We are a pathetic bunch.
I got sick on Friday: a sore throat, fever, aches and pains. Marta has been battling a sore throat for what seems like weeks. And Nico seems to be cycling through every possible cold the daycare can give her. The other day we were taking a picture of her eating her first solid food–an avocado!–and she sneezed and a huge snot bubble ballooned from her nose. It seemed somehow symbolic of our collective sad state.
So this past weekend, we were basically been in triage mode. Whoever felt the worst received the collective family attention. Poor Finn just had to stand by, watching all this, as he has no way of telling us if he has a sore throat or fever or dizzy spells.
I was the receiver of all the pity on Friday night because I was, as I just said, feeling really bad. Then come Saturday afternoon and poor Nico started to feel worse. And though she couldn’t verbalize her complaints as succintly as I could, she was very good at crying and watering her eyes and in general seeming very sad and fragile. Marta held her to her chest and looked like she was about to break. Meanwhile I lay in bed and said, “but I have a temperature too!”
Because, embarrassing as it is to admit, I become a child when I get sick. And a competitive one.
At one point, only half-joking, I was taking Nico’s temperature and then mine to see whose was worse. I was winning for a while, but then Nico took the lead. And then, admitting defeat, I became a parent again and felt genuine, aching sympathy for Nico as well. Because she really is quite a sad state when she’s sick. Her eyes get really watery and she has this cough that is like that of an old smoker who was suddenly shrunk in the wash.
We’ve taken her to the doctor twice now to make sure the cough, which keeps coming back, and the running nose and congestion are OK. Both times they’ve said she’s fine, that she is just cycling through the pools of bacteria at daycare. People say this is good (apparently my grandfather, a pediatrician, said so as well) because she’ll get through all her illnesses early and be sickness-free when she starts elementary school. But it’s hard to see how having a congested baby who doesn’t understand why she’s congested is a good thing.
Especially when I am congested myself and can really, really feel for her.
Instead of blaming the daycare, Marta is blaming the dryness of Lubbock. She curses the dryness here daily and has set up a rotating army of humidifiers around our house. I curse the daycare and then I curse Lubbock for other reasons. Neither of us is all that happy here, truth be told. But we are happy with each other, which is important. And we have our moments of kind of liking Lubbock.
Like Sunday evening. Despite Nico and my collective pathetic-ness, the ever optimistic Marta* planned a barbecue/picnic at a local park and invited some friends. We grilled bratwurst and sat in the shade of a tree on the apple blanket my mom made me when I went away to college so many years ago. It was some splendid temperature like 70 degrees and we all ate too much and passed Nico around. She showed no signs of the “stranger anxiety” she’s had recently. In fact she was so comfortable with a friend of ours that she peed straight through her diaper and on to his leg. He told us it was all right, jokingly adding that his wife did that to him all the time.
Both Nico and I were feeling better by then and Marta, too. It did not make us love this place. But we were at least temporarily content here, which is better than nothing.
Especially when you have a mild fever and sore throat.
*Those of you who know Marta will take this for sarcasm but I swear this place has turned her into a semi-Pollyanna. It’s eerie.