arenting has its joys and challenges, but there are also those weird moments when you aren’t exactly sure if you’re doing things right. Oh, I’m sure there are books and blogs that have the answers. But, whether you’re sleep-deprived, or just being lazy, the life of a parent is full of judgment calls that, afterwards, leave you second-guessing yourself.
I had one such day recently, when I stayed home from work with my son, who was sick.
And the main question I had when it was all over was: Did we really just watch that much TV?
I mean, I know we did. We watched television from 7 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., without interruption. I don’t remember much about what happened later in the afternoon, probably because of the trance I was in from sitting in front of a screen all day. For example, I can’t recall if we ate any dinner. This was yesterday.
But I do remember just about everything that we watched on TV.
If you’re a sports fan, ESPN’s SportsCenter is a sick day staple. You would think watching the previous night’s games would get redundant. But my son and I actually rewound plays multiple times that we had seen the hour before. How did Stephen Curry hit that shot? He’s amazing! My son, even in his flu-induced lethargy, lifted his head to acknowledge the performance. Which was good – because when your child is really sick, a parent searches for some sign of life. Thanks to SportsCenter, I recognized that my son was not sick enough to stop caring about March Madness or spring training.
We searched for a mid-morning movie, and, quite by accident we stuck with the sports theme, eventually settling on Rocky III. Interesting choice. We could have started with the first in the series, which won an Academy Award, or the fourth, my favorite. But I was thinking, for a sick day, the first installment was a little dated. We needed action. We needed Mr. T.
“Is that his real hair?” Ethan asked at one point.
“Yeah, it’s a mohawk,” I said.
Ethan was surprised to see Rocky Balboa lose early on, but this gave us a chance to review the simple plot formula of all the Rocky movies. Rocky’s going to have his share of problems to overcome. For example, his beloved manager dies. His training with Apollo Creed is a struggle. It’s never easy. But, in the end, Rocky always wins, and you’re supposed to feel good about it.
After Rocky and lunch, we watched a few episodes of “The Middle.” I’ve always liked this show, which basically passes for a family sitcom, even though there is the occasional, low-level, swear, some teen content, and the family in question could be described as a bit dysfunctional. In today’s world, though, this show is pretty wholesome. The days of Family Ties or Growing Pains, both popular when I was a kid, are over. Those families were way too normal.
We watched some international soccer for a little while before switching over to a few episodes of “Seinfeld.” Happily, my son is catching onto Seinfeldian humor, and he is most amused with George and Kramer. In one episode, a marathon runner who is supposed to be staying at Elaine’s ends up sleeping on Jerry’s couch, but, because of a short circuit in Kramer’s hot tub, the building loses power and the runner nearly misses the race because Jerry’s alarm doesn’t go off. The runner, Jean-Paul, makes the race and is later in the lead, but, while running by, he accidentally grabs Kramer’s hot tea instead of a cup of cold water, and he, off-camera, drinks it and presumably collapses.
Now that I write it, I guess that is a little twisted.
A day has passed, and, in retrospect, I probably should have encouraged more sleep, or at least some rest with the TV turned off. Maybe we could have done a puzzle or played a card game. But, honestly, sick days are about survival, for the child and parent. We had some ginger ale for the stomach, took Motrin for the fever, and yes, watched Mr. T.
Like I said, survival.