Saturday, July 18, 2009

Red-faced 2.0

The doctor said ‘It’s Scarlet Fever’ with such nonchalance that I just nodded my head and tried to be casual, too. But in my head I was shouting:

‘Isn’t that what made Mary Ingalls go blind?!!!’
‘Isn’t that what killed Beth in Little Women?!!!’
‘This boy was born in 2006, not 1906. How can he have Scarlet Fever?!!!’

He wasn’t even that sick. He had been all feverish and lethargic the two days before, but had started to perk up and was in 3 year old quiz master mode the whole time we were in the doctor’s office. Who is he mommy. What’s wrong with her leg. Why’s he got no hair. Why do we have to wait. Where is the doctor. What color is the doctor’s shirt. What color is the doctor’s house. Does the doctor have a dog…

I had only brought him in because it was Friday afternoon and he had developed a strange symptom – a bright red tongue with bumps on it. The doctor took a look at the tongue, checked the swollen glands, asked if there was a rash (there isn’t, even though that is the main symptom of scarlet fever) and made her diagnosis.

She explained to me that it’s pretty much like strep throat, will go away with antibiotics, and not too uncommon. How come I only know fictional characters from the last century who have had it then?

Once I was reassured he was going to be okay, my next thought was:

‘This is going to make a great Facebook status!’

Laura Ingalls is churning butter.
Laura Ingalls is waiting for Pa to come home in his wagon.
Laura Ingalls is eating salt pork, yum!
Laura Ingalls is so mad at Nelly for pushing her in the creek.
Laura Ingalls has a crush on a certain ‘manly’ someone with shaggy hair.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Moments of mom-ness

There are some moments that I find myself looking at myself and thinking 'that's such a mom thing.' Brief flashes of a gesture, a movement, a phrase that reminds me of my mother, of other people's mothers, of mothers on TV.

Not the big things, like holding a brand-new still hot and slimy newborn to your chest, or waving your child off to school, cleaning up after an early-morning puke session or having a 'serious chat' about some big issue. Just tiny moments of momness. Here's a few I can think of:

Standing at the kitchen counter making peanut butter sandwiches.

Feeding a baby in a highchair and using the spoon to wipe up that bit around the mouth (and shove it back in).

Unzipping a school bag and pulling out artwork/school notices.

Turning the wriggled-out-of pair of jeans right side out.

Looking at the back seat occupants in the rear-view mirror to answer a question.

Tidying up the living room with a book under my arm, toys in my hand, and sweat shirt slung over my shoulder.

Pushing a (very full) grocery cart.

Handing the baby my car keys to play with.

Producing a tissue from my bag...especially if it's not for one of my children.

I have been out of high school for 17 years, married for nearly 10 and a mother for nearly 5, and still these moments can catch me off guard. I am a MOM, just like my mom, just like other moms, I do mom-like things. How weird is that?

Saturday, July 04, 2009


So usually hardly anyone blogs on Saturdays, then my friend Jo hooks me with this ‘Stories in My Pocket’ Saturdays, which I really love. Then even she says she can’t manage it this week, because who’s going to blog on a Saturday that’s the Fourth of July?

An ex-pat American, that’s who. No family to visit, no fireworks, no Fourth of July celebration to go to. I made iron-on t-shirts for the kids, we had a barbecue, and I was not allowed to sing patriotic songs (my husband does not like My Country tis of Thee, seeing as the tune is his actual national anthem, and America is not the only country where ‘at least I know I’m free’).

And I did some reminiscing. Here’s my best Independence Day story:

I grew up in a small Midwestern town that every year has a parade for the Fourth of July. It’s mainly fire trucks followed by pick-up trucks with various community groups in the back – the girl scouts, the Kiwanis, city council, that sort of thing. They throw candy to the children in the crowd. Who run out into the street, fight each other for it, and knock some smaller kid to the asphalt who looks up wailing just as another fire truck comes down the road, blaring its siren as loud as possible. Fun times!

There’s also the bike parade. Local kids decorate their bikes, ride along with the parade, and get judged at the end for the most patriotic bike.

My mom wasn’t going to shell out for crepe paper and streamers and ribbons and the like, so I set about finding my own (free) way to creatively decorate my wheels. So I could WIN that $5 McDonald’s gift certificate.

We were out for ice cream at our local Baskins and Robbins and I noticed they had the empty ice cream drums, washed out and sitting by the side. I asked if I could have one. To picture it, the ice-cream drum was about the size of a wastepaper basket, with white plastic on the inside and brown paper on the outside.

I decided I could be a ‘bike-astronaut’. I painted my ice cream-drum white, added a few blobs I hoped would look like flags, donned a grey sweatsuit (on a 90 degree July day!) and headed up for the parade.

Hoping my homespun, cheap ingenuity would beat out the bikes with ruffles and bows and pom-poms and actual flags (all probably decorated by the parents) I popped on my helmet and waited for the parade.

Then I felt a hand on my shoulder. ‘I’m sorry, little girl, you can’t be in the parade like that.’
Faux-indignant, because I had a feeling this might happen, ‘Why not?’
‘You have to be able to see where you’re going.’

I hadn’t cut a hole in my astronaut helmet. I had just planned to peek out the bottom and follow the wheels of the person in front. But apparently, that was a safety hazard (unlike teaching children to run into the street to look for candy).

They let me ride in the parade anyway, with no helmet and no decoration, just a grey sweatsuit and a red face. I didn’t win.

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