Thursday, January 28, 2010


The baby is sleeping on the counter in the bathroom. I put him there to steam some of the snot from his system, and thought, for the very first time, that Houston does have some bonuses. Never had to create my own rainforest there.

Another bonus: my skin-sensitive child never had welts across the backs of her knees from rubbing dry skin against dry skin.

Last night, as I sat, slumped and teary-eyed, on the floor of my daughters‘ bedroom, listening to them hack and scratch and blow their sick little noses, I felt completely out of control. I can’t heal the skin of the middle girl, although I’ve tried vitamin E and olive oils and Cortizone and Cetaphil and Neosporin and and and... I can’t make the virus go away, I can’t even protect the littlest one, whose whole body shakes and his eyes water and he reaches out for me every time he coughs. I couldn’t be patient enough with the oldest one when she begged me to just tell her the answer to her math homework because she panics and convinces herself that she’s never going to understand it and she’s sick and doesn’t want to move but also can’t stand the thought of missing one more day of school because that’s 12 pages of make-up work to do for each day missed. And the littlest girl just wants to cuddle but I’ve got to make the dinner and suction the baby’s nose and fill the humidifiers and I’ve got to do it all on 2 1/2 hours of sleep and gee, I’m not particularly nice at times like that but I am amazingly good at feeling sorry for myself.

But the morning happens, no matter how bad the night. And this morning, the oldest girl bounces down and hugs me, and the 2 middle girls curl up with each other on the couch and I realize that I’ve got 10 minutes and so I curl up with them and we read a story together and everything is kisses and loves and sunshine. And the doctor will give my baby medicine and he’ll get better and never be sick in elementary because he will have gone through every virus before reaching the age of 2. So even though today, also, is a 2 hours of sleep day, I feel hopeful. I think we’ll try Dreft again to see if that helps the walking-puss-ball and maybe we’ll have toast and hot cocoa for dinner tonight because we deserve it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Raising Janice Joplin

The oldest child, Janice Joplin wanna-be, refuses to go to reading anymore. At this point in my life, I’m thinking about supporting her in this decision. It isn’t as though she’s going to fall behind in reading. It isn’t as though she’s learned a single thing in reading for the past 2 years. And if 5th grade isn’t a good time to learn about how tough life can be when you don’t play The Game, then exactly when should I let her learn?

The other part of me says I should have Talk Number 7 with the child. That’s the talk about working with difficult people, being respectful even with people who aren’t, recognizing authority for what it is: Authority. But I don’t feel like having The Talk. I feel like being my true anarchist self. I feel like saying, “Right on, sister! Stand up against The Man.” I feel like telling her that if she can’t get the administration to hear her words, then the next logical step is civil disobedience.

Watching the news report of the protests in California when university fees were raised, a thought kept going through my mind. (Just one thought--I can no longer think on multiple levels.) I thought: Did we learn nothing from Berkley, folks? Drop and Cover, you idiots! That’s the talk those parents should have had with their kids before they sent them to college: when involved in a protest, as soon as you see the officer whip out his billy club, drop to your “not gonna hurt you, man” criss-cross-applesauce position and COVER YOUR HEAD!! But am I ready to have that particular talk with the oldest child of my loins? Am I ready to pull out a picture diorama of Berkley in the ’60’s?

So, I guess I have to have some sort of deep discussion with the child. Question is, will it be the Suck it Up And Get To Work talk, or the Cover Your Head When They Come At You With A Stick talk?