I’m calling it

By Mir
December 22, 2010

We are now 14 days past when Monkey first fell to the flu, and a week past Otto’s fall (Chickadee fell inbetween the two of them). I’m officially calling this THE YEAR I AVOIDED GETTING THE FLU. Every day for the last two weeks I’ve woken up every morning and laid in bed, tensed with apprehension, doing a quick body inventory. Do I feel hot? Does my head hurt? Is that something weird? I’ve certainly not felt my very best the last couple of weeks, but other than feeling a little rundown (which, HEY, I’m sure that has nothing to do with recent events at all!), it appears my nefarious plan of dousing myself in hand sanitizer fifteen times a day actually worked.

Christmas—such as it will be, this year, anyway—can now commence.

Apparently that means I can continue trying to work while the kids wander into my office fifty times a day and I try to explain that I need to work, I’m sorry, please find something to do, please go pester Otto, hey I bet there’s something good on TV right now, etc. It doesn’t really feel like the most wonderful time of the year. I am only a little bit bitter that the kids were supposed to be gone THIS week (while I’m still working) but now instead we won’t have them NEXT week when I can relax a little.

It feels like a bit of suspended animation, this week, while I work, the kids wander around, and we tread water, waiting for the answers we hope will be coming in January.

Several of you have asked how Monkey is doing, and the short answer is that he’s good. We’ve not had another seizure episode. He’s not running a fever. Most of the time he seems relatively content, other than wanting to be in my office interrupting me and asking whyyyyyyy he can’t. He had a friend over for a while yesterday and lit up and ran around in a way I haven’t seen for longer than I care to admit.

The long answer is that I am hopeful, now that we have this ENT who seems to be on to something, and we’ve gone and had every blood test under the sun so hopefully anything missed so far may be revealed. Sure. I think we’re closer to answers. But Monkey is still not himself. It has become usual for him to disappear in the early evening, and when it occurs to us that we haven’t seen or heard him for a while, one of us goes looking, only to discover he’s put himself to bed and is out cold. It’s happened so many times, now, that it’s become something of a joke.

[Monkey’s explanation: “I just go into my room to do something and I get a little cold? So I figure crawling into bed for a minute will warm me up? And then it’s morning! I think you better give me the goodnight kisses I forgot to get last night, please.”]

His little body is still recovering from the flu, still fighting this mastoid infection he’s had for who knows how long, so extra sleep is a good thing. I’m trying not to get worked up about it.

The last couple of days he’s also wandered off in the middle of the day and taken a nap. Again; sleep is good. Sleep is healing.

But I worry.

Chickadee and Otto both have that lingering chesty cough that’s more annoying than anything else, and I keep cracking jokes about living in a TB ward, but I’m keeping an eye on both of them for signs of bronchitis. So far, so good.

We’re eating out a lot, because I had carefully planned for us to empty the fridge before we all left on our travels, and we didn’t leave but I haven’t quite managed to do thorough grocery shopping and meal planning, so—much to the children’s delight—’tis the season for pizza and tacos and “Good lord, you’re hungry AGAIN? I just fed you yesterday!”

Last night as we drove home from dinner the kids bickered in the backseat over who knows what, and it was on the tip of my tongue to admonish Chickadee for riling up her brother, because I could see he was getting wound up, and his tolerance for stress is even lower than usual (note: I know how he feels…), and before I could say anything, I had a sudden, clear vision of decorating the tree two years ago and how that was such a perfect example of how I wish my kids could be with each other all the time. I felt a pang of… I don’t even know what. Longing for things to be different, I guess.

“Well now you are just being DUMB!” insisted Chickadee. I could hear Monkey’s sharp intake of breath, a sign he was about to completely blow his cool. “Ish,” Chickie added. There was a pause, during which I suspect none of us breathed. “LEE!” she concluded. “You are being DUMBISHLY!”

Monkey burst into laughter, and rest of us couldn’t help following suit.

“That’s not a word,” I offered, as the kids cackled behind me. “But if it was, WHO would be the one acting dumbishly, here?”

The remainder of the drive was spent in a nerdtastic discussion of modifiers, parts of speech, and whether or not suffixes can be added to words at whim. There was plenty of giggling.

And I didn’t get the flu.

So we’re okay for now.


  1. Beth

    I’m glad that you didn’t get the flu. And I’m totally using that word at home. My husband acts dumbishly quite often.

  2. Flea

    SOOOO glad to hear that you don’t have the flu. That everyone is recuperating. That Monkey is catching up on sleep and getting his little self better intuitively. {{{HUGS}}}

  3. Beth R

    Even as she’s being a total 12-year-old girl, Chickadee is still sort of aware of her affect on her brother. Wonderfulishly!

    Big hugs to all of you, but forgive me if I wash in hand sanitizer afterward… just in case :)

  4. Lucinda

    Continued hugs and prayers. I’m very glad you aren’t sick.

  5. s

    don’t forget to breathe – I can just imagine you are holding your breath waiting for answers, waiting for the other shoe to fall, just waiting!

    I totally get you on the kids off from school and working bit – its nice to know my kids aren’t the only ones who constantly interrupt until I finally lose it and say “unless you are bleeding or you notice someone else is, do NOT STEP FOOT IN THIS OFFICE”. yeah, I’m so not a good mom.

    And…my older two have been needling each other constantly the last weeks even more than the last few months. Everything is a competition and the words stupid and dumb seem to be constantly uttered – when I finally said FIND ANOTHER WORD, they came up with “slippery” so now they crack up saying “oh you are just so….slippery”. at least it causes a giggle vs retaliation (Although I have to say, my fave this past summer was “you are so….dum dum lollipop” coined by one of the boys. yeah, we are just so…evolved here in our house!

    if you can find a family whose kids constantly get along, then just let me know – I think even the best of families (and I will admit we are far from that here – I am asking for lots of patience under the xmas tree this year for myself and hoping my stocking is stuffed with peace and understanding for me to use) have bickering and all of that. At least that is what I tell myself!

    take care. and hope you knocked on wood and crossed some fingers on the no flu!

  6. Jessica

    Is this the point where I wonder if Chickadee knew her brother was on the verge of blowing, so she diffused it with humor? If so, good on her! :D

    Here’s hoping that you can relax when the time comes, even though your children aren’t around to help by pouncing on you with love and begging for more food. ;)

  7. Aimee

    I’m so glad you didn’t get fluified. (What? It’s a word. If dumbishly can be a word, fluified is totally a word, too!)

    I’m asking Santa for answers for Monkey and you. And you know, he’s Santa. He can do anything.

  8. diane

    Hope everyone has a happy, healthy, un-dumbishly Christmas. And while I understand your concern for Monkey, I gotta say, I’ve done the EXACT SAME THING about going under the blankets to get warm and then falling asleep. Like, a lot!

  9. Corey

    So glad things are looking up some! Did they test him for mono too?

  10. mar

    My son, now 14, still adds “ish” to any adjective he wants to “soften” – I still love it, but we have had the talk that it isn’t appropriate for his World History term paper ….

    I’m feeling the onset of my 2nd cold in 3 weeks, so bully for you on dodging the flu! I may go off to buy myself a vat of hand sanitizer now, see if I can keep it away this time …

  11. KarenP

    So happy you didn’t catch the flu! Sleep is good!

  12. Angela

    Yay for you being healthy! I feel for Monkey. I’ve been fighting an infection for the last few days and it does make ya want to sleeeeeeep. But the sleeping helps you heal, and it seems to be working. I definitely feel you on Christmas not feeling so wonderful, it pretty much just feels, to me, like a really annoying task this year. My husband was laid off about 6 months ago and has yet to find another job, so we can only afford presents for our ELEVEN nieces/nephews and no one else, including ourselves. Plus I had an ectopic pregnancy last November, and it has not escaped me that this would have been baby’s first Christmas, but it’s not. Meanwhile my husband’s sister is pregnant with her FOURTH, so yeah, that will make twelve. Oh well, whaddyagonnado? We just try to count our blessings, that’s what, and pray for God to take care of the rest. Well Merry Christmas anyway!!

  13. Leandra

    I am knocking on every wooden surface I can find on your behalf! You know, just in case.

    Punkin has taken to falling asleep nearly every time she sits still. I’m starting to think it might have something to do with her freakishly large tonsils and the fact that she sounds like a buzz saw every time she goes to sleep. Pretty, petite 5 year old girls are not supposed to sound like that when they sleep.

    Just think how much awesome downtime you’re going to get next week. I know you’ll miss your kids, but just think, naps WHENEVER you want!!!

  14. Crisanne

    Much as you will miss them next week when you have a break, I see in your tale that Monkey clearly needed to be home to put himself to bed this week as I don’t think that would be so easy to do with their dad. I also suspect that next week could be a very healing time for you and Otto to be together, without work and children, as I feel certain it has been quite a long time since you’ve been without both. Will Santa be making an early visit to your house? If so, I hope it is a magical time!!

  15. 12tequilas

    Hope the “okay” continues. And the silly, as well! I actually had mastoiditis or something akin thereto, but before that I had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what a mastoid was. You’ve not explained what it is, but I guess your readers are so smart (and pretty) that they already know? I thought someone would ask.

    Fun fact: I had to have a mastoidectomy as a result of my whole ear saga, and when I woke up the surgeon informed me that he’d had to move my brain. Apparently, I have a low-hanging brain. That must explain…something. He assured me that he put it back.

  16. Randi

    See! I told you that you may not get it!! And, of course, my reward for that is that I’M sicker than a dog. Thanks, Mir ;)

  17. parodie

    Oh Mir. I wish I could gather up your family in hugs – or at least bring you all a casserole. Keep on keepin’ on!

  18. liz

    I’m doing the ptui thing to keep the evil eye away and prevent you from getting sick.

  19. Tracy B

    So, so does this mean you are driving on Saturday to see the family? Oh, I hope you do get to see some of your family for Christmas.

  20. Brigitte

    Eeeek! HOW could you relax on the fluishness front yet!? You must wait until after the 1st, at least. You’ll have time to be sick in January, right? ;-)

  21. Chuck

    So is there a place where you can buy hand sanitizer by the gallon? :)

    Glad you have avoided the flu so far. Still not too late for a shot, I don’t think…not really sure. My employer was doing them for free one day so that’s where I got mine.

  22. Becca

    I was thinking about Monkey the other day, and a distinction occurred to me.

    Autism is not progressive. It has flares and gets worse because of stressors and yes, illness. But it’s not progressive. It doesn’t get worse permanently. So when you get the infection and whatever else may be going on licked, you’ll find your Monkey again.

  23. My Kids Mom

    I too hope that you haven’t gotten “fluified” (poster Aimee’s word). But don’t celebrate too much or fate will knock you on your ass-ish. We can harbor viruses for a long time without getting sick….

  24. Rachael

    I’m just gonna give you huge hugs, letcha know I’m praying, and go crawl back into my bed under the covers and hide. I’m not dealing with anything right now.

  25. Cele

    My wishes for aa better, healthier holiday season for you and your family. Merry Christmas…

  26. Heather

    Your kids are still pretty dang awesome, as are you.

  27. MomCat


  28. Annette

    I’m sorry it is not the Christmas you planned but praying desperately it turns into the Christmas you need:)

    We are home with the new baby, which is awesome,send Otto to his family and come baby snort with me! Daddy came home early today!!!! with the FLU!!!! I will join you in the fight to stay healthy. And, your patience is much more than mine. I am blaming lack of sleep, total body post partum soreness, engorged boobs, and lack of sufficient help due to sick husband. I, however, chose to tell my monkeyish boy to shut his smartass mouth up. dumbishly would have definitely been a better choice. We DO NOT CUSS AT ALL in this house. So, yeah. Let’s trade prayers, K?

  29. addy

    Happy Thoughts Mir! Happy Thoughts!! Merry Christmas!!

  30. Karen

    So happy to hear the laughter over there :-)

    I suspect the sleepiness is from antibiotics which will knock you down on their own a peg or two. Sleep is good when healing, this is true.

    Happy Holidays to you and yours, Mir. May it be the respite you need and the Joy you deserve.

    And I sure hope you’re taking atleast a few days with your guy to someplace other than the house where you work, fret, clean, and dumbishly fluify.

  31. EmmaC

    Thanks for the check-in. I’ve been thinking about you guys a lot and I’m glad to hear that you’re getting a little breather in the midst of all the confusion and anxiety (and germs). :)

  32. Katie in MA

    If your two very cool kids can have a laughing in-depth(ish)(ly) convo about grammar and the wonder of words, exactly HOW much do you think you should worry about them? :)

    (But I get it. I do.)

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