Seven Months

Seven months have floated by since Shade’s brain tubes decided to spray his skull like a citrus grove sprinkler. Seven months of regaining his ability to remember what he ate for breakfast or what he did in class. (Both are still hazy for him, though if you ask him what candy he got for Valentine’s Day, his memory is a high-def video recording. It’s all about priorities.)

It’s also been seven months since Aitza and I have been able to feel completely relaxed and to let down our guards. But at least we have formed a great team together. We anticipate each other’s moves and often work in a seamless ballet of preparations and chores.  Domestic Swan Lake?

This morning was pleasant. Last night, while Aitza was writhing in bed with upset stomach (accompanied by upset nose), I had the kids make a homemade Valentine’s Day card with stickers and hot-glued wooden die cuts. I was trying to make up for Aitza’s birthday, when the kids and I surprised her with bupkis  in the way of creativity. Aitza made it clear that “The kids better make me something, or else!” a request to which I am now fully attuned. What can I say? She likes her gifts to be of the crappy, homemade, disposable kind. Moms?! Give me a gift card any day. (Which Aitza did … Massage Envy here I come.)

The kids crawled into bed with us, and Mami gave them their first of buckets of candy. Valentine’s day is Halloween without the costumes.

I also made Aitza breakfast in bed: hard-boiled eggs, gluten-free toast, OJ, coffee, banana, cottage cheese with peaches, and a big orchid. It was like brunch buffet at the local retirement village. All that was missing was unsweetened oatmeal. I figured she’d be hungry as the night before she didn’t down much. She had asked for soup to settle her tummy but all that was in the pantry was lentil soup, pea soup, pinto beans and potato, broccoli, cheese soup. Pretty much the worst selection of soups if you have the panty splatters. I made her some pea soup but I don’t think she managed it too well.

This reminds me of an incident right after Shade was admitted into the hospital in July. After many worrisome nights and overdoses of hospital food, Aitza had a runny tummy, so we went to the Walgreens across the street to pick up a “settler.” Now, Aitza is very particular about what flavors cross her palate. She might be dying from scurvy, but if the particular citrus that would cure her does not agree with her tastes, she would prefer her teeth falling out and turning jaundice yellow. So when I suggested the Pepto Bismol, she gave her ubiquitous, “Yuck.” (This phrase is so common in her lexicon that it could almost replace “Hello.” The only phrase that could outmatch it is, “That stinks.” Her nose, as you may have guessed, is more sensitive than her tongue. She has smelled my armpits from completely different floor levels.) So Aitza looks up the aisle and says, “Oh, I like the taste of that one.” And promptly chooses the Milk of Magnesia. Bad night. She basically sleeps on the toilet. Turns out, Milk of Magnesia is a remedy for constipation.

I think I might be coming down with the stomach smack, too. I can feel the beginning bubbling; the little belly gnome has started his highland jig. What’s my remedy? Not soup, not Milk of Magnesia, not breakfast buffet. I’m a traditionalist. Beer. It’s helped me handle seven months of trauma and healing. Let’s see what it can do for my guts.

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