Special needs

Why sick days can be good for the soul

Anchel Krishna is thankful that a day of rest turned into a fantastic opportunity for one-on-one time with her daughter.

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Syona finds reason to smile during her sick day. Photo: Anchel Krishna

Follow along as Anchel Krishna shares her experiences as mother to Syona, an extraordinary toddler with cerebral palsy.

Last week, I wrote about why I felt OK leaving Syona for a few days to attend a conference for work. It was an incredible conference. I finally got to meet some people I’ve known online for a long time, spent time with old friends and made some new ones. It also inspired some personal revelations, which I’ll share more of next week.

When I walked into the house last Tuesday evening I was faced with a sick preschooler. Despite running a mild fever, while sneezing and coughing, Syona was still happy to see me.

Dilip and I went to work on Wednesday and Thursday and his parents spent the daytime hours trying to get Syona to eat little bits of food while keeping her hydrated. I don’t typically work on Fridays, but I had a meeting scheduled on that morning. On Thursday night I knew Syona wouldn’t be well enough to attend school on Friday or her regular physiotherapy session, which meant I couldn’t attend my meeting.

Read more: The working parents’ guide to dealing with sick kids >

Syona slept in (until 7:30 a.m.) on Friday morning. She woke up stuffy, but happy. I crawled into her bed, lay down with her and told her that we were going to have a special day at home — no appointments, no school, no agenda. We spent an hour eating a leisurely breakfast, followed by some time rolling around on the family room floor (it was the most activity she’d had in three days). When Syona gets sick, it impacts her whole body. In addition to the overall fatigue and grossness (the official clinical term) we all feel, a simple virus or cold has a long lasting impact on Syona’s muscles and her digestion.

So I spent about an hour massaging Syona’s tiny feet. I find that when her muscles are really tight, if I start with her feet it releases a lot of the tension throughout her legs. We then did some light stretches, ate a little bit more food and had a brief nap.

Read more: 10 sick-day activities >

In the afternoon I snuck in a tiny bit of therapy — I was home with her and I couldn’t resist. We practiced walking to her stander, where she stood and did some drawing on her easel. After that, Syona asked if she could have a massage (I love the fact that she can ask for what she wants).

We didn’t get much done during the day and spent a lot of time cuddling. And though I was OK leaving her for a few days, I did miss her a lot. In my mind this was the universe’s way of giving me some extra special time with my girl (and the sore throat and stuffy nose I currently have).

How do you handle childcare when your kiddos are sick? Do you ever enjoy sick days?