Tag Archives: sickness

Chicken Soup: It Does a Body Good

There’s nothing quite like an interminable week spent with my brood to remind me why I don’t homeschool. Sprinkle the aforementioned with an unmerciful bout of the flu and I’m that much surer I made the right decision.

Indeed, last week was ugly. For all intents and purposes, it qualified as one of those unspeakably unpleasant parenting events I hope never to revisit. That said, there were fevers and sore throats, dizzy spells and delirium, stabbing pains from head to toe and waves of uncontrollable shivers that seized their smallish bodies seemingly without end. There were moments, too, during which the afflicted pair demanded proof that they would, in fact, survive the dreadful ordeal. And because misery loves company, a profusion of sneezes, debilitating headaches and seal-inspired coughs joined the medley of horribleness that befell my unfortunate bunch.

Despite their woeful situation, they somehow summoned the strength to grouse with one another, which, of course, multiplied the joy felt by all. Not. For the record, I witnessed some of the most absurd bickering matches heretofore known to man—ones over who had spiked the highest temperature, who could more skillfully imitate a basset hound on command and who could heap the foulest mound of Kleenexes upon the floor following a sustained fit of sneezing.

The jury is still out on that one.

Considerable time was spent holed up on the couch-turned-sickbay, too, buried beneath mountains of blankets, clad in sweats, socks, Sponge Bob whateverness, a fishing hat for one and, at one point, mittens for the other. Not surprisingly, a certain sock monkey, a basketball and an armadillo named Frank were also requested—and dutifully fetched, I might add. The suggestion of naps, fitful at best, took place there in the thick of their tormented state.

Thankfully, there were times when the gods of bodily ailments smiled upon my progenies (i.e. the brief yet delicious slivers of time during which they didn’t feel as if they’d been hit by a bus that happened to be transporting a small herd of elephants). That, of course, is when they became hopelessly immersed in the ridiculousness that is YouTube (read: Harry Potter’s Puppet Pals). Naturally, an embarrassment of time was also invested while Googling the bejesus out of weird animal sounds—in the name of comparing and contrasting said sounds with their incessant barking. Like a fool, I offered my two cents—suggesting that their hideous coughs most closely resembled a cross between a depressed sea lion and the aforementioned basset hound.

Mostly, though, my function was to make voluminous quantities of chicken soup—soup that promised to tame the ills that besieged my crew. Just as it is every other time someone in this household begins to sniffle and sneeze, hack or hurl. Aside from constructing cozy nests upon the sofa, feeling foreheads and fetching whateverness day and night, I suppose the soup gig is my so-called bailiwick—not to be confused with my calling as the celebrated shoe-picker-upper, toilet-flusher and Homework Nazi.

Unlike so many of my pedestrian functions as a parent and caregiver, this one is far from thankless. Over the years, I’ve been showered with high praise and a wealth of validation for my efforts in the kitchen like: “Mom, your soup is so…SLURPABLE! You’re awesome! Can I have some more?!” Even the child who isn’t particularly fond of soup will humor me sample some when she’s reached rock bottom with a cold or the flu. Furthermore, my oldest has gone so far as to shame me into making her a batch to remedy all her ills, leaving a sad little trail of posts on my Facebook wall. I should be flattered, I suppose.

But perhaps the strangest bit of critical acclaim I’ve received to date for my soup was a request for the slurpable stuff from one of the above mentioned weirdish children.

“I’d like some for breakfast, Mom. Cold. With a straw, please.” A request that was (and continues to be) duly granted.

Once again, I think I ought to be flattered.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live.

Copyright 2011 Melinda L. Wentzel

 

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Filed under Sick-O Central

It Was a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

My mother warned me there’d be days like this—days during which I’d rather swallow a cheese grater than raise children. Times when I’d seriously toy with the notion of running away from it all, forsaking those who depend on me to scrub grass stains, to scribble sappy little lunchbox notes and to be the voice of reason for my woman-child/co-ed. There would be an abundance of woeful moments, too (she assured me), when I’d bury my miserable self in the deepest, darkest recesses of a closet in hopes that no one, least of all my needy charges, would ever find me in such a sorry state—desperately clinging to my last marble.

Those unbearable chunks of ugliness, Mom promised, would be sandwiched in-between chapters of sheer joy and passages of tolerable madness—but they’d be there just the same. Shame on me for not believing her.

I had to actually visit the horribleness (as well as the pleasure) myself in order to be convinced of its existence. Like so many things in life, the highs and lows of parenthood cannot be experienced vicariously. They must be lived—for better or for worse. Tuesday, the 26th qualified as “for worse” for me. It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day—in a hurling-profusely-into-big-buckets sort of way. I have no doubt that Judith Viorst, of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day fame, would be proud of me for painting the picture so vividly. 

That being said, every joint, muscle and square inch of skin ached with unprecedented intensity. Every solitary strand of hair pulsated with pain and my head felt as though it would explode (which might have been an improvement in retrospect). Even my teeth hurt. For what seemed an eternity, tsunami-sized waves of nausea crashed over me unrelentingly. At one point, I distinctly recall wanting to be put out of my misery. Like a horse with a bad leg. “Just shoot me already!” I groused to no one. Because, of course, no one else was lying on the bathroom floor at 3 a.m. in a pool of self-pity gazing at the underbelly of the loo and wondering when the urge to retch would strike again. If nothing else, having such a vantage point reminded me that my bathroom needed cleaning. Desperately.

Not surprisingly, such a ludicrous thought made me chortle—despite having reached the absolute depths of despair. There I was, seized unspeakably with an ailment that can only be characterized as evil and nestled in what I believed to be abject squalor. But like a fool, I was SERIOUSLY CONTEMPLATING THE POSSIBILITY OF CLEANING MY BATHROOM. How absurd is that?! I rarely allow such frivolities to enter my mind on a good day, let alone one in which I’d been hit by a bus.

What made matters worse (and what could be more vile than bowing to the porcelain god—again and again and again?!) was that one of my brood was stricken a mere ten hours later—in the very same hurling-profusely-into-big-buckets sort of way. Blarrrrg!

As a parent, I felt dreadfully inept—dragging my sickly body to and fro in an effort to aid this smallish child of mine. My paltry offerings were limited to reassuring her that EVENTUALLY this horrid malady would go away and find someone else to torment. I then bestowed upon her a pail and advised her never to let it leave her side—even as she slept (i.e. tossed and turned and groaned and moaned roughly 637 times) in my bed. (Indeed, I had found a surefire way to add drama and excitement to the bedroom…will she, or won’t she hit the bucket/make it to the bathroom in time?)

And to illustrate, once again, that bizarreness knows no bounds, the event itself became a twisted sort of competition—between and among those who spewed forth with wild abandon. “Mom, I beat you! I threw up 22 times and you only did it 5 times!”

Yes, we counted.

What’s more, the wretched affair had become a bit of a spectacle to the non-vomiting child in the household. “Let me see! Let me see! Oh, that’s really GROSS!” Clearly, the circus had come to town—complete with freakish sideshows and crowd-pleasing performances. Had I possessed an ounce of strength, I could have choked a certain member of the peanut gallery—or at the very least, I could have planted the seed in her mind that she, too, would soon be having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day in a hurling-profusely-into-big-buckets sort of way. Needless to say, I wanted nothing more at that moment than to desert my post. Indefinitely.

Mom was right. There would be days like this.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live.

Copyright 2008 Melinda L. Wentzel

 

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A Depraved New World: A Mother’s Rant

Horrified is the only word I can summon to accurately describe how I feel about a book that was authored solely for the purpose of facilitating pedophilia. The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover’s Code of Conduct was written by Colorado-based Phillip R. Greaves II who defends his self-published tome as “…my attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certian [sic] rules for these adults to follow. I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps liter [sic] sentences should they ever be caught.” He expressed further, “True pedophiles love children and would never hurt them.”

Apparently, Mr. Greaves never heard of Elizabeth Smart. Or Jaycee Dugard. Or Jennifer Schuett. Or 11-year-old Michaela Petit. Or 6-year-old Adam Walsh. Or the countless others who have been victimized at the hands of a depraved pedophile. Either that or he is somehow confused about the notion of what actually constitutes a sex crime. Or maybe he just wants the world to better understand people who would commit such heinous acts and to dig deeper to find the inherent good within their sorry souls—a concept I find wholly inconceivable.

More disturbingly, Greaves’ book (as of this writing) ranks among the top 100 of all Amazon.com Kindle sales. Due to an apparent explosion of public outrage (i.e. thousands of impassioned protests and threats of boycotts on the cusp of the holiday shopping season), the online giant removed the aforementioned title from its shelves, responding to concerned users by stating they “…do not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions. Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable.”

Well that line of reasoning certainly makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside (not!) with regard to protecting our right to free speech—regardless of the potential implications it may have, despite the grossly misguided message it sends humanity and notwithstanding the deeper moral issue that seems to have been sacrificed in the process of promoting said book. Needless to say, I don’t advocate censorship in every instance, but this piece of literary filth crossed the proverbial line and if ever there were justification for burning a book—this would be it. That said, I fear the tenet of social responsibility no longer means anything to anyone—least of all, to the industries that pay homage to the almighty dollar.

Clearly, it’s too late for Amazon to feign ignorance, or to having had a temporary lapse of good judgment. Honestly, how could ANYONE assigned to screen content for appropriateness possibly misconstrue the gist of this book? The title alone should have grabbed a reviewer by the throat and squeezed until its vileness was duly noted. In essence, it is an instruction manual for child molesters…a collection of dos and don’ts for would-be pedophiles (complete with legal advice)…a free pass to the Land of Exploitation—and until late Wednesday, it was available for download at the insanely affordable rate of $4.79.

Of course, The Pedophile’s Guide isn’t the only book of its ilk listed on Amazon’s site. Nor is Greaves the only author to delve into such topics. Until very recently, Greaves’ Gardens of Flesh could be purchased there. It’s likely that CNN’s Anderson Cooper (of AC 360) triggered its removal—and rightly so. However, others still remain. Join the LIVE CHAT to weigh in.

In sum, I am appalled by the audacity with which the guide was both created and promoted online—which is truly a reprehensible thing. Likewise, I am alarmed by the volume of demand and interest that evidently exists for such a product (an undisclosed number were sold). Moreover, I am saddened to think it would still be available had it not been for the voices of so many enraged individuals.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live (thoroughly disgusted with this deplorable turn of events).

Copyright 2010 Melinda L. Wentzel

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Filed under "S" is for Shame, A Depraved New World, Bookish Stuff, I blog therefore I am, Rantings & Ravings, Sick-O Central, The Write Stuff

A Depraved New World

Pardon my French, but there are a lot of sick bastards out there. People who routinely, and perhaps obsessively, sit at their keyboards and Google the bejesus out of lewd keywords and phrases, hoping, I assume, to find whatever twisted bit of prose they seek. A sordid “fix” so to speak. I need only peruse my WordPress Site Stats to view the pathetic snippets of speech (taken entirely out of context, mind you) which apparently lead people to my digital home. Every. Single. Hour. Of. Every. Single. Day.

Needless to say, it makes me ill.

But it’s nothing new. Sexual predators have existed since the beginning of time, lurking all too near, littering this otherwise lovely place with their depravity. Like the disquieting woman at the playground who looks like she doesn’t belong, or the pervy guy in the parking lot who lingers two cars down, making the hair on the back of your neck bristle and the pace at which you shepherd your children, hasten. Call it motherly instinct. Label it fear. Wrap it with a therapist’s bow and call it paranoia if you must. But it’s real, and it causes great multitudes of parents to hoist those little red flags in a quiet panic.

Indeed, on any given day the media machine fuels our collective anxiety by spewing forth a disturbing volume of society’s heinous acts, riddled, of course, with horrific detail…so that we might be jarred into attending more closely. Lord knows we need jarring. As a culture we’ve been desensitized to the pervasive climate of horribleness within which we live. The scourge of terrorism. A vacationing jet-skiier murdered by a Mexican drug cartel. An investigator’s severed head showing up in a suitcase days later. The brutal and senseless Tillman killing. The countless suicides prompted by an unsettling wave of bullying. The Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard nightmarish abductions. The barbaric rape and thwarted murder attempt of Jennifer Schuett. The savage and incomprehensible Petit family home invasion.

Over and over the unspeakably gruesome sound bites play in our minds, filling us with grief for the victims and their families, consuming us with a palpable sense of unease and leading us to invite the notion that monsters do, in fact, exist.

Maybe this explains why I sometimes smother my children. Texting my oldest to excess, to ensure she’s perfectly fine…trying desperately to remember that she’s nearly as old as I was when I became her mother. Holding my youngest children’s hands in the street, although it makes them inordinately cross. Preaching about the importance of letting me know where they are every minute of every day (or perhaps more frequently). Stuffing wads of Kleenexes and Band-Aids in their pockets in the unlikely event that the school suffers some sort of shortage. Denying their ceaseless petitioning for going it alone at the bus stop. Listening to their restorative breaths in the dead of night and checking to be sure that their smallish bodies are safe from harm.

Damning the aforementioned sick bastards…the world over.

Quite frankly, as a parent I’m tired of feeling angry and imprisoned by fear. Without question, the impressionable youths in my charge sense this, spoiling their fun and squelching their desire to explore. That said, kids shouldn’t be tethered to their parents like balloons. Especially once an age-appropriate level of responsibility has been demonstrated. At that point, they ought to earn a modicum of independence…so they might be inclined to climb trees, to dig in the dirt and to roam the Earth (sans mom and dad) in search of new friends and adventures. As a child I distinctly recall being permitted to gallivant hither and yon from sunup till sundown for much of June, July and August. Read: I hiked a considerable distance from home for hours at a time in the thick of forests, the depths of ravines and across streets and vast expanses of our neighborhood without (Gasp!) a cell phone, bug spray or sunscreen. Nor did I have a GPS device surgically implanted within my skin or permanently affixed to my stupid canteen so that my parents could obsessively track my whereabouts.

It’s clear I need to get back in touch with being a sensible parent…the kind I was a decade ago, inspired, perhaps, by the kind of kid I was. In light of that, I should probably read Lenore Skenazy’s Free-Range Kids.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live (searching for the courage to raise free-range kids in a world that is more than a little frightening at times).

Copyright 2010 Melinda L. Wentzel

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Filed under A Depraved New World, Rantings & Ravings, Smother May I?

How to Win Friends and Influence Children

Dale Carnegie might have made his New York Times bestseller even more successful had he known what I now know about motivating others—especially the mulish imps with whom I reside. He could have rocked the world with the groundbreaking information I’ve painstakingly gathered from the field (i.e. the Mommy R & D Laboratory).

The beauty of said discovery is that, in essence, it is ridiculously simple—my kids will do anything for a chicken nugget. Homework standing on their heads. Soccer drills during a monsoon. Strep tests with glee. They’ll even take a bath and clean their room on a Saturday, which elevates the validity of positive reinforcement to an unprecedented level of acceptance. Without question, if a savory nugget is the prize (warmed to perfection or stone cold), I can consider the unpleasant task at hand done. And if the esteemed chunk of meaty goodness came from Tony’s Deli—all the better.

Case in point (as I tucked one of my cherubs into bed recently): “I’m afraid you probably won’t be going to school tomorrow, Hon. Not with that fever.” A pall then fell over her face—as if I had announced the sun didn’t like us anymore, so it would be moving to another galaxy, ending life as we know it.

“But we’re having chicken nuggets for lunch tomorrow, Mom,” a tiny voice whimpered from beneath the covers, the hovel where the smallish being in question shivered and shook thanks to that wretched sister-to-malaria she had undoubtedly contracted.

“Nuggets?” I thought to myself, completely baffled by the inane notion that a piece of poultry could wield such power—enough to inspire a sickish child to drag her sorry self to school. I expected a far different plea; one that perhaps involved the cute boy with the Sponge Bob lunchbox or gym class with those beloved scooterish devices or a library full of “…my favorite horse books!” all of which would have been sacrificed on a day home from school. Not once did I hear, “But Mom, I’d miss my friends and my teacher and the best bus driver in all the world!”

Nope. Chicken nuggets ruled. Go figure.

“And anyway, I’d miss soccer practice, and all that sloshing around in the mud…and my coach…and my team…and I wouldn’t be able to look for worms afterward to add to my collection! It’s not fair, Mom; I have to go to school. I just have to. Besides, it’s the last time the cafeteria ladies will make chicken nuggets for me this month and I’d have to wait until December to have them again!”

Given that this strange child of mine likes a grand total of two meals on the school lunch menu (fish sticks and chicken nuggets, but not chicken tenders or poppers because dear God, they’re INFINITELY DIFFERENT than nuggets!), I understand her dilemma. Completely.

“Okay, you can go to school tomorrow if you don’t wake up feeling absolutely horrible. But just for the record, it’s against my better judgment,” I said grudgingly, having caved yet again. But part of me cheered the news, comforted in the knowledge that I wouldn’t be saddled with a whiny child all day, longing for her precious chicken nuggets, enraged with me for having deprived her of that which she adores. I have enough trouble being labeled Meanest Mom on the Planet.

At that, she breathed a great sigh of relief and snuggled deeper into the sea of blankets. All was right with the world. “Thanks, Mom.”

“So what’s the big deal with chicken nuggets anyway? It seems as if that’s all you ever like to eat.”

She then reminded me of the note she had scrawled some time ago, highlighting for my benefit (as well as for the cafeteria personnel’s future reference) what specific menu items currently meet with her approval. Among a host of other things she considers tasty, the list included chicken nuggets (or more affectionately, cicen nuggets).

I stand corrected.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live.

Copyright 2008 Melinda L. Wentzel

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Filed under Daily Chaos, Home is Where the Weirdness Lives, Kid-Speak, Meat & Potatoes, Mushy Stuff, School Schmool, Sick-O Central, We Put the Fun in Dysfunction

Hello, Misery…Your Company is Here

Lately I feel like the overstuffed mitten in that aptly titled children’s classic, The Mitten. My world, quite literally, is falling apart at the seams and I guess I’m whining because it feels good. Little else has proven effective thus far.

Of course, this is nothing new. I’ve always subscribed to the theory: When in doubt, whine it out. There’s just something about going on and on (in horrific detail) about personally troubling issues that contributes to coping—or maybe it’s the truckloads of pity I find especially therapeutic. Either way, I win. Whining also happens to deliver another benefit: It triggers within others an irresistible urge to vent in response (an enormously dysfunctional “pity party” of sorts).

You’re cordially invited.

Naturally, the venting process itself stirs the competitor within and causes a great number of individuals to spit out an I-can-top-that-train-wreck-of-an-experience-in-300-words-or-less! In short, I wind up feeling soooooooooooooooo much better after learning there are throngs of people out there WAY more miserable than I am. Thanks, in advance. I hope you share.

To spell it out… in refrigerator magnets, Seek and Destroy have been afflicted with one blasted illness after the other—FOREVER. Well, since the beginning of time anyway. It started with rotten colds (which each of the germ magnets managed to attract oh-so-handily) and progressed to a nasty ear infection—that positively refuses to go away. Then Seek, of course, felt left out and dreadfully bored with all that sneezing and coughing so she contracted strep throat to keep pace with her sister. Sprinkle an especially vile bout of pink eye into the mix (which they most generously shared with one another and God only knows who else) and that about sums up Sick-O-Central—with one exception: HIVES.

We discovered that Destroy is apparently allergic to just about every drug that contains any of the letters, A through Z. Not really, just the “cillin” family. Joy. And, as expected, we learned this key bit of information not during the week, during office hours or even where we reside. Nope. We became enlightened OVER THE WEEKEND while at a conference, AT NIGHT and roughly FOUR HOURS FROM HOME. Oh, happy day.

“What the hell are those spots?!” I grilled my husband who had spent all afternoon with the girls, swimming in the hotel pool, checking out the cool pond stocked with goldfish, and throwing rocks at the ducks. Yes, the man taught our dear children how to throw rocks at ducks. Modeled the behavior, even. That said, the ducks are okay. Really, they’re perfectly fine. Please don’t write to rail him. That’s my job.

“I don’t know. Looks like a rash,” he stated in a pitiful attempt to sound like a concerned medical professional. Damned quack. Stick to ducks already.

To make a long, boring story short and exciting, within about 38 seconds the hives grew to the size of watermelons and spread pretty much over her entire body—head to toe. For the record, they were red, and raised, and itchy and it was scary as hell for me to watch them multiply like some deranged polka-dotted plague. Thankfully, Benadryl saved the day and we didn’t have to tour Allegheny General Hospital that night, although for a time we seriously entertained the idea. At any rate, we’re home now and still up every night with one or both sicklings for one reason or another—which is painfully reminiscent of the sleep deprivation era we endured forever and a day.

With any luck, the new antibiotic will do the trick—minus the hives. Time will tell.

“Can I take a look at your belly? Yes, I know, I know, I’ve looked at it 427 times today, but I like it. It’s a nice belly and I am especially fond of the ‘innie’ you’re sporting there. No, really—I just need to see your belly. I won’t tickle you. I promise. Just humor me please, Hon.”

Of course, I am now ridiculously suspect of each and every itch, bump or red mark that appears on her skin. I’ve even tiptoed into her room at 3 a.m. with flashlight in hand to examine that belly—yet again. My husband thinks I’ve become obsessed. I simply continue to advise him that he should worry about the poor, defenseless ducks—not my middle-of-the-night traipsings.

Quite frankly, I’m sick to death of administering medicine too. I’ve been driven nearly berserk trying to keep track of who gets what, when—and my kitchen counter is starting to resemble a pharmacy. We’ve got gooey grape stuff, bubblegum-flavored chewables, terrific tasting cherry liquid, a nasal spray and eye drops that promise to end that oh-so-wonderful eyelash super-gluing phenomenon nearly instantaneously. Good thing. I’ve grown to loathe the unsticking process each morning.

Hello, Misery…your company is most definitely here.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live (answering the door).

Copyright 2005 Melinda L. Wentzel

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Filed under Daily Chaos, Rantings & Ravings, Sick-O Central, We Put the Fun in Dysfunction

Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Spring

Thus far in the journey (i.e. the unmerciful season of sickness), my brood remains reasonably healthy; but I remember well LAST spring. Ugh.


There’s nothing quite like being plagued unmercifully with an illness while the splendor of spring dances outside, taunting and teasing and souring those who fall victim—a goodly chunk of their joy deemed stolen forever. I expect such pestilence to invade my happy home in the dead of winter, wending its way through my entire brood one-by-one, sparing no one but the damned dog and a couple of self-absorbed cats. I’m prepared for the onslaught of such maladies at that juncture, armed with vaporizers and Vicks, hot water bottles and hurling buckets, multi-symptom this and meltaway that and cases upon cases of that grape-ish, sickly-sweet tonic that promises to tame sniffles, sneezes, coughs, fevers, sore throats and whatever else might ail the masses.

However, I find it especially agonizing (okay, downright brutal) to endure feeling entirely rotten (and caring for those who feel entirely rotten) while on the cusp of something as wonderful as the vernal equinox. In my mind, it smacks of cruel and unusual punishment in a world already riddled with gross injustices—like being saddled with kids who refuse to sleep through the night till they’re in kindergarten, or getting stuck with a wayward grocery cart with at least one defective wheel and a penchant for careening into towers of produce. It’s all so completely unfair.

That said, with virtually every sickness comes the insufferable issue of medicine—more specifically, getting the wily urchins to consume it without calling in the cavalry at 3 am or threatening to make a trip to the ER “…where a mean and horrible troll will make you take it if you don’t take it for Mommy PRECISELY NOW.” Okay. It’s what I want to say upon drizzling 14 bazillion teaspoonfuls of whatevericillin across my countertops and watching gobs of the pasty stuff seep into my carpet as I wait for my less-than-cooperative progenies to slurp it down already. With a gallon of water and a Cheez-It chaser, of course, “…to make the icky-ness go away, Mom.”

What’s more, some of the lovely little medications our dear children are prescribed transform Sweet Suzie into Broomhilda the Beast—a highly disturbed, shriek-happy demon child who (when she snaps) devours Legos by the fistful, pummels hapless siblings at will and spins her head around and around as if possessed—especially when demands are not immediately met. Insane flailing of the arms and stomping of the feet are optional and left to the discretion of the unruly creature in question—all of which we must tolerate with a smile.

Likewise, (and without hesitation) we must happily convert our living rooms into makeshift sickbays, covering our couches with blankets, comfy pillows and beloved stuffed animals, lining our coffee tables with a vast array of whatever-said-sickly-child-might-desire-for-the-interminable-duration—to include a monstrous wad of tissues, soup that will be warmed roughly 300 times and will eventually become fused to the magazine smartly placed beneath it, a freshly sneezed-upon TV remote, a box of soon-to-become-contaminated crackers, a library of books and a new bicycle, puppy or pony for good measure.

Moreover, parents are often faced with the challenge of answering the unanswerable when illnesses strike, testing our resolve nearly every waking moment. “Mom, why do I always have to get so sick every spring? It’s entirely horrible,” Thing One recently lamented after nearly hurling in her bowl of Lucky Charms.

“I don’t know, Hon. Maybe it’s because it’s been really windy lately and the bad germs somehow get whirled and twirled around and then blown back inside where we breathe them.” Or maybe God hates us and we’re simply doomed to misery every year during March and April, said the optimist.

Thing Two of course chimed in with her impossible-to-field question, “Mom, why is it that March has to come in and go out like a lion or a lamb? Why couldn’t it just be a worm and a jaguar? Worms are gentle, you know. And jaguars bite people’s heads off.”

I had nothing for that. So (yet again) I failed to offer an explanation that was even remotely satisfying to her. Oh well. No one on the planet seems to agree on the lion/lamb thing anyway, because of course there are no clear-cut guidelines for determining what defines “coming in (or going out) like a lamb/lion” as it relates to weather. Hence, the barrage of inane questions from curious-minded second graders. Second graders remarkably adept at contracting (and sharing) a whole host of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad maladies.

Woe is me.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live with a bunch of sick-os. Visit me there at www.notesfromplanetmom.com.

Copyright 2009 Melinda L. Wentzel

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