The Children

Liam:”I need a pencil.”

Me: “Why.”

Liam: “I dus’ NEED it, Mom.  Weach it fo’ me.”

Me: “Why do you NEED it, Liam?”

Liam: “I need it because I want it!”

Me: “That’s not needing, that’s wanting, buddy.”

Liam, dejected: “Awwww.  But I wanna disappear stuff, wike da floor, and Virgil, and da sky.”

Me: “oooh, ok.  You don’t need a pencil, you need your magic wand.  That’s different.  Here you go.”

Liam, giggling in anticipation of all of the magic spells he is about to cast: “Disappear, couch!  I made da couch disappear!  Dat was WAY COOL!  Disappear, Virgil!”  He trundles off, happily waving an unsharpened Hello Kitty pencil at anything that dares cross his path.  He is a necromancer, a powerful wizard, a dangerous force to be reckoned with at not-quite-three feet high.  Don’t mess with him.  He’s got a pencil.


Yesterday, Sunday, I gave the boys an Eggo waffle and two fake (Morningstar Farms) sausage links for breakfast.  They were still hungry, so I gave them some mandarin oranges and some peanut butter graham crackers.  At this point, Jack came to me and said “we haven’t done the yogurt and grapes yet, so let’s do that, and then maybe some milk and a peanut butter sandwich.”

They ate it, they ate it all, and more before they were through.  They had lunch, too, and fruit snacks after nap, and dinner, and a cookie for dessert.  That thing they say about boys, that joke about strapping on a feed bag/putting a lock on the fridge, that sort of thing?  I had no idea it started so soon.  Thank God we’re both employed.


On Saturday night, I made a shrimp potato curried chowder. ( The soup described in this post (scroll down) – it is delicious.  I highly recommend it.)  The boys ate it, and loved it, both of them.  Jack turned his nose up at an actual shrimp, because it looked funny, but I made him eat two.

Five minutes later, he was grabbing at his throat and saying “It’s poky, mom.  My neck is poky.  I gotta go to the doctor.”  He started making this weird, forced groaning noise, and breathing heavily.  I figured he was having an allergic reaction to the shrimp – I couldn’t remember if he’d had shrimp before – and I watched him closely to see if he was going into anaphylactic shock, while calling the pediatrician’s night nurse line.  I know that a lot of times, an allergy to crustaceans can mean a tickly throat, maybe nausea or throwing up, that sort of thing, but an anaphylactic shock reaction is rare.  I’m telling myself.  As I wait for the night nurse to call me back.  And watching him breathe.

Five minutes after I place my call with the answering service, the night nurse rings back, and Jack throws up, his whole dinner, all over the floor.  I explain the situation to the night nurse, and she tells me “Go to the ER, now.  I can call you an ambulance, if you need.  Leave now.  You can have my home number, in case he stops breathing on the way.  Get going.”

Commence freak out.

I leave with Jack, while the Professor keeps Liam home.  It  takes me ten minutes to drive thirteen miles, most of it 35 mph zones.  90% of me is having my own stress reaction, breathing heavily, alert, asking Jack constantly if he can breathe, how ’bout now, and now? still?  Are you breathing, Jack?  Blazing in and out of traffic, running a yellow-turning-red-light, going 85 in a 55 and 60 in a 35, the other 10% of me is going “this is kind of badass.  I am driving like a badass right now.”

I screeched to a halt in the ER parking lot, pulling into a space reserved 24 hours for radiologists, and gather my still-heavily-breathing boy into my arms and run with him inside.  And as SOON as we get in there, and he sees the hordes of people – some in pain, some old and sick, some just plain crazy – his breath slows down to normal.  Distracted by the ER, Jack ceases to sound like a foghorn when he’s breathing.

Four hours later, when we are finally seen by someone, they run a strep test and determine that he hadn’t had an allergic reaction at all, but that he had strep throat and must have swallowed something sharp that made it hurt.  (Could have been delicious bacon.  Mmmm, love that soup.)  He got a shot of penicillin in the butt, and then we had to wait half an hour to be sure he didn’t have any reaction to THAT.  Rounding the corner on midnight, I loaded him back in the car, a smiley-faced bandaid on his butt, Wendy’s frosty his reward, and mine.

It was our first ER trip.  Since we’ve switched to a high deductible plan, it will be expensive, as well – we’ll have to pay the whole cost of it, no more $100 copays.  Sigh.  Such is the parenting of preschoolers, right?  The money comes in, the money goes out.  I’m so glad it wasn’t a major reaction.  And I’m glad that we had four hours together in a cold, barren treatment room in the ER, when he cuddled up close to me, rubbed my back after I rubbed his (“now it’s your turn, mom”), said I was the best mom ever, said he loved me lots when I made him a nest on the hard plastic bed and covered him with my sweater while we watched Meet the Parents on late night tv.  We have some good moments together, Jack and me.  Four is pretty awesome.

But, just in case, I will not be feeding him shrimp any time soon.

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7 Responses to The Children

  1. Love the unsharpened Hello Kitty magic wand fun!

  2. dinei says:

    So, his reaction could be viral + mild allergy. I have no known allergies, but at a dinner party over the summer my tongue and mouth started to swell up. I saw an allergist soon after. He said that his guess was that I was fighting off the preschool germs as usual and then encountered something to which my body was mildly allergic and my whole system reacted to the combo. (As best as I can remember) He gave me a blister pack of steroids just in case but told me not to worry.

    Is that helpful?

  3. secretstar77 says:

    Because I had a good feeling that this story had a happy (or at least a pricey smiley-faced tushie bandage) ending, I was able to laugh REALLY hard at the self-recognition of your driving baddassery. Awesome and true.

  4. RG says:

    Dinei, that is helpful. Also, I just re-read this, and am resisting the urge to go back and make my tenses consistent. Was, is, are, were . . . whoops.

  5. Vern says:

    Ye Godz. I can only begin to imagine. Glad he’s alright. And nice driving.

  6. Because of my allergies, I’ve been carrying children’s chewable benedryl tablets with me for years (if I don’t, I might be stuck chewing the pink pills, and I really don’t recommend those). Now I carry extra benedryl and two epi pens (one for me, one for Pea) and the time she had a major peanut reaction (when we were a long way from the car and a long way from the hospital) it was nice to be able to feed her the benedryl immediately. By the time we got to the ER, the reaction had all but subsided.

    In any case, I’m hoping the rest of the week went much better!

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