Whenever Stitch gets sick, he tends to hide it pretty well. The only times I'm sure he's sick is when he's glassy eyed, slug-like on the sofa and hotter than pavement in July. By then, it's too late and he's down for two or three days. If I can catch it and down him for a day in the early stages, I can limit the effect and duration of the illness by half. The trick is the catch it.
Stitch was sick yesterday morning, he was just doing his normal con job and me, not wanting to cancel on Coach within an hour of the lesson, fell for it. I sent him to school with the orders, "If you feel sick, go to the nurse and go home. It's okay."
Stitch did not go to the nurse. I met up with him and Dad at the train station, and on the ride home he seemed cheerful if tired. This was understandable so I brushed it off. We came home and grabbed skates, and off we went. Stitch didn't complain and seemed really happy that we were going to be on the big rink.
But once he got on, he got that glassy look. He was dragging within a half hour, and then he was off the ice, slug-like in the stands. I called it.
The trouble with ice skating is that my one tell-tale sign of Stitch's fever, Hot Feet, has been negated. His feet were cold to the touch as always, and the rest of him felt cool as well. The Glassy Look was all I had to go by.
Once we got home, I felt his feet again. Hot. Damn. I stuck a thermometer in his mouth. 101.5. Shit. My rule on fevers is: -101, let it stand. +102, bring it down for comfort. I let this fever stand, gave him some water and sent him to bed. And then I sat there, drinking some rum and thinking, "You slave driver, you suspected it, and yet you dragged him to skating lessons anyway. What the hell is wrong with you?"
This morning, Stitch was up. He felt warm right when he woke up, but he seemed cheerful, was talkative, and ate some Nutella on toast. His temperature was 98.5. (Stitch is like me, he normally runs a cool 96-97.) Huh. Do I do skating lessons or not? If I do it, and he's conning me again, I might be downing him into next week. I was on the fence until he asked me, "When do we have to leave for skating?"
"Why? Are you feeling better?"
Okay, I decided to risk it. I gave him some Tylenol just in case, and off we went. I did it on the condition that we skip all skating for the rest of the day so he can rest.
We went to the rink, put on skates, and I looked for Coach M as I had been ordered. I asked Ice Dance Dad, who gave me a blank look. "I don't know her. Did you look on the small rink?" Am I the only one who cares about knowing the Coaches? I finally asked at the office, all the while watching Stitch for any sign of illness. Coach M finally appeared. "Oh, yeah, they're on the studio. Just go on in."
And with that lack of ceremony, Stitch barged his way into Gamma. The class was with Coach L, my least favorite of them all. Ugh. I watched, coffee in hand, ready to pounce in case Coach L did her "jerk the kids around" act again. Meanwhile, a mom and her son screamed at each other over hockey versus figure skates. "I already bought hockey skates! I don't care if you hate them, I am NOT buying new skates! Get back on the ice!"
"But mom, I can't do it!" he wailed.
"Get back in there! I don't care! You can skate in those or you can leave, that's your choice!"
This was punctuated with several episodes of her dragging him out of the rink while he screamed, and his little sister started screaming too, just to get in on the act.
Boys don't wear Figure Skates.
Stitch was doing more mohawks, or at least trying to. He was watching, attempting them as best he could, but I became more and more set that this was "Gamma Preview" and not the real deal. Towards the end of the class, I actually heard Coach L praise him, something I'd never heard before. Perhaps she got more personable as the kids got better, I don't know.
A mom pushed her stroller a little ways onto the ice, smiling at the toddler inside. "You want to go on the ice, honey? Okay, here we go!" I swear, these moms just take an inch at a time before they just run miles all over the place. The massive stroller fully blocked the ice door, so Screaming Match Mom and Kid were just further frustrated in their argument.
A Young Coach finally comes over. "Ma'am, you can't do that."
"I'm just trying to keep her from screaming," the mom says, using the notion of a screaming kid as a weapon to get her way.
"You can't have the stroller on the ice."
"It's just a little ways on."
"No. You can't."
Mom rolls her eyes and backs off, and Little Kid inside does not scream. Screaming Mom and Kid go on, so maybe we need to edge them in a stroller onto the ice.
Towards the end of the lesson, Stitch was getting the hang of Mohawks. He was smiling. He came off the ice, shivering. "How do you feel?"
"Okay. Can I have a dollar?"
"What for? You hungry?"
"Yes, I want a snack."
Hunger is good. He got a big honey bun from the vending machine and ate the whole thing while we watched the Freestyle class finish. I felt more confident about his quasi-illness. Maybe I hadn't screwed this up too bad.
He went on for Beta. Fewer big jumps, more ice scraping, and he was definitely slower than normal. But he skated well. Dad showed up and we talked about the various skaters; who had bad skates, who was dressed funny, the moms at the ice door like they can do anything from there, and so on. It was nice to have someone to talk to, and Stitch was really happy to have Dad there. He would look up at us from time to time, big smiles and proud of himself.
We hit Target after lessons, where I got a ton of new gloves on the cheap. They had packs of Stitch's favorite color combinations for $.70, so I stocked up. I also got thin black trouser socks for his skates, because apparently his feet are growing and we're out of that half-size of growth room in his skates. He ate a healthy amount in the cafe, was chipper and cheery, but I was still determined to keep him down for the rest of the day. My other rule on Fevers is: You must be 24 hours Fever Free before you are declared well.
We're on hour 20, and Stitch is barricaded in his bedroom, angry that I am not taking him to Chuck E Cheese as I promised last weekend. I said that I was in no way taking him to that germ-hole while his immune system was compromised. He gave me a dark look and stormed off. He's bored and restless and bound to start causing trouble any minute now. I have some sewing I can finish, and a night off will be nice, regardless of how much he hates me for it. He'll be going to bed early whether he likes it or not, and maybe I've managed to avert a potential disastrous interruption to the preparations for March.