Last week H.o.p. said, “Childhood is a lot like a long field trip.”
He wasn’t saying that this week.
We have had colds. H.o.p. had a bit of a fever with his the first couple of days and then was left with with nose misery and a cough. This is the best he’s done with a cold, endeavoring to be brave throughout. Until Wednesday morning when the nose misery hit him and he broke down in tears. He fussed at me for a while and every few minutes would say he was sorry, he really didn’t want to fuss at me. Then he’d fuss again after a bit and say he wanted his daddy, not me. Then he’d cry again and say he wanted his mommy. Eventually I got him to take Tylenol and promised him he’d feel better soon. I was doing those mom things that one days with a child who’s feeling bad and keeps crying. Or maybe other moms don’t turn into sorry ass clowns. “Fifteen minutes and you’ll be feeling better,” I said, clowning in place and hoped what I was promising would turn out to be the truth.
“I want something to cheer me up,” H.o.p. cried, my clowning obviously not doing the trick.
No ideas I could muster were cheery enough. So I said, “Why don’t you call your daddy and have him tell you a joke.”
Wandering the floor with tissue hanging three feet out his nose, H.o.p. wailed, “No! My daddy always tells bad jokes!”
That got a laugh out of me. A little tiny, between my pained, sinus-embittered teeth snicker. I’ve always told Marty he tells bad jokes. It’s an endearing trait. But it was some satisfaction to hear our son give confirmation.
But then H.o.p. decides he wants to talk to his dad (again, plaintive calls having been made earlier). We call. H.o.p. promptly hands me the phone and runs off. “What’re you up to?” I call to H.o.p., his dad on the line, waiting. I turn as H.o.p. enters the room again and…
He has a blue bandaid stuck on his nose over his cherry red nostrils.
He did this with a cold last year.
I start laughing one of those small laughs.
“What’s up?” Marty asks.
“I can’t tell you,” I say. “He’ll get upset with me for laughing.”
Then I look at H.o.p. again and the laugh gets bigger. I try to stop it because he’s not appreciating it, and I manage to silence it a second, then I start snickering again, and then laughing. One of those laughs that you think well now you’re done laughing and wham it hits afresh and you’re helpless.
“Do not laugh at me crying!” H.o.p. says, which surprises me as we’ve never laughed at his crying. He just turned eight last week. Maybe it’s an eight-year-old thing.
“I’m not laughing at you crying,” I manage to reply.
“What are you laughing at?”
“The bandaid on your nose.”
“Do not laugh at the bandaid on my nose!” A fresh bout of wailing followed and more fussing.
Then it had been fifteen minutes since he’d taken the Tylenol and suddenly he was smiling and no longer fussing.
So now he’s left with the cough and some congestion and was frustrated enough with the cough he has taken cough medicine a couple of times.
This week was a blur of cough drops, kleenex, Tylenol and not much else. Except for every day something going wrong with the putting together of the new computer. Have been working on this since before Thanksgiving, and the first thing that went wrong was the computer place from which we’d ordered the components accidentally cancelling our order and not letting us know for a week. Then after that the trend of going wrong continued with one thing after another. The new computer finally, as of Saturday evening, sits in the corner, not yet hooked up. And my new monitor. And a new mouse sits in its box on the floor next to me as mine started failing this week and requires me fighting with it to get it to do anything. I guess Sunday evening we do it and I start copying things over. Then I’ve got a couple of websites I do for people that I need to do catch-up on.
H.o.p. was feeling better Saturday afternoon finally and was back to drawing. He didn’t draw much at all this week, didn’t feel up to it. But Saturday afternoon he was drawing people as noses. Imagining what it would be like if people were just about nothing but nose.
An infant niece has the same cold but it developed into pneumonia. She was better Saturday. Last spring she was born about six weeks prematurely. And has grown into the most convivial, easy-going baby.
This afternoon we go to see one of H.o.p.’s cousins (same family as the niece) in a homeschool production of “A Christmas Carol”. They are RC and homeschool RC while, as everyone knows, we’re heathen, but it’s nice to share bits and pieces of what’s going on and to hear about how H.o.p.’s cousin, who is six months younger than him, responds to math exactly as H.o.p. does, no difference, may as well be the same person when it comes to math.
We may be heathen and Marty and I may be total slackers when it comes to the idea of celebrating anything, but this week H.o.p. and I were cheered when there was a knock on the window and there was a UPS person with a box generously containing a “living tree” from said sister. H.o.p. was as excited as could be. “It’s a delight!” he enthused. Things like that sound odd coming out of the mouth of an eight-year-old. Marty’s been down at the studio all day and night all week and when I informed him on the phone of the tree he said, “Let me guess, H.o.p. said, ‘It’s adorable!'” Because that’s what H.o.p. usually says to all things he considers cute, even ugly things he has decided are cute. “It’s adorable!” But this time, after some initial raving about how lucky we were to have UPS drop a tree in our laps, after we got it out of its box and up on the table, he let me know, “It’s a delight!”
It doesn’t smell. The needles aren’t dropping and it is green but it doesn’t smell. I do hope it is alive. I started worrying about that day before yesterday, when I realized the tree, a dwarf Alberta Spruce, doesn’t smell. We didn’t transplant it immediately to a new pot as we didn’t want to stress it too much after its ride to us in the box. Maybe tomorrow. Last year a brother and his wife gave us a Juniper bonsai which died (I still feel bad about that). But we have two grow lights up now and hopefully this tree will have a fighting chance.
Again, we may be heathen but this afternoon will find us watching an RC homeschool group presentation of “A Christmas Carol” and I’ll be rooting for my niece in her many roles and eagerly waiting for Scrooge to learn his lessons from the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. I’m a sucker for “A Christmas Carol”. I used to watch the Albert Finney version every year. I like it when Scrooge gets tipsy on the milk of human kindness. Like the giant spirit of Christmas Present who believes in hearty living. Like it when Scrooge gets up in the morning and rushes out to purchase a big goose, glad he’s not missed Christmas, eager to make amends, and scaring everyone in sight and delighting in it because Scrooge is, after all, somewhat perverse, and if he scared people before with his meanness now he will shock them with his generosity. Some find Albert Finney’s gnarled Scrooge obnoxious and hate the fact it’s a musical, and I could do without some of the lispy singing of cute kids, but Finney does a pretty good job of making believable Scrooge’s reformation in one night. Alastair Sim, in the 1951 film, is too eager to be out of his box, too ready, and can leap too high. The dissolution of Finney’s misanthropy is slightly more complex and is less through his being challenged morally, than being reminded of how he can still feel, that the capacity for joy is still there, which he can only experience after wading the grief of the past. The film doesn’t do a good job with explaining how Scrooge goes from a dancing young man in love to an isolated miser (I read the book to H.o.p. a couple of years ago and can’t recollect how it fares on making this believable) but never mind. The Spirit of Christmas Present sits on Scrooge and tricks him into participating for a change and seems Scrooge is ready to be tricked. He is less inspired by fear than he is released from gray cynicism. And fear.
The thing about Dickens’ Scrooge is that, as a miser, he deprived himself of base and sundry comforts. He ate gruel. He lived in the cold, keeping his fires low. Dickens didn’t make him a person who lived well, denying himself nothing. Maybe Dickens felt it would take more than one night and three spirits to alter the thinking of that sort of person.
I should watch Finney’s “Scrooge” again but I don’t know if I still have it on tape.
H.o.p. comes running up with his toy figure of Aku. “See, Aku’s skin is dark as night, and his mouth is green as the grass, and his beard is red as fire and his nose is bright as a cloud.”
Saturday night, H.o.p. described Aku’s nose, comparing it to something else, I don’t recall what. Then he said, no, that was not good enough, too ordinary, he needed to think of something else, which is when he decided to compare it to a bright white cloud.
And with that little bit of information, I’ll end this post about nothing much.