Sunday, April 22, 2007

Whan that Aprill with his Shoures Soote

The title is the first line of The Canterbury Tales. Why? Well, I didn't memorize the first 18 lines for my senior year Chaucer seminar to let that accomplishment fade into obscurity. Also, for some reason April has always seemed a time of reckoning for me. It was the month before I got married, the month before I submitted my MFA thesis, the month of our LID in China. Not to mention all those bursting buds and frolicking lambs, which is precisely what old Jeff Chaucer was talking about.

So, in honor of April, some observations:

I am better at this Mom thing than I was last April.

David left me for three days, as he did last year and has done every year since we've met, for the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Vegas last week. I was a NAB Widow and lived to tell about it. Last year, I was terrorstruck at the idea of being alone for three days with the tiny, unpredictable person now living in our house, and wheedled and cajoled everyone I knew to keep us company--I figured if I made any serious mistakes, there'd be someone else to help me clean up the mess. Several people stepped up to help alleviate my fears. This year was no different in the sense that friends kept us company (a special shout-out to Grace and her daughter, Julianna, who brought us Chinese food and their delightful company for the second year running) but there was a profound difference in another sense. I was not freaking out this time. Yes, I was a little tired and yes, had my moments of near-witless exasperation. But this year, no one was jet-lagged, and I know a thing or two about wrangling a toddler. Also, I'm a little more patient (just a little), a little more flexible (just a smidge), and a little more tolerant of total irrationality (actually, a lot more.) And these refined qualities helped me not only to cope, but--if I do say so myself--to have a few moments of sublime synchronicity with my child, even without the invaluable and unflagging support of my dear husband.

I don't care for this aging business.

I had my annual last week and requested that my doctor (who can never seem to remember who I am even as he's pronouncing me "one of his favorite people in the world") check under the hood in addition to kicking the tires, if you'll pardon my metaphor. What he saw in there did not please me, though I don't plan to detail the Latin terminology here. In fact, although he was not concerned, I felt fragile and teary as I headed back to the car, a state I remained in until I was able to get through to my dad (who is also an Ob/Gyn) and he pretty much quelled my anxiety with a single line: "Telling a woman of 40 that she has [...] is like telling her that she has green eyes." Since my dad is not one for mincing words on the medical front, this was reassuring indeed. Still...

I really can't cope without doing a lot of talking.

This was made obvious by my behavior later that day when I ran into my new friend, Robyn, at the supermarket before we picked up our kids from school. I started telling her about my defective lady parts and my eyes filled with tears. I was having a "the world is unfair" moment and I needed to vent. Robyn was not only sweet, she cited a real-life example of how this was going to be no big deal. Which, believe it or not, had the effect of instantly calming and comforting me. I'm a little embarrassed that I broke down like that, but if I hadn't, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to feel so astoundingly much better, and so soon. If you're reading this, Robyn--thank you.

Despite my history, a shot in the ass can leave me feeling elated.

Turns out this "cold" I have not been getting over is actually a sinus infection. Despite my faulty sinuses (now there's a body part I feel no shame in admitting to be deficient) I have never had one before, and thought maybe aching teeth, a head full of quicksand, and near-total deafness was just my new lot in life. But today I went to the doctor again (as Jarrah would say, "diff-went doc-tah") and he was satisfyingly sympathetic, whipping out the little pad and scratching some hieroglyphics that meant I was entitled to THREE prescriptions for my swollen passages. And just because I'm a special, special patient, he sent in the head nurse to jab me with some cortisone before I left. "I need to see your good side," she parried, and I was feeling such a warm glow of validation, I was happy to show it to her. "Can you get rhino ass from an anti-inflammatory?" I asked David as I walked to the car. He didn't think so. Within a half-hour I could already breathe in a way I vaguely remembered from my old life.

Fevers are scary when they happen to your two-year-old.

Yesterday at Play Town (that place rocks, by the way) Jarrah was whining and checking on me every three seconds; normally I am chopped liver until she wants a snack. Then, suddenly, she was as clingy as this season's jeans, but the real give-away was when she refused to eat cherry jello. Toddlers may be as unpredictable as the weather in New England, but I know two things to be true about my child: she is not cuddly, and she never turns down dessert. That's when I noticed that her skin was smoking hot.

Luckily, we had Jessica and Yea-Yea with us and they stayed calm and reasonable while I freaked out. We got Jarrah home quickly, her temperature was 103, and she was dopey with fatigue. She asked to get in her crib and then stayed there for over four hours. Of course I called her doctor and the triage nurse talked me down from the ledge. At dinner time, she was cheerful and knew all the Wiggles and their corresponding jersey colors, but was still burning up and seemed to be doing the toddler version of delirious ranting:

Mummy! Jarrah has bath. Then your turn. We in house. Car outside. Wiggles on. Daddy in house. Mommy in house. Po in house. Mr. Potato Head in house. Fish fingers. Owie. Jarrah has bath. Then your turn. Jarrah has bath. Then your turn.

I'm ashamed to say we had to hold her down to squirt Motrin into her maw, and then she cried and said "Get in crib." Then I cried. She was still scorching hot. I called my dad. He suggested I call our doctor "which she'll appreciate, because it's not the middle of the night." I e-mailed her, and of course she e-mailed back right away. She wasn't concerned. One of the things I love about her is her unflappable equilibrium. Between her reassurance and my cough syrup with codeine, I slept like the angel I am. And so did Jarrah.


Anonymous said...

I can't take the suspense! Is Jarrah all better now? Are your sinuses back to like-new condition? And did you in fact take that bath? Too many unanswered questions! :) (Seriously, another fabulous entry, super-fun to read -- thanks!) Lix

Anonymous said...

Hi Sammie,

I really enoyed this one, too!

We have come a long way since last year!

I talk a lot, too, when I am stressed. I am glad you and Jarrah are now all better!



Amy said...

Hey Sam,
I can't help but notice your use of the word "vent" to describe your exchange at the store. :) I am so sorry to hear that you and JArrah were both so sick recently. I am so very glad and grateful that you two are feeling much better this week.

Martha said...

Hey Sam,

I was confident with my diagnosis given your symptoms. Sadly, I know sinus infections very well.

Glad Miss Jarrah is better.

She's a trooper.

Just like her mom.

Anonymous said...

What a difference a year makes!

You've earned your toddler-wrangler certificate! ;)

Best, Gail