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Irritating Inmates

Maddie did not, indeed, wake up bright and
cheery, but arose droopy and rheumy and dragged herself into my
room to cough all over my bed. “Mommy, I’m sick, and
should definitely stay home today.”

This would seem like and astonishingly mature act of heroic
self-sacrifice, given how much Maddie loves school, except that my
kids absolutely adore being sick. To them it means two things
– television and junk food. When they’re sick –
and I mean really sick – they’re allowed to watch up to
three (THREE!) hours of television in one day (IN ONE DAY!). They
also get these graham cracker-y treats made by Keebler called Bug
Bites, which are amazingly tasty when you don’t feel good.
And to top it all off they get to drink juice (JUICE!) throughout
the day. Sure, it’s organic apple juice cut generously with
water, but it’s a heck of a lot more juice than they normally
get, which is none.

So Maddie was willing to settle into her
routine of being sick, especially since she’d witnessed
Cora’s turn at the television remote and Bug Bite feeding
trough last week.

We did drag Maddie to the doctor (lollipops! Stickers!) to confirm
that she does not have strep or RSV, just an annoying regular cold.
So in a day or two we should be back out in the world. For now,
I’ve got a coughing, snuffling four-year-old and a
two-year-old with The RSV That Won’t Die, so she’s
still hacking up a storm as well. Which means I’ve a houseful
of crabby, half-stir-crazy and half-droopy kids eating nothing but
graham crackers and apple juice, consuming copious amounts of
Thomas and Angelina Ballerina.

Yesterday I set up the entire downstairs as a carnival, and
I’m telling you I went to town. I unfolded an old play pen to
be the ice skating rink, set up the ball pit, got out the mini
trampoline as the “bounce house”, dragged the riding
pony out of the garage, even set up a Game of Skill with a ball you
had to roll to knock down three cups. Then I ran to the store and
bought four helium balloons to complete the picture. I was the
epitome of the Caring, Creative, Involved and Entertaining Mom. And
that was exciting – for about ten minutes.

Today I dragged out our Twister mat and played round after round of
my “special rules” Twister, which involves much jumping
and running and finding balls or stuffed animals of certain colors
and bringing them back before time is up. And that went well
– for a bit.

They ended the day back at Thomas’ side, learning all about
how It’s Fun to Be An Engine, their last allotment of Bug
Bites in a Tupperware cup next to them on the couch (EATING ON THE

I don’t think I ever had it this cushy when I was sick.


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