On Being the Sick Kid, and History Not Repeating Itself

I realized yesterday that by Boy Detective’s age, I had already had pneumonia for the first time. He is two months away from turning two. I was 18 months old.

I then had two more bouts of pneumonia, a kidney infection that required an antibiotic so new it didn’t have a name yet (just numbers), and innumerable cases of cold, flu, bronchitis, sinus infections, strep, and asthma. That pretty much defined my childhood. My mother jokes that for about a decade, I missed all the holidays.

Boy Detective has had one ear infection, a handful of colds, and that’s it so far. Thankfully. My mom keeps mentioning how healthy he looks. He’s mostly quite cheerful when he’s sick, too, until this current cold – which I think has just dragged on so long that he’s losing patience with it. I didn’t think that my child would turn out like me just because he was my child, but I wonder how different his childhood will be if he doesn’t have that constant specter of illness hanging over his head.

It’s making me question things I believed about my own childhood as well. I always thought my voracious reading as a child was largely a result of all the time when I couldn’t do anything else but read (as television was limited in our house). Boy Detective, though, has been consuming books at an alarming rate for months. Tonight’s tally before bed was 7 board books and 4 picture books. If that’s not coming from a lack of other options for him, is that where it came from for me? Or did we both start out with the same book love, but mine didn’t get eclipsed by other options, whereas his might?

His passion for sports, the outdoors, and cooking might take up some of that time. Did my dislike of sports really come from my comparative weakness due to constant illness like I always thought, or was I just born that way? I don’t really know, I never bothered to ask my mom because I thought I knew.

And if Boy Detective gets to have all that time that I lost to the germ invasions, will he do something productive with it like cure cancer, or will it simply allow him additional time to perfect his video game moves?

(Note to self: find video game on topic of curing cancer just in case…)

One thought on “On Being the Sick Kid, and History Not Repeating Itself

  1. Grace

    I think we’ve talked about this before, but I was the sick kid too, and turned out in a lot of the same ways you did–loving books, hating sports, etc. I can’t imagine that having to spend so much time confined and not feeling well didn’t have something to do with it.

    But your kid is also your kid–he has to be voracious about books, at least in part, because he’s been provided with them by people who are excited about them since early on, you know?

    Gotta be some of both.

    Anyway, I am so happy that so far Boy Detective isn’t sick like we were. It will make his life–and yours–so much easier.

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