Okay, so February SUCKED. The first two weeks were peppered with spontaneous vomiting- the kind where you leave two happy playing kids alone in the foyer for twenty second and return to find Little holding a vomit filled shoe and a confused look.
Big says with certainty " She throwed up in her shoe".
"I can see that", I say, "and on the rug too".
The clothes come off, streaking wayward vomit across her torso and into her hair.The shoes get rinsed but always have a lingering odor and can't ever be worn without socks again. She is fine.She isn't sick.I take her temperature forty times until the screeching sound she makes when I come close to her with a thermometer in hand drives me to the computer. I find GERD,reflux, ulcers, brain tumors and lots and lots of people whose kids throw up A LOT. Oh, Jesus, really?
A few days later, Big announces that Little "throwed up on her night gown".I go upstairs to find a teaspoon size amount dribbled down the front. I change her nightie and take her temperature again. Normal.
This happens three more times in the following week.I call the doctor.He tells me to lay off the primary suspect,rice and beans, for ten days. We eat it almost every day,so now the added challenge of what else to eat looms like thick grey clouds on the horizon.
The next morning,Big gets pinkeye.I get her the drops,for 72.00, and she goes back to school two days later.That afternoon she gets the stomach flu.She throws up four times that night-in a bucket, in her bed and expertly in a toilet. The bed happened because she was asleep when it started. I change the sheets and spend a sleepless night listening to her coughing on the monitor,rushing in to make sure she isn't going the way of Jimi Hendrix. There was no fever so she stays home the next day watching movies while I sleep on the couch.I haven't written or exercised in days and am awfully cranky.
I begin packing for a long weekend trip up north and wonder when Little will catch Big's flu. By Friday, everyone seems fine and we leave for the trip-a glorious four day romantic family Valentine's Day weekend in Santa Barbara, a misnomer if ever there was one.
We have an excellent time, though Little seems a bit off. She isn't eating much and is a little crankier than normal. I am right there with her. I finally get a chance to take a solo walk,but I end up in the grocery store buying wipes and snacks for the hotel room. Saturday night comes and so does our sitter.We leave the kids with a smart twenty year old student who arrives with a stack of colored paper and pens.Big falls in love and we depart, ready for our big romantic night out.I get a text thirty minutes later that Little has vomited all over herself. The sitter said it was sudden and furious and that Little didn't seem sick.She told us not to come back since both kids were going to bed. We might as well have gone back, since that is all we talked about over our overpriced, over salted, entirely mediocre meal served to us by a bona fide surfer dude.We returned to a vomit scented room at eleven thirty, and I gave the sitter a forty dollar guilt tip for cleaning up better than I would have.Grrrrrrrrrrrr............
I make an appointment for Little to see a GI doctor for the following week.
We come home on Monday night to a broken refrigerator filled with spoiled food. I spend the rest of the evening throwing away smelly, dripping, rotting food and finally get to bed at eleven. Double grrrrrrr..
Tuesday morning,Little wakes up,pale and clingy and vomits on the couch.Hacking cough,slight fever.No school for Little until Wednesday. No exercise for Mommy, again...ggrrr...
On Wednesday, the teacher mentions that Big is scratching. She has checked for the dreaded lice, but found nothing. I take them swimming and,once home, take to Big's hair with a magnifying glass and a flashlight. After finding what appear to be nits in her hair,I rush her the the Hair Fairies,whose sole job is to deal with this sort of thing, to be told that she is "off the charts" and at least a month into a full blown infestation. Aside from feeling like a totally shabby parent, I am forseeing all of the laundry I have to look forward to in the next month, since everything needs to be chaged and vacuumed and sprayed and swept to eleminate stray lice.No school for Big or Little on Thursday.No exercise for Mommy.I spend the morning combing my long thick hair to find four bugs and a few nits. Lovely.Little has one bug and three nits. I take Big and her thick curly impossible hair back to the Hair Fairies and 200 dollars and an hour and half later we are nit free until Monday.We get a note allowing Big to return to school. Little stays home again on Friday, low grade fever and nasty cough.ggrrrm*therf$ckin$rrrrrrrr...........
I wake up on Saturday with pinkeye and Little is still too sick to go to ballet. We lie around watching Nick Jr. and eating challah bread while Big and Dad go to ballet. Sunday everyone is miraculously well enough to go out, and we have a nice family afternoon visit with an old friend. Monday comes.The anticipation is killing me. Everyone seems healthy,enough, and I am salivating at the thought of my time back.I have not been alone in what seems like a year and am dying to exercise and write.Little wakes up and has a fever,again.She stays home from school AGAIN. I decide to go to the doctor. She has something brewing, and he gives her antibiotics. Back to the Hair Fairies that afternoon. Big has 6 nits,down from over 100.They both return to school on Tuesday and I am FINALLY alone. I take the rest of the week to recover from what has just occurred-the runaway need wagon out of some bizarre western movie that has been riding roughshod over my life has finally ridden off into the sunset,but my freedom feels foreign. In my will to survive these last few weeks, in my eventual submission to the reality of being a Mommy when the chips are down, something has been lost. I have a hard time diving back in with my former gusto. I don't call friends and set up playdates. I vant to be alone.....
I take Little to the GI doc on Tuesday and she is given a 162.00 reflux prescription to try for a month. She hasn't vomited since Valentine's Day,and a small part of me is wondering if it was a statment about the holiday itself rather than a digestive issue.That afternoon,I have an impromptu ice cream playdate with a dear friend whose February was worse than mine.We sit numbly as our children rearrange the store.I have nothing to say to my hilariously funny, inspiring friend except that February is a mean mean month.
Thursday we go back for another 95 dollar visit to my new favorite hangout, the lice salon, and are declared nit free.We have one more appointment in one week and will be officially back from the tea tree zone. The weekend comes and so does the school carnival. Big asks me to make butterfly wings for her Purim costume, and I do,out of old tights and a coat hanger, then flies at me in a rage because they aren't exactly like the picture she drew for me. As she screams and stomps on my effort, I am reminded of the scene from "Enemies a Love Story" where Yadwiga,the Polish servant girl, who has hidden Ron Silver from the Nazis in her barn for two years, is informed by him that he is running off with Lena Olin. She breaks down and screams " I clean your sheeeet!I clean your sheeet!". I feel exactly like her in the moment where my now perfectly healthy daughter is punching my arm and yelling about imperfect butterfly wings. I think of the many loads of laundry I did in the last few weeks,the nightgown changes,the dryer running 24/7. I think of all the days home from school in the last month, where I returned to the grind of fourteen hour days with two kids and no sleep. I think of all the doctor visits,pharmacy visits,lice salon visits and realize that February kicked my ass. I spent an entire month in a constant state of quasi-bitchiness, and I am tired. I don't resent it like Yadwiga, because there were no Nazi's, but I feel a little bit better about being so bitchy about it all.