Since Roan missed school one week ago due to a vomitous illness, I arranged my regimented and highly accurate schedule to reflect him not being sick again until sometime mid-May. Imagine my surprise when I noticed that his back felt like fire on the walk home from school Tuesday afternoon, just one week after kicking the last illness. Roan further defied my schedule by percolating his fever to a full-blown 103 degrees around 2 AM.
A few hours later, my buddy the unlicensed but highly qualified Doctor Kara Knott, who has a promising future in the Carnival guessing people’s illnesses (she has accurately nailed my strangest afflictions, even when doctors couldn’t) immediately wondered to me if it could be Strep. I grabbed a flashlight, had my eldest stick out his tongue and got an eyeful of white pustules camping out on his tonsils.
I began rescheduling and thinking and planning and checking my credit. Credit with friends. Who is going to be lucky enough for me to give them no notice and ask if they can watch a baby while I take Roan to the doctor? I submit to you that it is a ridiculous thing to even consider taking two toddlers and one pustule-tonseled big kid to the doctor when I do not own a car and have no more than two arms. Before I could make my way through my self-inflicted credit check, Kara called and said she was taking a baby and that I should get on my way. Lucky me that she re-arranges her life behind the scenes to accommodate mine. She’ll never let me know what she’s had to move around or who she’s had to cajole – she just shows up. And even luckier me that my friend Lola is very much the same way. I think if Anson and I were to be plucked off this Earth at the same time, I’d just have these two women rotate Smitty and Shep between their homes. They live across the street from one another, so the logistics would work. Also, the babies adore them. Smitty blows kisses at Lola’s house, and Shep stands at our front gate and belts out, “K-AAAAAAA-AAAAAAAAA-R-A!!!!”
Roan of course would be sent to live with Tim Gunn.
A speedy in-then-out of the doctor’s office confirmed Strep, and we went to the pharmacy in Rite Aide to get some antibiotics. Poor Roan was still feverish like crazy, so he sat in a blue vinyl chair, sandwiched between two blue-haired elderly ladies. I kept my eye on them because those older Brooklyn ladies are a dangerous bunch. I simultaneously began the task of trying to present the facade of a mother who knows how to keep her really really bored toddler named Sheppard on his best behavior in public.
Sheppard was actually in a great mood, but eager to be busy. He’s a guy who loves to pick things up and then put them away. So I grabbed an empty basket and let him drag it along the floor. He would put various items in it, then I would put them away. As luck would have it, the store’s entire selection of condoms, sexual lubrication, pregnancy tests, drug tests, and dubious erection potions were all located at toddler-height, precisely in front of the pharmacy.
Now. I suppose I could have relocated Sheppard to a different isle for propriety’s sake. But I didn’t, because:
a) I didn’t want to leave Fever-Roan alone with those cagey ladies,
b) watching my 16-month-old Sheppard pull inappropriate items off the shelf, inspect them, nod his head emphatically, say, “Yeh!” then put them in his cart and applaud himself over and over until his little cart was full of condoms, lube, and dubious other items was exactly the stuff I needed for a big laugh.
The older ladies, not so much amused.
Thirty minutes later, with a prescription of antibiotics and everything put away nice and neat (you’re welcome, Rite Aide!) we hailed a cab and got home. I picked Smitty up from Kara’s house, who was just about to feed him lunch. She transferred his lunch into a container, and sent enough for Shep. I crossed the street to our home, and built Roan a nest on the couch. The babies were ready for lunch and I looked at it – a gooey buttery amazing looking grilled cheese, with Jarlsberg cheese on Brioche bread cut into perfect tiny squares. I had no choice, considering the day – busy and stressful. I prepared the twins a crappy peanut butter sandwich and as I fed it to them, treated myself to the most delicious grilled cheese sandwich ever. Who says being a mother is hard?