I’ve discovered something going on in my own home, among my own children, which I’d never realized. A lesson that is shocking and which I certainly didn’t realize I was imparting to my children.
Tea is what you drink when you’re sick.
I’ve mentioned before that every generation has its own idea of what you drink when you’re sick, and probably even every family. I’ve mentioned before that my kids will grow up associating sick days with Gatorade.
I grew up with the notion (I thought) that ginger ale was what you had when you were sick. I also remember my dad giving me Alka Seltzer in a very tall glass (I wasn’t allowed to use those usually) when I was small. My husband, by contrast, says they got Coke with the bubbles stirred out of it.
Yesterday, my two year old got a stomach bug, and last night, Kiddo#3 proved what a generous soul his brother is, in that his brother shared the bug with him. (I don’t know if this precipitates another Health Fail. I hope not.)
This morning as I checked my email, Kiddo#3 showed up, bleary-eyed, in the kitchen doorway, and said, “Can I have some tea?”
I turned on the kettle, got out the decaf tea (Kiddo#3 exists in a natural state of motion that most of us would associate with twelve cups of coffee; he doesn’t need help) and got his mug, his spoon (they must eat their tea rather than sipping it. I believe that’s because it makes a tremendous mess that way) and then showed him how to steep it. I added sugar. I asked if he wanted milk, and he looked rather serious as he said, “Yes, I do.”
That’s when I realized: my kiddos don’t think of Gatorade as sick-food. It’s tea. Sore throat? Tea. Fever? Tea. Tummy bug? Tea with lots of sugar once you think you can handle something.
Ten years ago, after I’d gotten the diagnosis that Emily Rose was going to die shortly after birth, I got an email from my mom to make sure I was eating. I wrote back that the only thing I wanted was “really sweet tea.” She replied, “Go ahead. Really sweet tea is fine.”
And there you have it. I passed along an association I wasn’t even aware I had, a legacy my kids won’t question until thirty years from now when they have sick children and weblogs of their own.