I think most families have at least a couple. One of ours was unintentional and started a few years after Hubs and I eloped. We were in the midst of learning the ropes as parents to our adorable firstborn, Shannon. Neither John or I recognized the frequency of these strange phenomenons right away. Wasn’t exactly funny ha-ha, especially if your name was John. At the same time, if you were into dark humor, or goosebumply happenings, it was strangely humorous. No matter how many times we moved while the kids were around, these “incidents” followed us until all the kids flew the coop.
|1976, Joshua appears to not know daddy because Shannon is wearing his glasses…|
I noticed a pattern by the time Shannon was starting school. She or her baby brother, Joshua would come down with a cold, ear infection diarrhea, croup, or some other childhood malady. Usually happened as one, two, or later 3 kids were on the mend. I’d be doing my happy mom dance. Hallelujah, praise the Lord, amen. At least a couple of the rugrats would be heading back to school. Even if one had to remain home an extra day, there was light at the end of the tunnel. The time slot might be too small for accurate measurements, but there would be a little ‘me time.’ Vitally important for this mom’s sanity.
I hope I’m not alone in this world to what occurred next. Oddly enough, this did not just show up when an illness hit the kids. Too often to be anything but a warped coincidence, it happened often enough when one of them got hurt too. Just as my little clan appeared to be on the mend, sure as the sun comes up in the east, John would come down with whatever the kids were just getting over. Or get hurt. Only much worse than all three put together. Why me God? Having Hubs home sick easily surpassed having all 3 kiddos down and out at the same time. He’s a horrible patient. Those stinking tonsils were a huge part of the problem. Why did he have tonsils anyway? Everybody born during the 40’s through the 60’s had their tonsils and adenoids removed. It was part of being a kid, a rite of passage. Mona and Larry were hauled to Doc Hegg’s office together, given a bit of ether, and got those suckers snipped. At the time, I was too young, but had mine a decade later when I was about 10 after enough sore throats for a dozen kids.
|Me about 10 when I got my tonsils out, 1960…|
But not John. I don’t know if his sibs had their tonsils out, but John did not and has suffered (making me suffer too) for it numerous times. When Johnny Wayne was little and had a tooth ache his mom or dad would stuff cloves or tobacco in the offending tooth. (Hubs said he never thought either one really helped, but it tasted so bad in your mouth you forgot about the pain). They took care of most ailments the old fashioned way. Poultices and home remedies like their parents and grandparents used. This was not a bad thing. In fact, after the discovery of penicillin, we started using antibiotics so often that many of us built up an immunity to them. They no longer worked when we got sick. The offending germs, bacteria or whatever was making us sick got smarter, bigger and stronger and mutated or something. So we needed stronger drugs to outsmart them. A vicious cycle.
|Watch out Daddy, your Christmas might not be so Merry…|
Anyway, by the time the kids were old enough to realize what was constantly happening in our house anytime one or all of them got sick, it kind of became a family joke. Sick. Poor John. Not only lagging days behind the kids, but more often sicker than any of the kids. Yet he was in the house with them the least amount of time. Seemed impossible. Still well documented in our home.
|No I wasn’t sick, maybe daddy was. Mother’s Day breakfast, 1981…|
On the other hand, I rarely got sick. Didn’t catch their flu bugs or upper respiratory infections. I just never felt under the weather. Until I started working with adorable, snot-nosed, rash laden, cough, blow raspberries in my face, stick their drool laden fingers in my mouth, little squirts at the day care. I’m the virtual magnet Queen for poop, having noses wiped on my clothes, spit-up, rashes, coughs, for the entire school. In the last 6 months my illness stats are just a bit better than Johnny Bench during his illustrious career totals. Yes, I’m capable of catching a better game if it’s childhood illnesses you’re pitching my way. So proud.
|Has Daddy had the pox before? Shannon, 1979…|
Why? How? I’m fastidious about washing my hands, especially at work. Yesterday I sported smeared avocado on my shoulder, and a very noticeable snot stain on my blue capris. We had a 4 hour CPR/First aid course after work. I arrived about 10 minutes before it started wearing nice, clean clothes since I had been home for several hours in between work and the training. I was early so walked into ‘my’ baby room. One little sweetie was waiting momentarily for her mom. She honestly squealed with delight when she saw me. A word about this misconception of having favorites. I’ve talked about it before, saying I seem to be drawn to all the ‘high maintenance’ little farts. After working another couple months with pretty much the same ‘bunch ‘o babes’ I no longer believe this to be true. I don’t think I have favorites. But I do believe with my whole heart that certain babies are drawn to us. Some more than others. While some seem not to care one whit which of us is giving them undivided attention, several babies definitely seem to have favorites. If something’s not quite right for them, they are happy when anyone tries to figure out how to make their little world better for the moment. But after a couple of seconds, especially if they’ve taken a spill, they want to be conforted by their favorite caregiver. Sometimes it’s the only way they can be consoled. So to me, it’s been the babies picking us more than me picking the baby. Anyway, I walked up to her while she was sitting on someone’s lap. She literally jumped in my arms, squealing, wiggling and hugging me. And promptly spit up all over my new top. Really. Boy did I smell good in the un-airconditioned gym filled with co-workers and highly trained EMT’s. No wonder I had trouble finding a partner for mouth to mouth. Kidding. The dummy was just fine with me and my lingering spit up smell.
|Josh on the farm, but no Hoof & Mouth there, just chocolate mouth, not contagious, 1976…|
I’ve managed to avoid any serious lung issues for 65 years. That’s nothing to sneeze at folks. It’s downright impressive. By the time I had worked with the babies for 2 months, I was in the middle of a very dangerous case of pneumonia. Yeah, me. That cough lasted 2 months. Soon after it finally went away, I got another scratchy throat, tickle in my throat making my eyes squirt water and a cough for 2 weeks. This time I got better on my own.
|No, not Hand, Foot & Mouth. Adam with Oreo Mouth & Hand, 1980…|
I can’t blame the babies for my knee issue which started right after I began working, but was unrelated. Lugging babies probably didn’t help and perhaps hindered a better time line for healing, but the little stinkers were not responsible. Last week however, I woke up with a thick, scratchy throat again. Tickle in my throat making water from my eyes squirt for the third time in 6 months. Seriously. If only they weren’t so adorable. I thought I was doing an OK job of fighting off the crud myself, but the cough was getting worse. Keeping me up several hours a night. Maybe I’m just paranoid after that horrible bout in April and May. After all I did manage to avoid catching hand, foot and mouth disease that zipped through the preschool a couple weeks ago. Yes, you read that right. Hand, foot, and mouth. Never even heard of it before. And my kids caught most of that stuff at one time or another. H F & M is kinda tricky. By the time you sport a fever or rash, you’re no longer contagious. So there’s really no symptoms until it’s too late. I guess it’s quite hard for an adult to catch it, but my luck hasn’t been all that great lately. But maybe my luck had changed.
|John might be smiling, but if Shannon was sick, he soon would be too…|
Until I got up a couple of days ago. Slept awful because of the cough, but wasn’t done trying to duke it out myself. Laid in bed for a few minutes after waking up because it was my day off. Still super early but grateful for another day on earth. Stretched and rubbed my face. Eyes were gritty and crusty. Oh dear Lord, please don’t let me have something else. I’m working very hard trying to fight off this upper chest pox crap. Limped (leg continues to improve though, thanks God) to the bathroom, turned on the light and could see nothing but red in my eyes. Are you fricking kidding me? P!nk eye! Oh hells bells. Waited until the doctor’s office opened, lamented my woes, and got in to see someone today.
Doc walks in, immediately says, “What’s going on today Denise? You look well. Wow, except for your eyes.” Sadly said I thought I had P!nk eye. “Good grief, your voice sounds terrible! When did that start?” Hanging my head in shame, I went on, “I seem to catch everything those babies throw my way. I’ve been fighting this sore throat and cough for a week.” She listened to my lungs and determined, “This has gone on long enough since you just recovered from being very sick. We’ll get some drops for the eye business, and something for that upper respiratory thing. If you don’t feel much better by the end of the week, I want to see you again. You should be building up immunities to most of these illnesses you’re catching after a year or so. How long have you worked there?” Ticking off the months, I said, “Six months, but I’ve only been sick for 3 of them!” “Halfway there,” she laughed, handing me my chart and walked out the door…
|Yup, it was all about to start. Poor Hubs…|