Category: Sick

Something Old and Something New

This is the kid who’s off to preschool. This is the kid who’s home sick. This is the mother (not pictured; possibly wearing frowny face) who is not using her “work” morning to do much more than make peppermint tea with honey for said sick kid while fielding innumerable bored comments as he sits beside me and reads the words I’m typing.
I forgot to bring my camera to the preschool drop-off. Will have to stage the moment next Friday. It was the first time I’ve felt like a commuting, all-working, no-one-staying-at-home family; though in fact the feeling was pretend, because here I am, working from home. But anyway. We all ate breakfast, got packed up, headed out the door together, and drove to the preschool, where we said goodbye to Kevin and CJ, and then I drove the girls to school (Albus stayed in the vehicle and “spied” on people). On a Friday when no one is ill, this schedule will mean that I’ll return home to utter quiet. Today, not so much. Albus is all about the sound effects.
But even that possibility reminds me that once upon a time, Life was very quiet. I frequently returned home to an empty apartment. And while there is much pleasure to be found in quiet contemplation (or the potential thereof), I’m grateful for the noise and chaos and activity that these four extra personalities bring into the house and into my life.
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Last night, despite a raging and persistent head cold, I went to hot yoga. This is my winter replacement for school. I’d gotten in the habit of leaving the house on Thursday evenings, as had everyone else, so I figured I’d better keep that habit up. Hot yoga it is. I walk into the room, lie down on the mat, and it’s like being on vacation in the tropics. Yoga is most effective when the mind turns off and empties out. I love it. By the end of class, I feel spiritually renewed. Each time is a little bit different. One time, I was moved to tears, though I couldn’t say why. There is something about emptying oneself out that makes room for more, for change.
However, I did not get to meet with Nina afterward, which was our plan, to discuss our words of the year. I’m looking forward to it. I think my word will be EXPERIENCE. I like the duality of the word, how it both honours the repetition of my mothering life and days, and points toward the new and challenging as well. Experience can only come from practice, and from putting in the time. It requires patience and commitment. But to have an experience can be quite a different undertaking altogether: it requires a leap of faith, openness, willingness, recognition, courage. Experiences drop out of the sky; sometimes you simply find yourself within them, and sometimes you have to look for them and seek them out. (I’m thinking of “experiences” as adventures, of a sort, but more mundane than that, too. Experiences can include anything: finding yourself in conversation with someone you don’t usually talk to, or sitting down to play the piano and finding you want to write a new song, or picking up a book and being unexpectedly touched and moved by a random sentence. ie. my definition is pretty wide open).
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And now. I need to get to work. I’ve just pointed my sick son toward the television. I’m going to let him watch YTV, which is usually off-limits due to the wretched advertising. Does my child need to be inundated with the latest and greatest in toys, cereals and movies? No, my child does not. But an hour or two can’t hurt.
In about an hour from now, Kevin will arrive home with our youngest.
“He won’t be able to tell us about his day!” AppleApple pointed out, as we drove away from the preschool. Unfortunately, that’s true. Or mostly true. He likes to mention details about his experiences, but unless we already know and can make the connections, these are hard to piece together into a full picture. For example: Boat! Shoe! Shoe? Shoe! Daddy coming! etc.
:::
In happy self-promotional news, I’ve learned that my story “Rat” has been nominated by The New Quarterly magazine for the National Magazine Awards, and the Journey Prize. These affirmations do the heart good. They really do.

Sick Day Photos

The pink pajama-ed “little” ones. Relaxing post-breakfast, before school. Block building morning: three-stories tall. Food-spilling CJ. This was followed by much vacuuming. And then by more spilling. Eldest now back in bed feeling crummy. He took care to destroy his own creation before CJ could wreck it first.

Plots, Plans and Schemes

This has been a fine day. Gorgeous sunshine in which to run a morning errand. Finally feeling inspired to cook and bake again, after a long spell of ho-hum-ness. Kevin and the little kids spent almost two hours playing in the leaves out back. But our big boy is sick. He spent the day in bed, which would be evidence enough; but he also has a fever. As he’s staying hydrated and has no cough, I’m not worried. If it should spread, however … well, that would throw a wrench into the wheels of this busy approaching week. Kevin and I have plans to celebrate our tenth anniversary, a few months late, in Toronto on Wednesday–attending the Alice Munro/Diana Athill conversation at the International Festival of Authors!!!!! Can I wait? No, I cannot. We decided against spending the night, despite having elaborate babysitting in place, because I have a midterm and my own reading the following day. Too much. Throw in a little H1N1 and …
The best-laid plans, huh.
:::
This was a good day, however. Quiet, sleepy, filled with good food. I baked four loaves of whole wheat bread, a batch of oatmeal/chocolate chip cookies, and cooked up a huge pot of chicken stock, made with the frozen lizardy-gizzardy bits from chickens past. I don’t know whether the savoury garlicky broth will cure what ails anyone, but it can’t hurt. Plus, I made so much, I’ve got four containers frozen for later use (likely in the crockpot).
And with today’s kitchen frenzy, I feel a renewed resolve. Nina’s buying club will be going to a monthly schedule after this coming Friday, and our pantries and cupboards and freezers are full of fall and summer bounty, and of the raw materials for baking and cooking magnificent meals from scratch. So, here is my plan: to eat from our stores. If what we’ve stored runs out, hurrah, I’ll take it as a sign of the experiment’s success. And order some more (lentils? bread flour? potatoes? stewed tomatoes?) from Nina. I don’t mean I’ll bake up crackers (my homemade crackers are lousy), but yes, bread, yes, cookies, yes, granola. Yes, chicken stock.
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Okay, the child seen pictured above is clad in a yellow duck towel and stands behind me demanding I pick out her pajamas. Oh, I should say that her headgear belongs to her planned Hallowe’en costume. I’ll leave it to your imagination. You’ll just have to wait and see.
Over and out.

Rainy Days

Ah, fluctuation.

From model of efficiency to nasty head cold; though it may not be rational to assume that one caused the other. We’ve been getting very little sleep. First, CJ was teething, then he got the head cold. The cure for both is, apparently (ask him), all-night non-stop nursing. I kept the ball rolling on Saturday, ferrying children to birthday parties, vaccuuming our disgusting living quarters, mopping the kitchen floor (Apple-Apple helped), squeezing in a hair cut (skipped the blow dry, but not the head massage), putting up a bushel of tomatoes, then dashing off to a street party. Sometime that night, during the feeding frenzy, I thought to myself, ugh, sore throat. Yup, by morning, I wasn’t feeling fabulous. Yesterday the gears shifted to low, sputtering. But colds are colds, liveable, doable, managable. There’s no urgent need to put myself to be bed. I’m going to spend a sleepy rainy day with my boys–Albus is also here with us, due to a hacking germ-spreading cough–and I’m thankful I don’t feel worse.
Had a list of smallish bloggish blurbish items I’ve been meaning to cover, but can’t recall them now (of course). Especially because I’m listening to Q on CBC at the same time as I’m typing this, at the same time as CJ is pulling on me yelling, “Hand! Hand!” which means, gimme your hand, mama, I’ve got plans for us. Other vocab he’s come out with in the last day or two: “Wagon,” “bunny,” “rain,” “backpack,” “hot dog,” “wind,” “sit.” And more. We interrupt this post for an extended interlude of puzzle-doing. And the sipping of my home-stewed honey-garlic-ginger-lemon cure-all brew.
Above, a few pics from the kids’ first skate of the season. Kevin has organized an informal neighbourhood skating/hockey time similar to our soccer-in-the-park model. CJ and I skipped out as neither of us have skates. Maybe next time? I want to see this in person.
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Oh, just remembered: local food and preparing for winter, that was another item on my list. It feels like we haven’t concentrated on putting food away with the same zeal as last year, and yet I’m pleased with what’s hanging out in our cold cellar, on our shelves, and in our freezers, waiting to cheer us this winter. Last year, we had success storing garlic and potatoes in our cold cellar. We store the potatoes in smallish amounts in paper bags, thoroughly dry, and carefully checked over for any signs of rot. The garlic we store loose on wire shelves. Last year’s onions were a spectacular fail; so never mind this year. I feel like I’m really just experimenting, just dabbling in maintaining a minimum of survival skills as I go about collecting food for winter.
Other bits and bobs we’ve put away recently: roasted red peppers yesterday. Two bushels of tomatoes, frozen or canned, over the past two weekends; likely not enough, but also likely all I’m going to get to. Shredded zucchini for baking.
Thankfully we have a global food system into which to tap. Should it grind to a shuddering halt, good luck to us.

Scraping Time

This little fellow is sick. No wonder he was so grumpy around suppertime last night (though he was THIS happy earlier in the day, when he insisted I clip this into his hair). We spent large portions of last night nursing, and just holding him in bed. It’s a reminder of those early infant days, when night-time does not equal sleep-time. He’s napping right now and I’m watching the monitor for rustlings. There he is.
Albus is playing with a transformer, pretending to blow things up. The girls are reading quietly (Apple-Apple is trying out Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, one of my all-time favourites).
I want to thank everyone who expressed support and interest in the Nicaragua writing project. I’ve had encouraging comments, public and private, from a variety of friends, family, and even my former editor.
Uh oh, there he is again (baby, that is). Better run.
Back again. Thinking about time management … that could be my biggest stumbling-block in writing anything (she says, typing one-handed, feverish babe on hip).

Has Anyone Ever Seen the Tooth Fairy, Mom?

Chores. Daily. Update. Albus and Fooey set the table together … but that was as far as it got tonight. Albus straightaway started throwing-up after dinner, Apple-Apple was too engrossed in her book (an odd little story called A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote that involved a seven-year-old boy drinking whiskey with a senile distant cousin … from the school library, and I only skimmed it afterwards with curiosity when I noticed who the author was, and then wondered hmm, what did she get out of this?). Anyway, what with the sickness and the husband trying to get out the door for his hockey pool, I did the rest of the chores in our lovely new red chore box. With the exception of the laundry which I’m leaving for Kevin, assuming he notices the basket when he comes home later. Just realized it must have been exactly five weeks ago that he smashed his kneecap.
I’m feeling a little queasy. Who will be the next family member throwing up? These things never seem to stop at one. Well, we’re already at two, now. Only four more to go!
This post does not fit in with my new daily theme mandate. I’ll have to add a category called Should-Be-In-Bed-Ramblings.
But I wanted to post those photos. Apple-Apple lost her first tooth today–at school, no less. It awaits beneath her pillow in a yellow box from the school office, with an accompanying letter describing how it fell out: “This is the first tooth I lost, I hope you like it!” She’s been restlessly rolling around, waiting for the fairy’s arrival.
CJ climbed onto the stool in front of the bathroom sink tonight and insisted on brushing his own tooth. He even knew to swish the brush under the water to rinse it off, except he couldn’t quite reach. It’s a good thing they make one-year-olds insanely cute because right after this photo was taken he dashed off to the living-room and unloaded the clean laundry basket in less time than it takes to tell the story.
Fooey kept trying to get into CJ’s photo, so I took one of her: “Put CJ in it too,” she instructed, but he was moving too fast. I’m pretty sure that’s a clean sock he’s holding as he rushes off.
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