Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sniffle Season in Minnesota

October has offered the Matron and her family its usual bluster and blow: crisp mornings and cold houses, rooms that were once hot now requiring slippers and long sleeves. This month also introduces the entire state to the Head Cold (aka Cough or Sniffles) who will never quite leave until April, simply changing form and crouching in dark corners, waiting to retool and leap again. Head Cold is a seamless entity -- if not nestled solidly in your own house, he is visiting the neighbor until it is time to cross the street and slip through your window, again.

Merrick has missed three days of school. Head Cold has shimmered into the shape of Cough for awhile, bouncing back and forth between Merrick and Scarlett. The Matron imagines him a thin veil, spread between her family, in various stages of advance and retreat for the next few months.

Head Cold, in honor of your arrival, one of the Matron's favorite poems:

Life With Sick Kids

One child coughs onnce
and is sick for nearly eight weeks, then the other child coughs so
hard he nearly vomits, three weeks, and then
stops and the first child cuoghs a first cough,
and then the other delicately and dryly begins to cough,
death taking them up and shaking them
as kids shake boxes at Christmas. So in bed on the
third day of the blood when it would be
almost safe to use nothing,
just a tiny door left open for a resourceful child,
I cannot see or feel or smell you, I keep
thinking I hear the unconceived one
cough a little introductory cough.

Sharon Olds


Head Cold made a strategic turn into Fever and felled young Merrick, that quick. No school in the morning, as he is nursing a temp of 102. Oh, Head Cold, you have mercurial timing. Tomorrow the Dean is going to attend the Matron's morning class, to review her for Style and Pedagogical Flair. She even ironed her clothing for the occasion. And tomorrow, Scarlett must be conveniently driven to a workshop in the far west and rehearsal in another state (No Mary Poppins-Frau Schmidt till Tuesday) while another parent must attend a meeting at Stryker's school. Call down, Head Cold! We have a long season ahead.


justhay said...

Oh no, out damn head cold, out!!

Do you have to take special precautions with your little isolation tent and doctor hand-picked by the theatre company? ;)

Love your first paragraph, damn you can write woman!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

That is life with kids all right.

MamaBird said...

We're actually visiting with the forceful expulsion of bodily fluids spectre at the moment, thank you. But I know the coughing will be here soon! Love that Sharon Olds poem, tx.

Daisy said...

Airborne. Vitamin C. Hand santizer. I spend five days a week with 26 germ-spreaders; I pull out the heavy arsenal when cold season starts.

Ree said...

It took all 4 of us down this year - for the first time in forever.

I feel your pain. We're waiting for it to go around again.

Kelly said...

Sharon Olds is the best. My favorite poet next to Jane Kenyon.

Nora Bee said...

Head Cold has come to Seattle too, I'm afraid. Last winter it stayed a few choice weeks as I was finishing my diss....good luck!

Angie said...

It is truly the worst part of this long season we are heading into.

Lucky for me, my kids are somewhat shielded from whatever the latest thing is that is sweeping through school:)

We catch it on the weekend when the friends invade! Makes me want to make everyone who enters wear a mask.

phd in yogurtry said...

Get well quickly, little matrons. We've got some coughing and scratchy throats but it's "only" ragweed and cedar elm.