Monday, November 12, 2007

Sick & Tired

I now know one of the first things I'm going to teach my daughter once she is old enough to retain and apply such information. It's a simple bit of manners that, surprisingly and disturbingly, a lot of people actually do not practice. But my daughter will. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD she will, if not for hygiene's sake, than just for my sanity's sake.

When Penelope reaches the age where she can grasp the concepts of "please" and "thank you," I will also make it a point to hammer another chapter from Emily Post's book of common etiquette into her head: Cover your mouth when you sneeze!

For crying out loud, child, if I had a nickel for every time I've been coughed or sneezed on just in the past 72 hours alone, I'd have enough money to buy the Dallas Cowboys. And "how 'bout them Cowboys?" That was for all the Giants fans reading. I've adopted Dallas as my second team this year, since the Jets are so miserable, and I wish nothing less than death for the Patriots, who will inevitably win it all, thus making all of those insufferable Boston fans even more smug with their stupid accents and their creme pies and their tea parties. Did that sound bitter?

Wow do I hate them all. And I don't like to use the word "hate." But I do. I hate them.

That felt good.

Actually, I think I'll root for the Green Bay Packers, because I like Brett Favre and "Packers" is fun to say. Green Bay it is. But once again, I've gotten off topic.

My daughter came down with a cold this week. Correction - my lovely wife gave her a cold. Passed it on as mindlessly and as easily as you might pass the collection basket in church. Not only did she get Penelope sick, she promptly left for the weekend after she did!! A girl's weekend! Isn't that cute and convenient? Did that sound bitter?

"God bless you."

So she left me with this sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy headed, no fever - thank goodness, child. And all weekend long I've been spit on, coughed on, sneezed on, boogered on. She's gross. As gross as the most adorable baby in the world could possibly be. She's disgusting.

"God bless you."

When she sneezes, some foreign mystery substance comes oozing out of her nose. It's a cross between crazy glue and peppermint schnapps. And you should see the snot bubbles that this little girl could blow. I haven't been able to capture one on film just yet. Now I know how birdwatchers trying to spot that rare and elusive Ivory Billed Woodpecker must feel.

"God bless you."

Penelope is actually a very good patient. She's still a happy, playful, hungry baby. She even gets a little grin on her face when I have to use the nasal aspirator on her. I just don't understand why she waits for the moment I'm directly in her field of vision to let loose on a sneeze.

"God bless you."

I actually call it a 'sneeze cycle,' because it starts with the sneeze, then she wipes the snot trickling out of her nose with the back of her hand before I can grab something to wipe it myself. Then I finally procure a tissue or a washcloth or a burp rag, and clean her face and her hand. This causes the back to arch and the child to start growling/wailing (the "grail" I described a few posts back). Then the 'grail' causes her to cough, which starts the whole cleaning process again. Cue the angry baby. And we wrap it up with another sneeze. That was my weekend in a nutshell.

"God bless you."

Since my wife is the source of this epidemic, the wild monkey who started it all and yet does not carry the anteserum, I suggested that moving forward, if one of us gets sick, we should do our best to stay away from Penelope. She said I was 'crazy' and 'unrealistic.' I told her she shouldn't be so 'dismissive' since she 'deserted me with a sick baby while she went off on a road trip with her friends.' But I love her anyway. Always and forever.

I thought I had her won over, until the pediatrician actually told her that getting sick is the best way to build up Penelope's immune system. Great. So now let's take her to the PATH station and rub her face on all of the handrails. It's good for her! Maybe we could find some nice homeless people and have Penelope play with their open sores. Too much?

"God bless you."

It may be good for Penelope if she's sick, but let me tell you something my friend, it is NOT good for me or Penelope or anyone else for that matter if I'm sick. Let me put it this way: my daughter is a much better patient than I will ever be. I am the type of guy who thinks he's dying when he has the flu. You don't want me getting sick. It's good for no one.

But I just sneezed, my throat's getting scratchy, and the one person who did it to me is far from being able to cover her mouth when she sneezes, let alone say, "God bless you."

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