and rug. And in the chaos, I may have forgotten to brush my teeth.

Nonetheless, I got Phoebe to preschool and Faye to daycare on time, and walked into my office just a few minutes late.

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