This morning I had a fit of uncontrollable laughter like I usually get when I've stayed up late, sleep-deprived and watched the dumb commercials on TV (I'm an easy target, especially for beer commercials.) And...at last...I knew we'd beaten this dang flu bug our family has been passing around all week.
My kids were cracking me up, and because I was being so noisy I decided to call down the hall to see if Matthew was awake.
"mattheew...."I called in a little whisper (I didn't want to wake him up if he wasn't awake, you know). "I'll try again a little louder," I said aside to the kids. "Matthew!"
"I'm sleeping," he called back, and I just thought that was hilarious, so while I was giggling into my baby's hair he added, "Take it easy on the cough medicine, Woman!"
I hadn't had any, of course. I was simply reveling in the fact that this nasty flu bug was defeated after a whole long week of waging battle with Ibuprofren and tissues and sponge baths and Gatorade, water, multiple bathroom visits...and the thing that always works for me-a general bad temper and anger with the universe.
Of course, I couldn't rail with my usual ferocity; I never got above 101. My policy is the higher my temperature, the more I can complain and stomp, huff and puff, so every time I glanced at the thermometer and it said a weak 101, an involuntary, "Dang!" escaped my lips.
Now 102....well, that would have been something to work with. "Leave me alone," I could have said when everyone rebeled at my orneriness. "Look at this thermometer, people; it don't lie. Read it and weep!"
But back to this morning (oh, is it too late? Too bad!).
The kids and I started exchanging knock-knock jokes, and there's nothing that Matthew hates more, because the kids don't understand a punchline, but they still expect a laugh, and they don't care if it's fake as all get out. It gets exhausting for a parent.
For instance, Ana's went like this: "Knock-knock!"
"Jingle Lock who?"
"Jingle Lock...don't forget to take off your sock!"
It's not funny, but you laugh because you want them to have good self-esteem.
Ella's went like this:
"Papa!" (Oh, this was bound to be good)
"Matthew, did you hear that?" I called down the hall, laughing it up.
"I'm sleeping!" he shouted back, and I laughed some more.
Mine? Well, mine are hilarious, and I giggled my head off, because I'm the best audience I could ever have.
"Get it?" I said to the kids. "It's like nobody-only with snow! Or it could be Snow Buddy-haha!"
Unfortunately, after our joke-telling spree was done, the kids started begging for TV or video games. It wasn't yet 8am, but after five crummy days of electronic media-overload with maybe a half-hour break here or a potty vist there, they'd become spoiled and no doubt were getting used to their brains feeling comfortably mushy.
"We ain't doing it!" I said flatly. Then I put on my Michael Buble Christmas CD to reinforce that we all have choices to make for our own entertainment diversity.
Then I made myself some tea and went to test the fudge.
A cruel side effect of this flu has been that the fudge had lost its luster. And here I had been thinking it might even have a mystical medicinal quality, because for almost the whole week, surrounded by my ill babies, I had no symptoms to speak of. Wading through the germ-hole that was our home where tissues peppered the living room floor like some evil flu-feeding albino fungus, I was clear-headed and "normal". Privately, I told myself, It's the fudge-it's gotta be! So I kept eating; it was my duty to save everyone from the bear I become while ill.
But then Thursday night I felt chilled. It was the cold breath of flu laughing in my face. But look....it's Sunday, and I'm nearly victorious, except for the constant need to blow my nose. That fudge helped me fight it for sure! Still...I'm achy, and my energy has fallen since this morning...
"I'm just going to tell myself I'm well," I said to Matthew.
"Good! I don't want to hear any belly-aching," he replied.
"No belly-aching!" I cried. "Who said that? That's how you know I'm alive!"
My belly-aching hasn't been so bad, though. My kiddos were worse off than me, and my baby son has caused me a good deal of concern with his scary temps, hoarse little cry (so cute and heart-breaking at the same time), and his sensitive pink nose that so dreaded another swipe of the tissue. I was on 24-7 Danny Sam watch. Meanwhile, "The General" (that's my wonderful husband) monitored our older three at all hours of the night-dosing medicine, offering cups of water and giving lukewarm showers when needed.
I got them all day, because Matthew preferred to go into work sick than be home with four sick kids. Crazy! But it wasn't so bad, except Ella's constant whining for, "Tissoo!" which sounded too much like "Bless you!"
I always thought someone else had sneezed, so I'd considerately add my own, "Yes, bless you!" That's when she would practically scream, "TISSOO!" and we'd all tell her, "They're right there! On the table. Go get them! You're a big girl." And then would begin a few rounds of Ella shouting, "I can't!" with snooters dribbling down her face and a box of tissues two feet away while Berto and I yelled back, "You can! Go get them!" until angelic Ana grabbed a tissue and silently but gently handed it to Ella.
Berto summed up Ella's sick persona well when talking to his dad on the phone after lunch one day.
"Ella?" he said. "She's still behaving like the Queen of England!"
Thank goodness, most of that's behind us now, and nothing to look forward to but Christmas...and all the stuff we should have done last week to prepare for it.
But who cares? I had my fudge this morning. After force-feeding it to myself for two days to no good result, today it was good, baby. Everything is right in the world!
I'll tell you a little secret, though-it was meant for my brothers-in-law, but I honestly didn't think they'd want a tub full of fudge with a disclaimer tag that read: We wish you a Merry Christmas....and a flu-full New Year!
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