Sometime just before dawn: Mr. Nathaniel, four-year-old Aries boy, of popcorn ‘do and cherubic mien, comes half-asleep barreling across the house and into my bedroom, and approaches my side of the bed. “Mommy,” he says. “Other side,” I shlur into the pillow. “Go aroun thother side.” It’s our routine, just like it used to be our routine for him to root around with small starfish fingers outstretched and flexed, baby bird mouth grasping at air until I sleepily slopped my boob out of the neckline of my nightie and he latched on, and grasped the sides of my milk-heavy breast. We would then lapse back into full slumber, though his jaws worked while he dreamed. That could explain why he was so adept when he was two at doing the same thing (he fell asleep in his stroller at the farmer’s market, but continued to eat his brownie in between snores while I watched for signs of choking and wished I had a videocamera).
So now, same thing–a reaching out in the dark, not inches apart, but across my compact house. Somehow, he finds me without careening into an ottoman.
Except this morning is different. After we both fall back asleep, he starts to make retching sounds and I instantly wake up, bench-press him up and over me so his feet land on the floor, and we jet into the bathroom. Thus begins the process.
(He’s at his dad’s right now, while dad gets ready for a home visit from our daughter’s soon-to-be 1st grade Waldorf teacher–I hope N’s bowels and belly have settled down for all of their sakes. My visit is Saturday. That’s not stressful at all…because, I’m like totally a neat freak and my house is always immaculate (not!). I guess he may as well see Honoree’s actual environment, and note that I am a bit freewheeling on the domestic front, so he can draw whichever conclusions and take them into account as part of his accurate picture of us. As much as I want to buy some wool clogs and a hempen jumper for the event, and just happen to be carding wool when he comes to the door…he may as well meet the real me.)
I don’t know if it was the goat milk Nathaniel drank so happily last night (he and dairy are iffy) or some random germ…but luckily, it hit Nathaniel and not his sister, Honoree. She is a very operatic sick person. She needs to express herself through back-to-back moans and keening wails…which makes sense, since she’s a Leo.
I think Honoree would be beside herself with joy (or at least quieter) if a Greek chorus materialized whenever she was sick, to narrate her journey with sufficient gravitas and focus. “Here is this young blonde moppet of a girl, going on seven…her innards are writhing within, feel her pain, all ye earthly beings…!” (cue renting of sackcloth). Instead, this trait of hers coincides with my lifelong personal lesson in working on my patience, which means meeting her where she’s at to comfort her (which I usually remember to do), so that, according to a theory that I really hope pans out, she won’t do it her entire life long.
Nathaniel, on the other hand, is so full of vim and vigor that when he has a stomach flu, he plays the entire time, nonchalantly jogging to the bathroom for sick pit stops before resuming his fun.
I’ll be back to report if it is a catching kind of germ or just a random digestive misfire (or I won’t, if I’m totally sideswiped by it). I have to open mail, read submissions, check my voicemail…and my bimonthly facial scouring, by the lovely Marise, is at 2pm. Bummer: I’m on my second day of Aunt Flo’s visit–which I always find makes me more sensitive to any kind of pain…but at least we spend most of the time cracking up over our joint witticisms.
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