Thursday, May 14, 2009

First aid

This isn't turning out to be a week where I can legitimately claim to work a full-time job. Mid-afternoon today I got The Dreaded Call. Guess who has a fever? No, not L. She hasn't suffered a relapse since Monday. E, who may I remind you has been on strong antibiotics since Tuesday, courtesy of her ENT, somehow in defiance of modern medicine developed a fever of 102 and her eyes looked watery and she was complaining of a stomach ache. Oh, and for gravy? M was in Atlanta.

It was too early to take L home, also, and let her sister reinfect her with two hours of extra play time. It wasn't really early enough to go home and come back for L. And E, of course, was still wildly active. I suggested we go to Target and buy some Tylenol to pour down her, and maybe pick up some yummy juice for her to drink tomorrow. She loved this, of course, and she got a few more things, too. Look, Mama! Hello Kitty bandaids! We NEED those! Look! Horsie stickers! Mama? Could I have chocolate milk? I'm really, really, really thirsty.

Of course, she refused to drink the Tylenol. I just want it at home. But we're not going to be home for a while. We have to get your sister first. But I'll just have it at home.

So we drove back towards daycare, fighting traffic currents I don't normally navigate. I could see in the rear-view mirror that E was getting uncharacteristically tired, which proved that she was actually sick, something I might not have entirely believed aside from the fever.

We went inside and I reminded her that we were going to collect her sister quickly, and not play with her friends, and not give them hugs, and not take a long time because I wanted to get her home to the Officially Endorsed Tylenol Bottle.

We did okay. The girls were cooperativeish and we were successfully leaving in a fast-moving rhythm when L walked quickly a little too enthusiastically - and mere steps from the car, she stumbled and fell.

I scooped her up in my arms and swept her into her carseat so I could grab a tissue and wipe the blood away. E scrambled into her own carseat and in a blink dropped her Woe Is Me demeanor in exchange for her Mama's Helper persona. Mom! Mama! Mom, remember? Remember we bought bandaids?

I pulled the little box out of our Target back and E asked if she could put the bandage on her sister's knee. With a look of concern she climbed out of her carseat and sat carefully in the space between the girls' two chairs. In gentle and deliberate motions, she wiped her sister's knee with the tissue I had pulled out, and all by herself she slowly affixed the bandaid.

The saga of sicknesses this week, the traveling husband, the simultaneity of the sicknesses and the travel - I had felt so tense. And my muscles viscerally relaxed when I watched the generosity of the older sister setting aside her own discomforts out of concern for the discomforts of her younger sister.

May 14, 2009
Portraits of my baby and her boo-boo.
Foreshadowing my most sacred dream, that they'll always care for each other.

And of Hello Kitty herself, who would never risk her reputation by coordinating with L's ensemble less than perfectly.

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