Three days of sick children. The same three days before this issue went to press…
Wednesday morning is press deadline, and it dawns gray but glorious: For it has been 36 hours since anything erupted out of either child. 36! That is one and a half times more than the recommended 24-hour window of recovery. I am home-free. I will make deadline after all.
I am feeling like Super Mom. Inwardly, I was thinking about deadlines and ad copy for the last three days, but outwardly, I was the picture of superness: benevolent, giving, compassionate. Puke bucket in one hand, red pen and pages in the other.
And those extra 12 hours of comfort thrown in, no-charge.
But as I prep the children for school, I see that other things have gone awry in these three days besides my editorial excellence.
I dress the children out of the dirty laundry pile, but Super Mom feels resourceful doing so. And Super Mom let them play on the slip-n-slide late yesterday afternoon and realizes now it was a premonition to do so, because they can skip the super shower.
And when I hear the low-gas ding, Super Mom knows she has enough to get to school and back, and loads of time on her day alone, to fuel up later.
9:15 a.m.: Super Mom is prancing around the house, breaking out the peanut butter bars and weighing down the couch. I have work, work, work to do. But have I been alone for a single, solitary, sanitary minute in the last three days? No. And my new book Lit awaits me. As does Reba. What will 15 minutes of guilty pleasures cost me?
Everything, as it turns out. For I have forgotten about the Kindergarten Welcome Lunch today. I have to be back to school in a few hours. Scrambling begins. Sloppy editing ensues, bad writing unfurls.
11:30 a.m.: At school. Nelson exits his preschool room galloping down the hallway at me. I look at his teacher, Good God woman, this child is sick! I grill the teacher: Is he pukey? Is he tired? Is he ? Of course he’s been fine all morning.
But it’s the sight of Super Mom that sends him into a downward spiral during the Welcome Lunch. Nelson has his head down on the table, refusing to eat, as I scan the room for fashion tips from 5th graders. For 30 minutes, he speaks to me in the withering whisper of the convincer and holds his tummy for emphasis.
Half of me is thinking, He’s not sick, he’s playing you! (This half is being reinforced by one twin sister saying it over and over in my ear.)
The other half is thinking, What’s the worst things that can happen to little Nelso? And the resounding answer is a public bathroom.
One fleeting memory of a JCPenney’s restroom gone bad many years ago, and it’s all over: I shall work (again) with a sick child underfoot.
12:30 p.m.: I’m feeling Super Momish again because we got home in the nick of time. Things happen. Ugly things. Super Mom thinks, I knew it.
1 p.m.: I try to regroup and settle onto the bed next to Nelson. It will be SpongeBob for him and laptop for me. But first, cuddling. Then crackers. Then a Donald Duck DVD. Then. The. Phone. Rings.
2 p.m.: Boy No. 2 is down for the count. Super Mom says, Yes I will be there as fast as a minivan can go. GTWoman Mom thinks, with a raging editor at the wheel.
2:30 p.m.: I make an appearance in the school office to scoop up Kendall and then in his classroom to pick up his work. I realize when I get home that I made these “appearances” with a tie-dye bandana over my bedhead and some syrup dried on my shirt. I appear like Aunt Jemima might have on a bender.
3 p.m.: Two children in my bed, 1 dead laptop battery, 1 Garfield movie and 1 Super Mom who has given up.
If you find any typos or small children for sale in this issue, I present this column as Exhibit A.