We are all kinds of sick around here, where a sick day never stays singular – this time, it’s approaching a sick week. When it rains, it pours and all that.
Jack is sick, too, and because he’s only two, he gets a treatment of fluids, PBS Kids, and – his own remedy – couch time with Sharkie, a stuffed toy we bought him at the Tulsa Aquarium last weekend. When he’s awake and not coughing, he says green olives and Girl Scout cookies work miracles, too.
He has taken to saying, “I’m sorry I’m sick.” What the ? What have I done to make my kid feel the need to apologize for not feeling well? Nothing on purpose, that’s for sure, and perhaps nothing at all. When I was little, my parents never gave me a hard time about cleaning my plate, but that didn’t stop me from hiding uneaten chicken legs or bits of grilled cheese under the wood stove that sat next to the dinner table.
Something more worth apologizing for: peeing in my shoe, which Jack just did. Given that by last October he could make it to Texas and back in the car without accidents, I was a little surprised. Jack was, too, but he did the best he could: He wasn’t going to make it to the bathroom, so he leaned against the trash can and aimed into the nearest vessel – a plastic ruffled flat from Target – so carefully that hardly any landed on the floor. Then a slightly panicked expression, and: “Uh, sorry, Mom. I peed in your shoe.” I told him it happens to the best of us and was glad no one was around to hear it, because that was an even more ridiculous response than when the waiter says “enjoy your dinner” or the ticket agent says “enjoy your flight” and the best you can do is “You, too.” But then I laughed, and he relaxed, and it might have been the best either of us has felt in two days.
Not that I want to empty any more pee-filled shoes, you know, ever.
Anyway, it’s been a foggy, damp chilly mess of a week in every way. Outside it’s pouring, and it looks about how I feel.
On Monday, maybe my worst day, I couldn’t just be sick. I had to drive to Little Rock to teach for a day in an inner-city high school. Ordinarily I love this school, and my experiences there always beat the heck out of its reputation, but Monday was terrible. It didn’t help that for starts, I felt like the whole school was sitting on my forehead. Beyond that, the teacher whose classroom I was visiting was out for the day, and in her place was a soft-spoken substitute who tiptoed around and needed my help even to take roll. I had to bang on the table, stop kids from throwing things, and excuse a young lady asking to clean her tattoo. The next period, a student from another class pulled the fire alarm (to be honest I was happy for the break, which was long enough for a cough drop).
After that, it felt as though only an actual fire could make things worse – so at least I’ve stayed lucky in one regard.
Really, after seeing the first daffodils come up last week and eating lunch on a patio last Saturday, this feels like a cruel reminder that it’s still winter. Still cold season.
So. I haven’t read anything since I got lost in Lawrence Wright’s 25,000-word New Yorker piece on Scientology last week, but I’ve found my way back and am headed your way to catch up. In the meantime, any advice on how to help a toddler get rid of a nasty cold and cough?