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This Is Getting Ridiculous

I was speaking over the weekend with a
relative I haven’t seen for several weeks, and she said,
“The last time we talked Cora had just started sleeping a bit
more reliably at night. That has to feel good, right? Now that
you’re getting more sleep?”

I stared at her blearily and tried to remember when we’d last
spoken. This taxing mental calculation was made even more difficult
by the fact that Cora had been up fussing every TWENTY OR THIRTY
MINUTES the night before, and though I hadn’t gone in for
several hours, listening to that on the monitor is no lullaby. But
I finally managed to come up with a time in the past when Cora had
actually been sleeping nine hours in a row for a week or two, and I
figured out how long ago it had been by adding up all our recent

Cora was sleeping, yadda yadda yadda.
Then, Cora got hit with a cold. I was able to date this as it
finished right before Cora’s 15-month visit, the day after
which Maddie came down with roseola for a week. Right after this
– as in, two days afterwards – Cora and Maddie both
blossomed with poison ivy. A week into that, Cora began breaking a
new tooth. The poison ivy started to fade after a couple WEEKS, the
tooth cracked through the surface, and that brought us to my visit
with our relative, which was capped nicely with a good
night’s sleep.

Unfortunately, the day after the tooth broke, Cora’s nose
began glistening.

Yes, we seem to have a cold. Brian and I are in the midst of it,
and Cora and Maddie are both crabby and sound stuffy even though
they don’t have runny noses. So we know it’s just a
matter of time. But believe it or not, that’s not the topper
to my month.

Last night I came home from teaching to be told that Maddie and
Cora had discovered a familiar Texas outdoor pet – fire ants.

I know - I couldn't make this up if I tried.

Maddie got a few bites on her ankles and screamed like, well, a
little girl. My mother looked at Cora standing right next to
Maddie, saw Cora was not screaming, and assumed she was not bitten.
After clearing the ants off Maddie, Mom looked again at Cora and
realized she actually had a couple dozen ants on her hands and
feet. My poor baby stood there in stoic silence – though the
face was a picture of misery - while they ate her to pieces, and
didn’t scream once. I’m telling you, that kid is hard

So today’s been awful; two cranky, unhappy girls coming down
with colds, a Mommy with a sore throat and stuffy head and
absolutely NO patience, and a baby girl covered in pus-filled
bites; picture a zit but one hundred times itchier and you’ll
get an idea. Poor Cora begged me this morning for band-aids on her
ankles and knees, hoping that would help alleviate the itching. She
tries her hardest, but her hands keep creeping towards the bites,
especially all over the back of her hands. And I can’t
imagine what they’d be like once they broke open and got
infected (and talk about paranoid in today’s world of deadly
staph infections), so I keep distracting her away from the bites.

I truly don’t know what my baby’s done to deserve these
past few awful weeks. I look at her legs and have trouble
discerning which spots are poison ivy still and which spots are the
ant bites, though the poison ivy ones are more scabbed over. My
little stoic simply takes it and goes on, but it just doesn’t
seem fair.

And listen, I understand that there’s discomfort and
there’s suffering, and I’m thankful we’re in the
former category here. Everyone’s in good health in the grand
scheme of things, and unlike last year at this time,
everyone’s employed, so I count my blessings. Sure, I wish I
weren’t sick AGAIN: if I had a choice, I’d totally
choose for me to be well and my kids to be sick rather than
vice-versa, because taking care of any baby while sick is way more
difficult than taking care of a sick baby while healthy. I know it
sounds selfish, but it’s the truth. And sure, we’ve
been sick a lot more since moving to Texas, but we’re out and
about more with kids their own ages here, whereas in New York we
moved in a very small toddler circle and kept a tighter rein on
childhood illnesses. But all in all, I understand that things
aren’t so bad, and that in some way in some time in the
future, I will get a good night’s sleep. I may not believe
that right now, but I know it’s true.

But I can’t help looking at my little warrior in a
baby’s body, taking whatever’s thrown at her with only
a modicum of complaint, and thinking-

Misery, thee thinks thy name is Cora. And I’m getting sick of
it. So don’t get too comfortable, because your days of
picking on my kid are about over. Get your ass out of my house.


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