A version of this blog post originally appeared on NYParenting.com (2014)
Julia recently has had a series of fevers (due to teething) and I find myself very thankful that my husband is there to step in. It’s not that I don’t know what to do, it’s just that — I sort of freak out!
I remember the first time Olivia had a high fever. It shot up to 103 degrees and I was terrified. We had no idea what to do. My quick-thinking husband decided to wrap her in cold towels. Yes, he used common sense, but I couldn’t even think straight, I was so worried and scared. Would we have to go to the emergency room? What if she got a seizure!? We wrapped her body in a cold, wet towel in an attempt to bring the fever down quickly. She fell asleep snuggled in the towel until we had to wake her up after a few minutes and do it all over again. We must’ve done this at least five times. Each time she fell asleep and each time she cried when we woke her up. My husband was so calm while I practically chewed off my nails. He took her temperature one last time and it was finally back to normal. They each slept soundly that night, but I kept sneaking into her room to make sure she hadn’t gotten another fever.
My husband has a way of staying very calm in high-pressure situations. Such as the time our home caught fire. Seriously. We were living in Brooklyn at the time, in a two-story house. I had smelled the smoke and, being the paranoid person that I am, I combed through the house looking for the source. Had I turned on a candle? No. My husband shrugged it off but something just didn't feel right. I urged him to check downstairs and as soon as he opened our front door, our apartment became engulfed in black smoke. Needless to say, I panicked (read: I saw my life flash before me and thought we were all going to die).
Tomas rushed Olivia and me to the window, where we climbed out and entered our neighbor's house. The houses were all connected so we were able to cross over and get out safely. He then went back and got our dog, of course. Then he climbed off the room, Superman-style, and entered again through the downstairs to make sure everyone else was out safe. Til' this day I don't think he understands how or why I'm so grateful that he did what he did- he was just doing what he had to do, but to me, I really admire how he took control over the situation.
The crazy thing is that he was supposed to go to work that day. It was a hot day in July, and he decided to stay home and take us to the beach. If he had gone to work, I most likely would’ve gone back to sleep. When I think of what could’ve happened, I doubt I would’ve had the courage to think quickly the way he did. And I’m grateful that he was there. In those types of situations, he somehow always manages to stay focused and do what needs to be done. It’s a trait I admire in him and it comes in handy since I am a big worrier.
With three small children who are bound to get sick from time to time and who will no doubt injure themselves (hopefully not too seriously) at some point, it’s great to know that, while I'm usually having a nervous breakdown, he will step in confidently and handle a scary situation. It's a good balance. He’s taking care of the girls, of course, but he also takes care of one very anxious mother.
Happy Father's Day, Tomas!