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Family Story: Peeling the Layers

N. Greene

It’s just a regular Monday morning: the usual flurry of lunch bags and kisses and lost shoes. With my gleaming, space-age, newly Pesachdig kitchen winking in the background, I’m particularly eager to get the kids off to school. Finally, finally, the schlepping, shopping, scrubbing, and kashering is done. As soon as the kids are off and the baby settled, I can start on the task I love most: cooking.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Yerachmiel’s teacher tells me that he’s not himself, he threw up, and can I come and get him? No problem. “Plans change,” I tell my baby as I lift her up from her nap and strap her into the car seat. At school, I bend down to my little man and kiss his forehead. It’s cool. That’s a good sign, I tell myself. Still, he’s so tired that the teacher has to carry him out to the car for me.

He climbs into his seat. “My head hurts,” he says. I take another look. He really does look nauseous — why did I send pizza for a snack? — and he rubs his head. “It hurts,” he says. Mother’s instinct makes me grab a bag and push it in front of his face. He is promptly sick again.

Back home, Yerachmiel tells me that he just wants to rest. Good plan, I say, and I place him not in his own bed — the upper bunk — but in his brother’s bed where I can reach him in case he needs help. Yerachmiel is annoyed at the change, but the baby is cranky and I throw him a few soothing words before going out to deal with her. When I’m done, I check up on Yerachmiel again.

Ugh. He was sick again, and he was so tired that he must have fallen right back asleep. If I think of all the Pesach cooking I was going to get done today, I’ll only get frustrated, so I firmly shelve my plans. I wake my little boy and clean him up, trying to keep calm although he’s crying and the baby’s screaming. I shower him down and put on some warm pajamas. As I put my arms around him, he crumples into them. I lay him down on the bathroom floor and he closes his eyes. When I move him, he moans that he just wants to sleep.

This isn’t right. I lay him down in bed and reach for the phone to call the doctor. He talks about fluids and keeping him hydrated — I’m a mother, I know this stuff, but something still nags at me. I throw the dirty linens into the machine and call my husband.

 

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