There is giggling coming from the lounge room. He, the home-from-school-boy, is watching Megamind. It is animation so typical of this era. I give him a bowl of strawberries, washed and cut. The strawberries are enormous. Unreally so. They need to be cut in quarters. I remember when strawberries were small and sweet. Popped into your mouth straight from the backyard bush.
I have taken the home-from-school-boy to the doctor to be told it is most likely viral. There is nothing to do but to rest and drink plenty of fluids. Animation has advanced in leaps and bounds but there still remains no cure for a common cold but to stay at home and sip lemon and honey.
When I stayed home from school I watched Play School, even when I was way too old for what else was there? Besides, I still loved Big Ted and wanted to look through the round window. Most of the day I had to stay in bed, out of mother’s way. I have no memory of where she was or what she did as I dozed. From my bedroom I could hear the going ons in the kitchen; a clatter of pans and washing up, a drone of radio. The Country Hour. She would go to the shops and leave me alone. Most mothers would have done the same. But not these days. Someone might ring the door bell, the child might answer, he might be kidnapped, the house could catch fire.
My mother grew quickly impatient with a sick child. Especially if I vomited. Somehow vomiting, especially when it was all over the bed, left my mother nonplussed and likely to start yelling. My stay-at-home-boy seems a lot less sick than I had to be to be at home. He has complained of a sore throat and he has a temperature, detectable on the battery operated ear Thermoscan. The thermometer became an essential item when Jasper was a baby and headlines of children dying from meningococcal disease seemed common. My mother detected a fever with the back of her hand across my forehead. If you had a temperature you stayed in bed, might not even be allowed out to watch Play School. You didn’t go to the doctor since she knew what to do. Fluids and plenty of rest.