Just Another Day Surrounded by Strep and Condoms

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.

Photo by Roland Bello for Goatmilk

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?

7 thoughts on “Just Another Day Surrounded by Strep and Condoms

  1. You are hilarious! I had an especially good laugh at the grilled cheese reward at the end! Ah, guilty small pleasures are so fine. It is always reassuring to know we are not alone. My girl has been on the same every two week sickness schedule. It ain’t easy but we make it work. Hope Mr. Roan is feeling better than good again. Xoxo

  2. Too funny – made me laugh outloud, same as Tammy……not about the condoms, but the grilled cheese !! Been there done THAT ! You are too funny, much like your brother when he gets on a roll. btw, what did Roan think about Mondo winning the Project Runway allstar ? Have a great day 🙂

  3. Once when I was about 14, my mother went to the City Market in Fruita to pick up some groceries. As luck would have it, she also had to pick up some prescriptions. I often refuse to go to that grocery store with my mother because she knows everyone (having grown up there) and therefore a 10-item list often takes over an hour. Well, she got everything she needed and I’m guessing was so involved in conversation with the cashier that she didn’t notice anything odd. When she got home, I did. Apparently, while she was at the pharmacy, my little brother (about 18 months old at the time) was in the front of the cart, filling it up with things hanging on the wall that were right at his height — condoms. There were maybe a dozen or so packets in the grocery bag, which meant that my mother had just spent close to $100 at the store and didn’t even notice that it was a bit high for two bags of food. The best part was that she wanted me to ride my bike back to the store and return them because she was so embarrassed. Because it certainly doesn’t look odd for a teenage girl to try to get a refund on a bag full of condoms 😉

    Needless to say, I refused. And she learned to pay more attention at the checkout counter.

  4. Great story and comments! I sympathize with Roan, as I too have been vomitous today….but that’s a million times more preferable than when I dealt with one of my vomitous boys. Good health to you!

  5. I would have been one of the little old ladies laughing at your boy. Hope no one else caught anything.

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