Friday, May 09, 2008

Lest my home be peaceful…

Any time there is any threat to the peace and quiet, the Denizens are happy to go the extra mile to ensure that there shall be no peace, no quiet, no full nights of sleep and absolutely under no circumstances a clean home.

This week, they have saved me from the horrors listed above by getting sick.

It started with Eldest, who woke up in the wee hours of Tuesday morning crying due to a sore throat and mild fever. Motrin was administered, and she spent the next half hour constantly asking me when, exactly it was going to start working.

Then yesterday afternoon, Boo Bug began to complain her throat hurt. She too had a mild fever, and also some stuffed up nose issues. Drat.

This morning, after having gotten up at the usual hour to make breakfast and everything else, I decided to grill Danger Mouse on her overall condition. Of all my children, she is the toughest little cookie, and the one least likely to actually complain if she doesn’t feel well.

“How are you feeling today, honey?” I asked as she brushed her hair. “You OK?”

“Oh, yeah,” she replied. “Except that my throat really hurts when I swallow.” And then she sniffed loudly. Stuffy nose, mild fever, sore throat – yup. She’s staying home from school today, too.

Meanwhile, all week Captain Adventure has been in a marginal state where you look at him hard and wonder…Hmm…is he being a pill because he needs one, or is he just being a pill in general? His speech delay makes this really hard. Most almost-four-year-old children will tell you their woes. “Mommy, my {head, throat, mouth, nose, left big toe} hurts!”

But not Captain Adventure. He just transforms into the Destroyer of Worlds, a state ordinarily only seen when a trip to bed or a ten minute Time Out is appropriate (if I want to punish the boy, all I need to do is put him into his room by himself).

But while in Destroyer of Worlds mode, he does not ‘use his words’ – he just runs, and I do mean runs, from Sin to Sin. Tipping over the piano bench, yanking the runner (and anything on the runner) from the sofa table, pulling all the napkins out of the napkin drawer and doing his impression of a Morris dancer on Beltaine, hitting sisters with toys, refusing to eat anything except plain noodles with butter…oh yes.

He’s a real joy right now.

I take my eyes off him at my gravest peril. (Right now, he is sitting right beside me attempting to disassemble a rather complicated toy. He alternates actually trying to do it intelligently with BANGING IT LOUDLY ON THE FLOOR while singing ‘The Wheels on the Bus’. How’s the work coming? The portfolio rebalancing, the writing, the job proposal and scope of work sitting on my desk waiting to be turned in? JUST FINE THANKS!)

Naturally, because anything else would not be peaceful and/or calming and/or otherwise OK with me, the nice autism specialist is coming to the house TONIGHT to observe him.

TONIGHT. He called last night, to say he was coming…TONIGHT.

“Well, actually, he has a nasty cold right now,” I hedged. Hot carp livers on buttered toast, that’s just not a good time. Did I mention that I too am developing a slight fever and sore throat? Have I? Or that I have not slept more than two hours at a stretch since I got back from Salt Lake due to assorted Noises and Crises in the night?

“That’s OK,” he replied cheerfully. “That won’t impact my testing.”

I hesitated. On the one hand, it really isn’t a good time for Captain Adventure. Or me, for that matter – the house is a shambles and I’ve got a ton of stuff to deal with today, none of it ‘making the house presentable for visitors’. On the other, well. We’ve been waiting FIVE MONTHS to get on this guy’s dance card.

I don’t want to risk having to wait another month.

I don’t want him to see our boy at his worst, and yet, I kind of do. In a perfect world, they would see him at both his best and worst…but this isn’t a perfect world so we have to make do with having professionals witness one or two hour slices of his life and extrapolate whether or not the rest of his life is within however many +/- factors of ‘normal’.

Whatever ‘normal’ may be.

“Wellllll,” I said finally put forth. “See, here’s the thing. On the one hand, you will see his absolute most autistic-like behavior if you come evaluate him right now. When he’s sick or very tired, he does display a lot of the symptoms that made me worry in the first place. But on the other hand, I’m afraid you might not get any of what he can do. I mean, we were playing the Color Game this morning? And he said a blue ball was purple? And I said noooo, it’s BLUE, and then? He threw it at my head. And fell on the ground. And screamed and cried and kicked at me when I tried to comfort him.” {pause} “Which is not really what he’s like, you know? I mean, sometimes, but…uh, well, he’s actually a very sweet, very smart boy, very affectionate and…it’s just, well, he’s sick right now? So he isn’t using his words, and he’s kind of aggressive, and…”

My wise inner voice got back from its potty break and said, That will do, dear. You’d better stop talking now.

Thanks. Thanks a lot.

“I see,” he said. He has that ‘doctor’ voice down pat. ‘…that you are almost undoubtedly completely crazy’ was definitely hanging in the air after his ‘I see’.

In the background as we talked, three girls were screaming at once because one of them had changed the channel without going through proper diplomatic channels. The occasional outburst is perfectly normal. Right now, with all of them a bit under the weather, the outbursts are incessant and particularly loud and shrill.

“Excuse me a second,” I said sweetly. Then I put my thumb over the speak on the phone (the low-tech mute button) and yelled, “KNOCK THAT OFF, I AM ON THE !!!!!!PHONE!!!!!! Eldest! Put it BACK on Spongebob this INSTANT!”

Captain Adventure was running back and forth in the kitchen shaking his head wildly as he went, slamming into the cupboards on one end of the journey, giggling wildly, pausing to wave and shout, “HI MOMMY! CAPTAIN ADVENTURE IS RUNNING!!” before galloping back into the playroom, where he would jump onto the coffee table and wait for someone (all three sisters are Mini Mes on this front) to say, “Be careful, Captain Adventure! Don’t fall!” before jumping off for the return trip.

Ah yes. The joys of Tylenol Flu and Cold medicine. He is completely soused and lovin’ the ride at this point. T-Minus sixty minutes to bedtime, and definitely counting.

“So,” the man probably wondering why he went into this business in the first place said gently. “Tell you what. I’ll be over at five o’clock, OK? If we feel that his cold is interfering with my tests, well, we can reschedule for another time. And I’ll give you my phone number, so if you think he’s just way too sick you can call and cancel. OK? How’s that?”

“Yeah, OK. Great. Thanks. I’m sure it will be fine.”

Something heavy hit the floor. A little voice piped out, “I’m OK!” Captain Adventure began shrieking with laughter. Boo Bug cried out, “It isn’t funny, Captain Adventure!” and he replied, “Oh, DAT FUNNY!” “NO!” “DAT FUNNY!” “NO!” “DAT FUNNY!”


T-minus 56 minutes and counting. I hung up the phone (I think I said a polite closure first, but I’m not really sure) and put a bag of popcorn into the microwave. Four little noses began sniffing the air. Dinner being all of ten minutes ago, they were naturally starved. For popcorn.

The still-warm asparagus and pasta? Not so much.

They ate popcorn. I polished off the asparagus. Did you know asparagus is a natural diuretic? Yes, it surely is.

Which is why I had to get up, twice, last night…in spite of all Denizens being tucked snug in their little beds, fast asleep, all night long…


Anonymous said...

((((Tama)))) All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things shall be well....

Eccentric Scorpion said...

You have my sympathy, it's tough sometimes but it'll all pass. I hope you can get some more sleep tonight and that the little ones are feeling better soon.

Yarnhog said...

Oh, dear. Well, at least your miseries make mine seem like a holiday.

Watch those sore throats. That's how strep starts at my house.

Wishing you a good night's rest...

Rena said...

Did you get the card I sent? Cause I'm thinking it will ring far too true right now.

geekch1ck said...

Found your blog through The Yarn Harlot. I love your writing, even if it is about sick kids. Hugs to you. Hope your kids are feeling better soon.