Germs Invade Casa KasambaAs a mother and wife, I know that I can’t afford to be ill.
But for me it was always a toss up- which is worse; my husband getting sick or my kids….
That is until now.
(Drumroll please, maestro)
Let’s weigh things up:
If my husband gets ill (Chas Vesholom!):
- I must pander to his every need
- I must seem to be sympathetic
- I must pretend that I don’t mind that he can’t do carpool/help with homework/get fresh bread in the morning.
If my kids are unwell (Chas Vesholom!)
-I must clean up their ‘returning of semi-digested food’ (Ahem…)
-I must clean up their ‘rapidly digested food’ (Ahem, once again)
-I must pander to their every need
-I must hear, “I’m not weeeeeelllll” every two minutes on the clock
-I must advise them on exactly what they are allowed to eat as often as I hear the above
-I must sit through my mother’s lectures on how to make power drinks in the juicer to bring the kids back to health
-I must enjoy their presence as they stay home from school
Yup, hands down, it’s the kids.
And there is nothing more heartbreaking than children who were formally Tasmanian Devils turning into overcooked spaghetti.
Especially, if they miss something big, like a simcha or a party or a Yom Tov.
A day before Asparagus turned two, she got chicken pox and her birthday party had to be cancelled. This didn’t stop many well meaning and kind relatives and friends from giving her presents from a safe distance by the door. It’s just that one relative (yes, you know who you are!) who shall remain nameless, who gave Asparagus her favourite present which was; real Barbie makeup. Now, you do the math. Combine makeup and chicken pox and what do you get? A big sticky technicoloured mess.
Epilogue- she has a souvenir of that gift in the form of a scar on her left cheek, where the makeup got entrenched with the open chicken pox pustule.
Ah, a birthday present that lasts forever.
For the past two weeks, my little four year old Cucumber has been down and out. The first week, she had a severe case of gastroenteritis, which lasted for seven days until she went back to school on Friday. The treatment for that was easy because she wasn’t allowed to eat anything and she exists on air anyway, so it suited her fine. Then, Motzai Shabbos she came down with a fever of 102. In the beginning, she was so cute with it, with her cheeks all rosy and her eyes all glassy, but then she got all miserable. So, I called the doctor over to my house (you see? There ARE benefits to living here!) but he couldn’t find anything else sinister, so he just recommended that I give her over the counter medicine to bring the fever down.
Uh, I’m sorry.
What was that he said? Give her WHAT????
Let me explain: Cucumber is a ‘nil by mouth’ kind of girl. She barely eats, detests family favourite staples- such as pasta, pizza and potatoes and exists by the grace of G-d. She does NOT take medication. And so in spite of cajoling and begging and even bribing she refused to take anything until three days later (the totally white night before last) her fever spiked at 105 degrees. By then I just forced her to take a suppository and bathed her until the fever came down. The doctor came to see her again yesterday and saw that she has a full blown case of Tonsilitis and prescribed antibiotics, which he happened to have in his case, and mixed up the solution for me on the spot. (Take that, UK detractors!)
UH, wasn’t he listening???
Which part of ‘she-won’t-take medicine’ did he not get???
However, extreme times call for extreme measures, so I brought out the last gun in my arsenal: Diddles.
Diddles are the 2007 equivalent of Holly Hobby from the 70’s and Hello Kitty from the 80’s and 90’s. They are the stationary du jour for all the well stocked 4-7 year olds. They have cute pictures of frolicking mice in hot pinks and lavenders. Apparently, it’s all the rage to trade them at school. BUT, being as Cucumber is my fifth and youngest child, her pleas for Diddles actually went unheard and unheeded. Thank goodness I was so negligent in providing her with the accoutrements necessary for popularity in the nursery set, because now I had something to bargain with.
With the promise of Diddles, she finally took her antibiotics.
Then this tiny, feverish girl brought me her boots and her coat.
I said, “Cucumber, it’s okay, we can go tomorrow to get the Diddles, when you’re feeling better!”
“Uh, uh” She answered, “I want to go NOW.”
So I bundled her into my car and set off to the only stockist of Diddles in our area: Toys R US.
Now, you have to understand, Joan of Arc walking towards her fatal barbeque wasn’t half as much as a martyr as my little Cucumber. The image of my poor child shuffling down the aisle of the mammoth superstore in her pyjamas, dragging her booted feet behind her, is indelibly etched in mind.
Her skin was a shade of duck egg blue but she sported a determined look in her eye and when she saw her prize, she went in for the kill. She picked out a hot pink folder with a selection of notelets and then said,
“I’m not feeling weeelll. Can you carry me?”
Which I did.