Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Catching up and catching colds

We celebrated my Dad’s 77th birthday this weekend with a family dinner and talent show. The award for best one-liner of the evening goes to my 8 year-old niece Ada. She stood up to take her turn at the piano, sweetly announced “I picked this song because it reminded me of grandpa,” and then proceeded to play “This Old Man.”

The highlight of my weekend was getting to meet Lara, of The Lazy Organizer, in person. Yes, she was every bit as funny and darling as she seems on her blog and she even gave me some of her famous organizing bags. I think I’ll add talented, generous and incredibly thoughtful to her growing list of adjectives. Her husband, who according to my train-loving children has the coolest job on the planet, was also charming. I brought along my Guard Baby because you never can be too careful when meeting up with people from the internet, especially weird ones who homeschool, don’t eat sugar, don’t watch television, are obsessed with organizing things, and read unabridged copies of Les Miserables for fun.

I really like Lara and wanted to make a good first impression. So I arranged to meet her and her husband at the mall. Because nothing says “welcome to my hometown; I’m so happy you came” like a stroll past obscenely expensive clothing, rows of tacky neckties, and the window porn at Victoria Secret. Ever the gracious hostess, I pulled up a wooden bench where we could talk for a while and I showed off my fabulous parenting skills by allowing Nora to chew on a potted plant. After that I took them to a noisy spot in the food court to sample the local ice water. I’m sure they’ll look me up again the next time they’re in town.

Ever since then, I’ve been dealing with sick kids. Ethan has some kind of mystery ailment that causes a high fever, sore muscles and a strong aversion to chores. Oh wait, that last one’s normal. On Saturday night, his fever was so high he became positively delirious and started wailing because he believed he had morphed into an atomic bomb and was about to be dropped onto the unsuspecting inhabitants of earth. He also insisted that Gabie had devised an evil plan for world domination and was using him as a weapon of mass destruction. Hmmm. We’ve got no sibling rivalry around here, nope.

Nora is the other sickie in our house. I’m beginning to doubt the whole “nursing boosts their immune system” propaganda because it seems like she’s had a cold most of her short little life (and I’m sure this has nothing to do with her belief that everything within a 5 mile radius needs to go into her mouth). This week she has another ear infection (or is it the same one, just lingering?) and her face is a snot-o-rama. Poor Nora. Poor me who has to get up with her several times a night. Have I written yet about how I feel when I’m utterly sleep-deprived? Oh yeah. Been there, posted that.

Considering the percentage of our lives we spend either suffering through our own illnesses or dealing with those of our children, there’s a shocking lack of art out there on the subject. For art to be an accurate reflection of the human condition, I figure at least 50% of the paintings in museums should include a figure with a red bulbous nose and puffy eyes. Seriously, I’d like to know: why do we see no mucus in art? No piles of used tissues? No barf bowls?

Oh sure, there’s the occasional sentimental scene like this one by Gabriel Metsu that claims to depict a sick child. But let me be the cynic who says “This child does not look that sick to me. She could TOTALLY still go to school.” Where is the layer of dried snot across her face? Why isn’t she crying and tugging at her ears? And most suspiciously, if she’s so sick, how is it that her mother looks all rested and put together? The woman is fully dressed – with jewelry – for heaven’s sake.

It’s clear that most artists tend to portray things as they should be, not as they are. Bloggers, on the other hand, tell a whole different story. We love to write about the less-than-ideal aspects of our lives. The real stuff. The vomit. Since I started blogging, I’ve read a fair share of posts about sick kids and written a few of my own. I can’t help it. Turns out mucus is a big part of parenting. If nothing else, by writing about it we’re able to commiserate with each other. We can all sympathize with watching our children feel miserable and trying to make them feel better. In the process, I've discovered that nobody has healthy children all the time.

Oh, and one other thing I’m sure of: I'm getting really good at spelling "phlegm."

19 comments:

An Ordinary Mom said...

I am glad your visit with The Lazy Organizer went so smoothly. I am sure she felt right at home. It is a good thing you brought your baby guard with you and she brought you some free organizing bags... good ice breakers! Maybe I will get so lucky one day!

For the longest time I wanted to get Cory's white blood cell level checked because I swear he was sick ALL THE TIME! Knock on wood, but now he is 2 his immune system seems to be working a little better. However, I am hoping all the toxic crayons he ate for brunch won't harm him. I am a fantastic mom. I happily blogged away not knowing my son was consuming a box of 24 crayons... literally. I had to brush his teeth forever and use toothpicks to try and get out the crayon from his molars. I am sure his next few diapers will be quite colorful art ... maybe you could use those on your next sick post :) !!

Kimberly said...

I'm first! I just had to get that in there right away. Hee hee...now to read your post so I actually have something to say other than "Neener neener neener!"

Kimberly said...

Ohhh! Lucy you are in such big trouble!! ~lol~

Kimberly said...

Your description of how you wined and dined Lara and her hubby gave me a fit of the giggles. Frankly, seeing a baby as cute as Nora eating a potted plant would be well worth the trip, in my opinion. You're fabulous, did you know that?

I am so going to start saving up for a trip down there. Blogger Bash 2008 anyone?

An Ordinary Mom said...

Kim, sorry to deflate your bubble ... neener, neener, neener.

Loved how you were going to comment before reading the post. How classic.

Julie, I hope you don't mind us turning your comments section into an open forum/family room conversation?!?

Jane said...

Ha HA Ha, You make me laugh! But rest assured, with a classroom full of those snot nosed, hackying cough, mamma's gotta go to work sick kids and a lingering sore throat for months...I am laughing WITH you!

I don't think there is any art depicting a student accidentally peeing on their teacher's leg...but how you handle it, now that is an art!

bubandpie said...

It's so true. I did a post on crying the other day and combed my photo archives looking for photos of crying children. I did finally locate one - but they were few and far between. When I was using a real (not digital) camera, some of my favourite shots were of my crying baby boy - there's something so real about that image. But the quick and easy access to the delete button on my digital has produced little more than a bland (and totally unrepresentative) gallery of smiling happy babies holding hands.

Em said...

Oh you're lucky to meet a fellow blogger.. I'm glad it was a success :)

Sick kids are NOT fun - especially when they are too sick to go to school, but not sick enough to lie in bed and sleep all day...

Mary-LUE said...

You are right about the kid in that painting. She's totally milking it and ought to be sent to school immediately!

And This Old Man? I'm chuckling in my computer chair tonight!

scribbit said...

She's sick? Maybe it was the plant she was chewing on :)

That happened to Lillian. On vacation in California, she sucks down the tidepool water at Sea World and three days of extreme sickness follow. We couldn't figure out how she got sick until we watched the home video and saw her licking it up. Andrew's standing with the video camera chuckling as she does it. Way to go Dad.

compulsive writer said...

Hope everyone gets well soon! Last time I was sick myself I went through 2 entire boxes of Puffs Plus (every bit worth the extra money) and I kept wondering, "Where is all this stuff coming from?"

Loved your comment about the painting. Faker!

Jenni said...

Snot happens.
That child in the painting does not look even remotely sick. She looks tired. Or maybe she's pretending to be sick so she can skip school because she didn't get her homework done and she wants to watch reruns of Bonanza and The Rifleman.

allysha said...

I think that the lady in the picture is the Nana, and that the tired mom is off in bed, sleeping. Hmmm. I think I should have my mom fly out for a few days so I can sleep, too...

Erika said...

Hi Julie, I wanted to give you the heads up that I posted an entry about my take on The Secret. It's almost the opposite take of what you said in your comment to me, so I didn't want you to think that I was springboarding off your comment as an attack or anything. You probably wouldn't think anything at all, but I just wanted to get this out there. I look forward to your comments on my ideas of the book. :)

meno said...

It's sad how many times i start reading a post on someone's blog and they are sick. Someone should do something about that!

I agree with allysha, that is nana or a nurse. Mom is off in bed, at last.

Klutzmom said...

So sorry the kids were sick, again. The ironic part is that you were the healthiest of all our babies. I always wondered if it was the gamma globulin shot I had when I was pregnant with you because three of the neighbors had hepatitis. Gamma shots hurt becausde they are so thick. Your big brother took his without a whimper, walked about 6 feet down the hall and passed out.

The Lazy Organizer said...

I hope everyone is feeling better by now! You know, I don't think I have ever used the words vomit or phlegm on my blog. I think my readers are really missing out.

I knew I was going to get in trouble with that ice water and by the way, those potted plants definitely looked like they needed a trim. Nora was just doing her civic duty.

I can't wait for you to impress me with your culinary skills in June. All it will take is some warm homemade bread.

Cakes said...

funny funny!

Klutzmom said...

It was a fun birthday party. Julie's boys play the piano really well. I think it's cause she insists that they practice.