Good pasta

Last night, my sick son and I slept in our guest bedroom / home office. Since a while, we are sleeping all together in the same room, but as mother and son were both not feeling so well, the nights were rather tumultuous. Best to split up again, and see if we could all have a better night’s rest that way. I think it worked pretty well for my wife and daughter. They were both more or less fit today, and even managed to sleep in until about 7.30am. For my son and I, the night was a little different. He must have woken up 15 times, trying to crawl into my face. As he vomited a lot, I took care of a sip of water every time he woke me. At about 5.00am he’d had enough of sleeping. He drank three sips of water, then started gurgling and retching, and I only just in time managed to turn him away from me, and by doing so avoid an early morning shower with gastric fluids. If that’s not an exciting way to start the day, I don’t know what is…

The next three hours I spent – and this is becoming a new routine – spoon-feeding him oral rehydration solution. One tea spoon every five minutes. The difficult part is not getting it in. The difficult part is explaining to a toddler that if he takes more than a spoonful, he’ll puke it all out. The word puke, and variations with the same meaning – by now – have been firmly positioned on the ‘NO’ part of his brain. Every time I mention the word, he starts crying, exclaiming that he doesn’t want to do that. So every five minutes, there was a spoon, then a desire for more, an explanation, and four minutes of crying, until the cycle came full circle.

Slowly, I started mixing in pieces of pear as the morning progressed. Then a couple of those horrible salty sticks you either put on the table at parties when you want guests to leave early, or eat when you’re sick. We consumed quite a bunch of those these past days. It’s truly a multi-purpose product. By the time it was 11am, Rafa looked better. Energetic. Lively. He wanted to help me cook lunch. I throw together some anchovies, cloves of garlic, and a lug of olive oil, and give him some tomatoes to help me remove the crowns. He’s already a little chef! I boil some water for the pasta. He chose fusili. While I finish the tomato sauce and the pasta, he tells me he goes to bed, runs away and does something he’s never done before. I find him ready to go for his afternoon sleep, head already on the pillow. Heike takes over the pasta, adding the fusili to the sauce with some of the pasta water, to let it simmer for a bit. I say this quite explicitly because it’s important. We want a nice pasta with starchy goodness spillover into the sauce. Not some half-assed microwave meal pasta with sauce and pasta in separate trays. Anyway, I digress. I follow my son to the bedroom and I sing my son to sleep. Three minutes. Then he slept for a solid three hours. Amazing. Afternoons like this remind me that I’m married to a person, and that we can talk to each other and have good conversations about things, and that we get along well. Being a parent sometimes makes you forget these things. That’s alright, as long as you get reminded every now and then.

And then the best part… This evening he did it again! “Rafa goes to bed”, he told us, and gone he was. I brushed his teeth, he fell asleep within five minutes and he’s been snoring next to me since I started this post. He’s suddenly becoming an independent little boy. At this rate, I’ll give him two months before he hits puberty. Or two days to completely turn around again. So we’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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