Thursday, March 23, 2006


One corner of my house looks like I am a techno-dweeb—two computers up and ready, as one has the DSL but the other has my writing. Another corner looks like I am a handicraft dweeb, sewing and felting projects strewn in a pile. The kitchen looks like I am no kind of dweeb, looks forgotten in a pile of piles.

My daughter has a fever, today, and it makes me so skittery that I cut down my coffee to just one cup, fearing nervous overload. These projects around the house are almost like pacing, trying to keep the worry at bay. When my son is sick, he just lays down and sleeps, which is easy. But Madeleine fights sleep, and needs to describe her misery. I have served her popsicles, apple sauce, ginger ale and orange juice. She asked me to come close, and she laid my head on her chest so she could pet my hair and my arm. “I’d put my head on your chest, mama, but I don’t want to sit up.” She’s sleeping now, fever hovering around 103 degrees.

Once, when she was smaller, she spiked a fever of 107 degrees, and I thought the thermometer must be broken. We went to the hospital. They used a different fever-reducer, simply a different kind we’d run out of. Her fever immediately lowered to 103, and she was happy enough to eat their popsicles. But I’m afraid I was permanently damaged, knowing the thermometer goes so high.

I realize I have not been out of the house for forty-eight hours, though the weather is beautiful. I consider asking my neighbor to come sit with her, but if Madeleine woke without me here, she would panic. It’s no fun to be sick. I will stay. And fret.

What I need to look like is a yoga dweeb, though I am not skinny enough to fit the profile of any yoga dweebs I know. I will go stretch, and try to put away dweebish obsession for an hour, while she sleeps. I will tidy up and finish folding the laundry—after I check her forehead, just one more time.

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