Another day, another dollar

Fritz has been feeling under the weather since this past weekend. Nothing terrible or needing medical attention, just a run-down feeling, some stomach achiness, headache, stuffy ears. On Sunday, Bill told Fritz they needed to go get him some cleats and a new glove for the upcoming baseball season, and he begged off – a sure sign that he was sick.

So when he told me yesterday morning, in tears, that his ear hurt really badly, I was not at all surprised. And even though he hadn’t had one in years, I was positive that he did have an ear infection.

But, boy oh boy, was I mad at him. You see, he woke up at his usual time between 6 and 630 am. He asked to watch the two episodes of Lost in Space that he hadn’t seen yet on the Netflix DVD. After that he got dressed and then set to work at the dining room table on his first drawing of the day. {My three oldest kids draw multiple pictures every day from their imagination. I do not know if this is normal for most kids, but it is quite the usual thing around here. The drawings have gotten more and more detailed as the kids have gotten older. Billy now adds word bubbles, asking me if he spelled “RETREAT!” correctly – can you guess what his drawings look like? Katie did one the other day with snooty-looking women walking snooty-looking dogs. It was hysterical.} And this is where I found him at 9 am when I suggested we begin with math.

That’s when the tears came. And I asked him why he didn’t happen to mention the earache in the previous 3 hours he’d been awake. Why suddenly tears when it’s time to start school, but no tears when he’s busy working on his drawing?

I called the doc and got an appointment for later that morning (sort of – the post had a power surge and after the guy on the phone told me to come in at 11 am, the power went out and the appointment wasn’t finalized. I went in anyway, and they accommodated me, thankfully). In the meantime, I made him do his schoolwork, because I am a mean teacher and an even meaner mom.

Off we go to the doctor, and we get out of that office before noon, but we need to go to the pharmacy for antibiotics (yes, he had an ear infection). Jenny decides she’s had enough and wants to go home, so she moans and sprawls on the floor. I cheerfully remind her several times that there are big men wearing big boots who will not see her and will accidentally step on her and it will hurt and perhaps she ought to not lay herself quite so much in the aisle. After a while, she grew tired of the hard floor and relocated to the chair into which she proceeded to contort her little body into a myriad of ever-changing shapes. At least she was no longer moaning.

I suppose I could have picked her up from the beginning and made her sit in a chair. Or tried to hold her and Pete in my arms. But the floor area wasn’t particularly high-traffic, and I figured that her low moaning and inconvenient location was preferable to everyone within fifty feet than the full-blown tantrum that simmered just below the surface and would have boiled over at the first sign of a battle of wills. And despite her imperfect behavior, she was well within the normal for her age and only those in the immediate vicinity were aware of her presence: I judge acceptable behavior not by how many people tell me my kids are well-behaved but by how few people notice their even being there to begin with.

In the meantime, Pete did some squirming and back-arching in my arms and then finally settled down and went to sleep. I really would have preferred he squirm and arch his back, though. He slept for about 10 minutes before they called our number. Five minutes later, as I’m getting him in the car, he woke up. And that was the end of naptime. Three hours later, he was a mess, and his usual two-hour midday snooze was sorely missed.

What’s a mother to do? Make dinner, take the kids to baseball practice, and thank God Almighty that both little ones fell sound asleep on the way home (and not on the way there!), and that they stayed asleep, and that the older ones didn’t give us (much) bedtime grief.

And then rise this morning to begin a fresh day.

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