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November 2009

In One/Out Other

Edward has an ear infection. As I recall he was just treated for an ear infection and I worried that: a) we might need to go see the ENT if he is trending toward gloppy ear; and b) as much as I like antibiotics I felt like he has received several rounds in the past couple of months and that is Not Good in the general scheme of things. Fortunately my pediatrician keeps better records than I do and was able to invalidate my conviction that Edward is swimmin' in 'illin (he's been treated three times in two years.) They also told me that his last ear infection was in July - hardly cause for alarm. The pediatrician went on to say that the need for tubes (or 'ear grommets' as Patrick likes to say after reading a most disgusting but informative booklet at the ENT) is significantly reduced after the age of two so... chill. I chilled.

It does seem like we have been sick both repeatedly and forever, though, doesn't it?

I had made an appointment for Caroline as well since she has the same cold that Edward does and I worried that maybe I am just not as adept at determining when she needs to be seen. The last time she was at the doctor was in July and the only reason I brought her was because I wanted to take her to that shoe size carpet thing at Target to see how big her feet were before I ordered sandals for her online and I figured I could get Edward checked for an ear infection and then swing by Target with both of them afterward. The doctor checked Caroline since she was there and it turned out she had an infected ear as well. Who knew? So although she seemed fine except for a runny nose I brought her in today as well.

The pediatrician finished with Edward who was huddled against Steve's chest - tears streaming down his hot red cheeks - and looked at Caroline who was standing on a chair in her diaper doing something that looked very much like the mashed potato. She was bellowing "Seet Cah-uh-YINE! OH OH OH!" and then applauding herself, loudly, followed by jazz hands.

"Aaaaaand... what brings her in today?"   

I felt like a fool when I suggested she might need to have her ears and lungs checked for lurking Disease when she was so clearly a poster child for health (and musical theater.) 

She's fine and she has gained three pounds since last summer, pushing her almost into the twentieth percentile. I am embarrassed to admit that I still chart her growth because that seems like the sort of thing of thing a parent stops worrying about after babyhood in the absence of health issues but... there it is. I have an online med calculator saved in my browser and I have been surreptitiously plotting Caroline as if I will one day discover that she is actually not a pixie.

I think I feel guilty that she was born little, like I should have somehow managed to stop throwing up and guzzle a protein shake back when it would have done her the most good.   

Here. A never before seen photo of the back of Caroline's head as compared to Steve's hands at age two days when she was released from special care nursery for a few hours before they snatched her back again because we failed to keep her warm enough. Talk about a kid who needed a milk shake - she was 92% blanket and 7% hair.

Picture 060


Patrick started his new school today. It felt horribly rushed to me but his new teacher was anxious to get him started and felt that this would be a great week to begin since he would have extra time to work one-on-one with Patrick while the other kids finished their end of trimester projects. Patrick was APPALLED by our decision to move him but after a few tears and some well-argued but useless protests he managed to be mostly resigned by this morning. In the car he wondered pointedly what his real school would be doing this week (no comment) observed that it was so early the stars were still visible (not true) said he was very nervous (fair enough) and then settled down to discuss what book on tape we should get for the commute (excellent suggestion whoever you were - thank you.) When I got him this afternoon he was wearing his winter coat zipped all the way past his mouth with the hood up - he looked like Kenny. I suspected he was not going to fling himself at me and thank me for the best damned school day of his life and I was right. First he harangued me about the fact that he had gotten lost and was then late for recess and had not had anybody to play with once he got there and he didn't know where to go afterward and he lost his coat which he found again but he still hated it. He said he was much happier at his old school and that his deadline to decide between them was going to be Christmas break. I said oh dear, oh well, give it time, don't be afraid to ask for help, nothing, I expect you were and no we are going to give the new school more time than that and ultimately Daddy and I will decide what is best for you. After simmering for a while over his grievances he noted that the playground seemed fun. An hour later he said that one kid had just come back from Hawaii and had brought postcards for the whole class and he had given one to Patrick too. His name is Eric. Eric, I heard still later, is nice. In fact, everyone in the class seemed nice and they did math that was easy at first but it actually got kinda hard after a few pages. Patrick informed me of this last part with grudging admiration in much the same way a knight would speak of a vanquished yet worthy foe. They did grammar and although Patrick says he still does not know what grammar is he discovered he is good at correcting sentences, so that was ok. And they had double library and got to pick an animal to research and draw and he chose penguins and drew two of them on the side of a mountain chasing after eggs that were rolling down the side. One penguin is saying "Oh no! The eggs!" and the other penguin is saying, "The mountain was your idea." I told him I look forward to seeing it and he told me that he had a lot more work to do on penguins before he would share his work. Penguins, apparently, are not all comic drawings.

In short: I (and now you) know more about what Patrick did today than I have heard about his entire first three months at the old school. I consider this very encouraging even if I have ruined his life.       

Self Timed Portrait - Boy with Friend


(not pictured, mother wondering where the fuck her camera had gone and fearing that Caroline had finally succeeded in grabbing it)

PS Twin Cities gathering this Saturday - if you are interested in joining us and do not receive another email from me tonight let me know

PPS I am tied for the lead in the football pool this week - thank you Tennessee. I don't care who wins tonight as long as their combined points total more than 57. Then I clean up. I made the mistake of telling Patrick what the pool pays (er, would pay if this was not merely for entertainment purposes, I mean) and he just about fell over. What sort of parent lets her mercenary seven year old know that there is more to be made in three minutes of gambling than in two years of honest Lego picking up? For shame.

PPPS Patrick is on book three of Harry Potter and loving it. We started reading the series together and then he realized he could get through it faster on his own. I am so happy that he has finally gotten into fiction I can barely contain myself. I tend to be one of those people who presses books on you when you leave my house and now I have a captive to inflict my tastes upon year-round. I keep waking up in the night shouting, "Oh! And The Westing Game!"

Any suggestions for books on tape for us? 


Caroline has been coveting Patrick's cape. Yesterday I turned to Steve and said, "She looks like someone..." and Steve promptly replied, "ET."

And when I said, "Really?"

He said, "In a wig. With the blanket. Trust me."

Fair enough.

Caroline finds many things inconvenient (her lack of a cape, for starters) but nothing irks her so much as the fact that she is not nearly as tall as she thinks she is. To compensate she has started carrying things around with her that she then climbs upon. She started with board books and we said, "Oh how cute." She moved onto blocks and we said, "Isn't it adorable." Then she began dragging laundry baskets out of the closet to flip upside-down and we said, "WHO GOT MY CHECKBOOK OFF THE DESK AND THREW IT IN THE TRASH? HOW DID CAROLINE GET THE CRAYONS OUT OF THE DRAWER? WHO THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO LEAVE THE CEREAL ON THE COUNTER?"


If I could attach an audio file you would hear Caroline saying, "Oh CRICKET!" as if she is just as surprised and exasperated as the rest of us to discover that she had climbed up to the breakfast bar and was merrily setting off the timer with a pencil

after decorating Patrick's math homework with that blue marker. 

She's sort of a Handful. A few (many) posts ago I wrote about putting all of our dining room chairs on the porch in an effort to keep her off the table and someone bracingly told me to get a grip. Although I like comments in which you tell me how great I am; I also like comments that readjust my sense of what might be construed as normal. It seemed obvious to me that the best way to keep Caroline off the table was by removing the chairs and I was interested to see that some of you thought we could, you know, just tell her not to do it. I admit that I was hesitant to try it your way in the beginning but lately I have concluded that if Caroline can understand how the DVD remote works she can understand that she is not allowed to climb on the damned table. So I have returned the chairs to the dining room and I spend a lot (all) of my time tucking a boneless and angry child under my arm as I cheerfully trill "We do not climb on the table!" like Mary Poppins trying to train a lemur.

Apparently understanding that something is forbidden and caring are two different things - but I think we are making progress. Slowly.  

Caroline likes clocks. She likes to point to clocks and she likes to touch clocks and whenever Steve leaves his laptop open and unattended for more than five seconds she likes to hit the function key that brings the computer clock onto the screen. During one of her forbidden forays into my desk drawer she found an old watch of Patrick's with a dead battery.

[This watch exemplifies one of my personality defects, namely: the battery is dead so the watch will not work; but a new battery costs more than a new watch; but I cannot bring myself to buy a new watch because we have a perfectly good one in the drawer at home; only the battery is dead - I need an intervention. Or rather I would except that I get these rare moments in which the useless clutter I keep gets magnificently re-purposed; in this case by Caroline.]

Caroline does not care that the watch is broken. She just knows that she loves it more than anything. She magically intuited that watches are worn on the wrist (or upper arm in her case) and she parades around like Cleopatra wrapped in a snake. "Watch," she says. "Tie-um. No tie-um! Tie-um to go!" 

Patrick saw her with the watch and said, "Hey that's mine!"

And I said, "But it's broken."

And he said, "But it's mine."

"But it's broken."


We sort of hit an impasse and I told him he had to be nice to his baby sister. He said, fine, but if that watch starts working again he wants it back. I agreed.

Note the joy of obsessive ownership (Edward has a Matchbox car in each hand; Caroline is clutching her/Patrick's/the watch):



A few readers set me straight on the difference between expressive language and articulation. A child (like Edward, say) can be in the normal range for his expressive language but not be widely (or wildly) intelligible. He has a word for "book" and "boat" and "bath" (that's language) but he pronounces them all as "buh" (that's intelligibility.) So the fact that Edward is in the normal range for language did not automatically disqualify him for speech therapy through our health insurance. In fact, they shocked my lights out by immediately approving him for a year's worth of twice weekly therapy and he started today.

I am still startled by how quickly it all happened. I doubted they were going to agree to coverage at all especially after my conversation with the county, which was friendly but dismissive. Apparently you have to be in the bottom two percent to qualify for county services and they only look at total language scores under the age of two. She offered to send someone out to test his articulation after his birthday but she doubted he would qualify even then based on my description of his crummy but not-quite-crummy-enough words. I guess the insurance company uses a much lower standard and I am grateful to them.

Edward's first session this morning was pleasant and he enjoyed the toys once he unwrapped himself from my neck but he refused to talk. At all. Soooo... this might take a while. Fortunately Steve works from home so he can keep Caroline most of the time and I am looking forward to the time when I can leave him with his therapist and go read Highlights in the lobby.


Oh that reminds me - thank you very much for all of your thoughts on Patrick's school situation. I really appreciated it. As always you guys had differing opinions but you were all helpful in your own way and I value your comments. For what it is worth Caroline and Edward do not have to drive to school with us, which is very nice. If we did move Patrick and were unable to find someone to carpool with us Steve and I would take turns driving while the other one stays with the twinkles. It's what we do now and it seems to work ok although I admit that I am much more sanguine about this than Steve.

I liked the school very much. Patrick was excited about the work they are doing but has expressed concern about making friends and learning a new routine. Steve didn't come with us last week so the second grade teacher agreed to let him come by tomorrow to see what he thinks of the class. In the meantime the director received Patrick's testing and school reports and has informally offered him a space pending committee approval. Provided Steve is as enthusiastic as I am, we are inclined to switch him with the start of their next trimester. Last week Patrick and I had one of those confessional bedtime conversations and he said that he felt like he was fading away in school - I'm not sure what the solution is but we have to do something with him. He's just not himself lately.   

Fleming Florey Moyer and Me

In 1943 my grandmother was living in Alabama with her parents while my grandfather was engaged in Top Secret War Work (in Michigan of all places; the following year they moved to Los Alamos - ahem.) That winter my father - who was two at the time - developed pneumonia and became sicker and sicker over the course of a week. Eventually the doctor told my grandmother that he feared the child was dying and that she needed to call his daddy if he was going to make it back before the end. It was thirty-five years later as she told me this story and obviously there was a happy ending but my grandmother would still lower her voice to a whisper when she got to that part.  

"However," the doctor added, "there's a new drug available. I've never tried it and I don't hold with these things in the general run but... well... at this point it certainly can't hurt."

"So I agreed to try the new drug," my grandmother would finish the story, "and do you know what that new drug was? It was..." (dramatic pause - she was a great one for the dramatic pauses) " PENICILLIN!"

And that was my cue to cheer, which I always did.


That was my earliest salute to antibiotics but this week was marked by a couple more:

1. Three days of azithromycin (yay! azithromycin! yay!) and a repeat check with the pediatrician and Edward's lung are now crackle-free. I think we caught his pneumonia early and I am very glad that we did. So heads up, my fellow sufferers, if you get the flu, get better and then get a cough and a fever several days after recovering get thee to a physician.

2. By Thursday night I was so desperate to clear my sinuses I actually resorted to the irrigation technique that so many of you were urging. I admit that I have a dread of snorting water up my nose that dates back to unfortunate childhood swimming pool incidents and I have steadfastly refused the whole idea of a saline nose flush on principle alone. However, needs must and after two weeks of not being able to taste or smell anything I was getting really depressed. Thus, I mixed salt and warm water and found a suitable squeeze bottle and commended my soul to the nose gods and... nothing happened. I was so congested that - apart from a very wet and salty shirt - I couldn't even tell that I had just snuffed 5 fluid ounces of saline into my head.

So I gave up on the garlic and the mentholatum and the hot compresses and the elevated pillows and the salt watery deluge and I went to the urgent care on Friday. The guy said, wow, do you have infected sinuses or what, and I said snuh, and he gave me a prescription for amoxicillin (yay! amoxicillin! yay!) and it took several days but I no longer feel like my head is muffled in a burlap sack and I am pretty sure that I was able to taste a little bit of tea essence this morning.    


The pediatrician's office called on day two of Edward's pneumonia to say that they had reached his name on their seasonal flu vaccine list; did we still want it? I said yes I suppose we do; so we waited until after he was done with antibiotics and then got Edward's lungs checked before both he and Caroline got vaccinated and as an extra-special bonus Edward's pneumonia and Caroline's previous RSV issues bought them an H1N1 vaccination as well. I worried that the double vaccine whammy would fell them but they were fine. The nurse said that they will need an H1N1 booster in a month so I should call for that appointment soon. Today I did but was told that they are unable to schedule it after all since they do not know if they will have any booster shots in December.

Ai yi yi.

I am not so worried about the lack of boosters for Caroline and Edward or any vaccine at all for Patrick (whose advanced age of seven did not qualify him for any flu vaccines yet) since I am 1000% positive we have already had a visit from the H1N1 fairy but now I feel guilty for bogarting the vaccines we just got. If I had realized they were running out again I might have said no. It's a tough year for parental decision making.


I didn't get a chance to mention this, what with the pneumonia and my mother coming to visit this weekend, but I took Edward for a speech evaluation last Monday. It was low-key and fun for him, especially since she started the evaluation by handing Edward two toy cars. Edward will pretty much tolerate anything provided he has a car in each hand. She sat there and asked him to identify different pictures and then they did a little role-playing and then she said that they like to be able to understand about 80% of what a child says by this age and when Edward spoke she was able to understand... nothing. Zippo. Na Da, as Patrick used to say before speech therapy when he wanted a strawberry.

And I said, "Yeah, well, there's that" because, really, in a clinical setting it was hard to ignore that Edward gabbles.

So the pathologist is putting her report together and will request services through our insurance company who theoretically covers these things but who might balk at the fact that he is less than two and ask that we repeat the evaluation in six months. Personally I would find that sort of.. well, silly... since I called them before the evaluation was done to ask if we are covered and to talk about this very issue (his age) and they told me to go ahead and have him checked so... we'll see. I cannot say I am looking forward to the logistics of getting Edward to twice weekly speech therapy but I *am* looking forward to his not running over to slap my face when he feels like he is not being understood by someone. Also, it might be nice to know what he is talking about without Caroline's somewhat dubious translations:

Edward, tears streaking down his face, runs toward me, jabbering incomprehensibly. Caroline - in the other room looking nonchalant and grasping one of Edward's cars - observes, "Eddybear's SO SLEEPY."


Without getting into it too much, Patrick is not having a great year at school. I had a meeting with the teachers a couple of weeks ago and failed to get much accomplished and - although I think it is a good school - we (meaning Steve and I; Patrick LOATHES change) are wondering if he, personally, would be more productive elsewhere. Last week I talked to the woman who runs the magnet school for kids who test as X and she is willing to make a space for him in their second grade classroom as soon as we would like it. If we would like it.

Pros: challenging work that Patrick would probably wallow in like a happy swine; small class packed with kids who probably share many of Patrick's interests; funded out the gazinga due to a grant they just received     

Cons: 30 minute drive (each. way) carpool possibilities questionable; does one just pull a kid out of his setting in the middle of the year; did I mention that Patrick is happy at his current school in a lazy kinda way and he LOATHES change?

I know I haven't given a lot of details but I would love your thoughts in general. What do you do when your child is having a not-so-good year at school and a better but less convenient option exists? Do I go back to our school and try to be more aggressive in getting his needs met? Do we go with the school that sounds - on paper at least; Patrick and I are going to visit on Wednesday - as if Faberge might have designed it just for him? If it were about my needs I would leave him where he is. I like it and I love our carpool. Of course if everything were about my needs I would be sitting in my bathtub right now eating fudge instead of sneaking in a blog post while I use the high speed internet offered by the library to try to upload files for Steve's work.  

PS I taught Patrick chess on Saturday and we have played a dozen games since then. In, like, five minutes he became one of those crazy chess obsessed people in the Park. Every time I turned around this weekend he had set up the board again and was waggling a white pawn at me. Do you recommend any computer chess games? I, uh, hate chess and I am terrible at it and... let's just say that Patrick needs a robot chess buddy before I start disappearing the pieces, you know?

PPS Edward's speech report just came in the mail and somehow he's in the 47th percentile for expressive communication. What the..? Damn it, there's no way my insurance company is going to pay for speech therapy for a kid who is deemed average. How can he be average? She says in the written section that he tends to use only vowels when communicating. Vowels! How is that average? 

PPPS Patrick hates to spend money and has thus amassed the small fortune of $211 in his piggy bank. Last weekend he decided that the $11 was untidy enough to bother him so when I took the kids on a run to Target he brought it with him. Possibly to spend. Maybe. He saw this inflatable bouncy thing marked down to $22 and pleaded with me to go halves with him, noting that he could use it to practice his trampoline and tumbling. Since we had to leave his last T&T class early due to extreme lip-splittage following an ungainly connection of knee (his) and face (also his) I was not unmoved by these entreaties. Frankly, any practice he can get would be a good thing. So we bought it and lugged it home and unpacked it and... I don't know what Patrick and I were envisioning but the box seriously mislead us as to the dimensions. We were picturing something that could hold an average sized boy and instead


Edward has a new favorite place to read.

I gave Patrick back his $11 since it didn't seem fair that he had unintentionally used his money to buy Edward a bouncy slice of paradise. 



Local Boy Chases Hooligans After Cycle Theft


Some of you pointed out that we might be done with the flu but the flu was probably not done with us and O! how right you were. You know that feeling when you lean forward and it feels like someone is trying to pop your eyeballs out of your head with their thumbs? I have that feeling right now and I could probably stand to have someone take a gander at my sinuses but Steve's out of town and Edward has developed a sad little cough and a streaming nose and the idea of lugging the children off to go sit in the lobby at the doctor's office has zero appeal.

I have just heard that warm honey mixed with cinnamon is an effective decongestant so I am about to try that, perhaps drizzled over some therapeutic ice cream. In the meantime feel free to send me via carrier pigeon something useful like amoxicillin or cloxacillin or pipericillin or whatever you have lying around.

Speaking of sending me things, I got an email several weeks ago from a woman who was struck by my mention of Patrick's need for a cape to send his Snidely Whiplash impersonation into the realm of the sublime. She said that she was a longtime reader and that she has a small business creating things that children need, like capes (and tutus and cute hats and car seat covers to keep them from freezing to death when you selfishly take them to the grocery store.) She said she would like to make a free cape for Patrick and I thought, "Oh no, no, no. How kind! But no, we just couldn't accept it" and I said, "Yes!"

Lately I have realized that just because I have always done things a certain way it does not mean that this is the best way or even a good way. For years I have maintained a rigid distance between the people I know online (with exceptions) and my actual corporeal life. Why? I don't know. Fear, I guess. Fear that I am going to be murdered by one of you (and I have my guesses as to which one - you know who you are) and that when I am murdered people will walk around my memorial service whispering, "It's terribly sad but she DID write that blog you know..." and then they'll trail off because it is not nice to say that someone was too stupid to live at their own memorial. But they'll think it. So there is that. Also - apart from that completely rational dread - there is the fact that I have never wanted to accept offers of ladybug onesies because I would feel like I was exploiting you. I get so much pleasure from writing this and getting comments and advice that it seems like overkill to accept an additional gift, you know? No presents but your presence, as Steve's birth mother is wont to say, and I mean this and I believe this and when I offered ad space on my blog for your various and sundry endeavors I in no way, shape or form intended for it to read as a tacit request for a little baksheesh. 

Where was I? Oh right, throwing all of my strongly held beliefs out the window in my greed for a cape and trying to justify it by saying it is part of my program to bring the disparate halves of my life together so that I feel less lonely.

In truth I just couldn't refuse one of her lovely capes.



This is from over a year ago. That is a pair of my tights he has draped around his neck. I confiscated them (and please let me know if you are in the market for a pair of gently used tights that have unfortunately been stretched to accommodate legs that measure 120 inches from hip to toe) and he moved onto a shirt of Steve's which he would wear ditto. Every time the shirt/cape emerged from the laundry Steve and Patrick would bicker over it like a pair of cats with a dead fish.

So Patrick needed a cape but it never occurred to me to actually buy him one. And then this really nice and talented woman started her siren song about size (average boy 7) and color (Liberace tacky) so I said what the hell, yes, thank you, yes. So she made it and sent it and Patrick went bananas and, really, can you blame him?

I mean isn't this exponentially cooler than those awful dangly tights?


In flight


In motion


Incapacitated by a villain, our theory is that he was hit over the head with that frog suitcase 


Influenza (note: cape, book on math theory, throw cat)


To say that Patrick loves this cape is an understatement. He wants to get one for Caroline and Edward so the three of them can be properly outfitted for the ongoing adventures of Super Patrick and the Wonderbabies (KAPOW! Menace Girl! and BLAMMO! WonderEdward!) and I think that's a good idea for next year. As we were looking at her site (here it is: - she has hats and car seat covers that are also oh for cute as we say in Minnesota) Patrick saw the tutus and decided that Caroline needs one of those as well. Then he decided Edward would want one, too, which is true but it prompted a somewhat agonized conversation about traditional gender concepts in this country and whether or not simply making a tutu blue could offset the girly connotations of tulle... I let Patrick argue this one by himself. I think Cricket and Eddybear in matching tutus would be divine but I can think of at least three people in my immediate family who might think otherwise.   

Anyway, I have a reader who makes really neat things and she sent me a free cape and it has been a huge hit in our house so I thought I would mention it and her and point out that the holidays are just around the corner so if you have a child on your list you might want to check out her site. It's really really hard to go wrong with a cape, people. Or a tutu.


Edward's cough went from sad to aggressive as the day progressed and when he failed to nap I realized he was starting a fever as well. I took him into the pediatrician and... he has pneumonia. Nothing terrible, just a crackle in his right lung but enough to warrant starting antibiotics and keeping a close eye on him. Poor little monkey.

This has been a tough few weeks.

PS This has nothing to do with anything but Caroline has one thing she cannot say correctly for the otherwise infallible life of her. She calls pumpkins "cupkins". It's adorable.

PPS I hear that a few of you are having trouble with the cape website. Feel free to send me your contact information via email and I will get it to her while she works on her site issue.

My Cash Drawer

I have watched enough Tom & Jerry to last me the rest of my natural life so it is not surprising that I am thinking in cartoon visuals. Right now I am picturing a dust cloud and from it emerges a white flag on a stick. Sure this indicates surrender but it also implies survival. Like when Francis Scott Key was so pleased to see the Stars and Stripes still waving over Baltimore's harbor and the British looked at the same flag and said, "Oh bother" and promptly sailed down to DC and torched the place.

Like that. I feel like that.

Patrick and I were talking about disease in general and viruses in particular. I told him that one of the major differences between a bacterial infection like the one he had during the summer and a virus such as the one that just leveled our family like a field of corn is that bacteria are alive and viruses are dead. For the record my entire knowledge of biology can be summarized by a plethora of these random, unrelated and not fully understood bullet-points: Viruses are dead and shaped like needles, maybe! The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell! Kingdom phyllum family order (or is it order family) class genus species! Hydrogen helium lithium beryllium boron carbon nitrogen oxygen fluorine neon!

It almost goes without saying that I did not do very well in biology. In fact, that final D was generous.

But Patrick doesn't know this so I am able to lecture him with a straight face on the relative suckitude of viral vs bacterial infections. You know, it is lovely to see the respect with which he treats my discourses (my biology teacher never managed to get much beyond pity) and even lovelier to hear him synthesize what I tell him into his own random cue cards:  "So, basically, viruses are like zombie germs?"

And I said, yes, yes that is exactly right.

So hello from the far side of Zombieville.

I have been trying to decide if I have any H1N1 wisdom to share for when you get it (and you will get it) but it's such a funky illness that it is hard to characterize.

Patrick returned to school today after being out all week and half of last week as well. It's second grade. Big deal if he misses - well, all of it really as far as I'm concerned. He wasn't deathly ill but he would spike a fever every afternoon and he was lethargic and coughing a lot. So he stayed home and it wasn't until yesterday when I discovered him placing large plastic bowls over Caroline's head which he then proceeded to bang with a ladle that I realized he really needed to return to the bosom of his little school chums. Edward started a delicate cough on Sunday night which was all I needed to break out the Tamiflu and I am so glad I did. By Monday morning he was a small disaster: high fever, rashy, horribly congested, screaming and screaming and screaming. He spent a day sitting on my lap with both his blankies, a pacifier which prior to this has been a bedtime only indulgence and one hand wrapped in my hair. Tuesday he was a thousand times better and now he is completely well except for an inability to sleep through the night which is killing me. Last night I rocked him to sleep, gently transferred him to his crib, slammed to the floor when he stirred in hopes that he would not see me, crept on my stomach toward the door and then... gently rocked him to sleep again when he sat up and started howling. Caroline also started Tamiflu on Sunday, largely because Edward did and there is virtually no way for Edward to have a virus that Caroline does not also host. They sit across from each and push their cups and forks back and forth and just the other day I watched Caroline walk over to where Edward was reading and she licked his face. Why? Why not, I guess. She never got a fever, by the way, just a stuffy nose.

Steve, of course, was fine although this did not prevent him from drinking copious amounts of herbal tea and lying down with his book every few minutes. An ounce of prevention I guess.

Enough about the flu. I am done with the flu.  

So want to hear one of my favorite stories? I wonder if I have told you this one before. Probably.

A person of my acquaintance who is a Big Deal at his place of employment once decided to treat, oh I don't know, let's say the accounting department, to lunch at the completion of a particularly arduous project. So he had someone order pizza and when it arrived he went to the young man who was in charge of petty cash and said, "Hey, give me a couple hundred dollars from petty cash so I can pay for some pizzas."

And the petty cash guy said, "No."


"No. You haven't filled out a request and it hasn't been signed by Even Bigger Deal so, no, I am not giving you money from the cash drawer."

The person of my acquaintance was annoyed, one might say irked, and heatedly asked the guy, "Look, do you know who I am?"

"I know who I am."

"And who are you?"

"I'm the guy who is in charge of the cash drawer so... I guess that makes you the guy who isn't getting any cash."

Every time I think about this I laugh and every time my mother and I are talking about someone who has their own particular field of interest we say, "Well, you know, everybody's got their cash drawer... ."

Speaking - loosely - of jobs I have an idea for another article I might want to try to sell but I need some help from you. Remember a couple of weeks ago when I asked if you liked your job? A couple of comments made me tingle a bit and I would like to revisit that question. Specifically, could you leave me a comment or email me if the thought of what you (or a friend - it's always nice to refer a friend) do for a living (or a partial living) makes you pink with pleasure or you can say the words 'dream job' without rolling your eyes? You don't have to be making a fortune or anything, I just want to talk to people who find joy in what they do.


Pre-influenza pictures:

We went to pick pumpkins. I said, "Patrick! Please keep Edward out of the parking lot."

His hand shot out and he proceeded to use Edward's hood like a leash. I admit it was effective.


Patrick took his pumpkin very seriously.


Sometimes Caroline and Edward seem more like twins to me than others


Hope you are well.


Patrick came home from school on Wednesday with a blinding headache and the need to fall asleep at five in the afternoon. By Thursday morning he was throwing up. A trip to the doctor on Thursday afternoon landed him with a flu diagnosis and me with prescriptions for Tamiflu for Caroline and Edward. We had the option to get Tamiflu for Patrick as well but I thought he would be ok without it and I would hate it if we took Tamiflu now and there winds up being a shortage of the stuff and at-risk people who really need it are unable to get it later. I don't know; it made sense to me at the time and although Patrick is sick he is not nearly as sick as he was last summer - I guess it takes more than a couple of symptoms to impress me now. By Thursday night he was feverish and starting to cough. Friday was my birthday and all I wanted to do was sleep. Saturday all I did do was sleep, feeling as I did like utter death. 

Patrick is getting better. Edward is starting to cough and I administered Tamiflu to him and Caroline tonight on the strength of it. Steve is rallying like a Kappa. I am going back to bed.

When I recover my capacity to stay upright, my ability to breathe freely and my sense of humor remind me to be amused all over again by those flu vaccine discussions, ok?