Apart from an adult male with a dose of “Man-Flu”, there is nothing more taxing on a family than a sick child. Mums usually bear the brunt of any household malady, primarily due to the pleasing evolutionary twist that sick children only want their mummies. This dates back to early Cro-Magnon days when ill youngsters were much safer staying in the cave with mum than tramping around the savannah with dad – while he searched for alcoholic berries.
Now days of course, the drive thru bottle shop has replaced a lot of the tramping and savannah issues. But regardless, sick kids are just safer with their mums. Ladies, evolution doesn’t lie.
This inalienable fact certainly does not, however, stop me, and most fathers, from interfering. Men are fixers. “Problem with the dishwasher, Darling? Let me just get the hammer out”. I’m not suggesting I actually fix things, but I like to pretend I can. So generally, when appliances break, my wife immediately dials the repairman.
“Well, water isn’t draining, and there’s a large hole in the panel door…..yes, it’s about the size of a hammer…”
Sometimes I try to fix my wife’s lousy day.
“Hard day with Missy, Darling? What you need is beer and a DVD. How does ‘We Were Soldiers’ sound? And while your up, I’ll have a beer too, thanks. Now, what’s for dinner?”
So when Missy gets sick, which is thankfully not particularly often, my wife circles the wagons. She has thermometers and elixirs to hand – entertains and cuddles Missy when she needs full attention and leaves her be when she needs to vent her sickly frustration or just wants some alone time.
I usually wander in, try to tickle Missy when she is angry, ignore her when she is fragile, and talk incessantly to her while Cinderella is on the TV. Think of me as the spanner, and my household as the works. I suspect many dads are in the same boat here.
Sick kiddies are delicate and must be handled in a similar fashion to a freshly dug-up grenade – i.e. VERY carefully. Generally, mums are just better at it. (I will make an exception here for stay-at-home-dads). So next time Missy is sick, I think I will come home – and interfere.
Men don’t learn Ladies; we are the product of millions of years of evolution. Just accept it.