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