When Piper is sick, she wants soup. Lots of soup. Noodle soup. Pasta fagioli. Tomato Soup. Repeat.
While slurping up her tomato soup today, she decided that cheddar bunnies would be better than crackers. It’s Piper’s version of a grilled cheese, which she loathes: “It’s smashed bread and cheese! What’s the big deal?”
So the bunnies took a yummy dive and Piper said, “Mom, there is a pool party going on in my tummy. I’ve invited these cheddar bunnies. Hope they can swim!”
Piper wants me to blog about her strep throat. Again. Because she has it again. Ouch.
“Tell them I’m really sick, Mom.”
“You said it doesn’t hurt. And you’re dancing.”
“Yeah but that won’t get me any sympathy at all.”
Poor Piper. Skipping around our house with 103 fever begging for her next dose of Amoxicillan because she loves, loves the flavor. She claims that swallowing doesn’t hurt. Her tonsils are so swollen that her voice sounds funny. She’s either the toughest kid on the planet or a complete liar.
“Oh, and tell them Dad smells like pizza. He does.”
Do you remember your childhood puke pot? You know the one. You can’t hang out in the bathroom all day when you’re sick, so your mom or dad would make you lug around the puke pot just in case. They pushed it in your direction every single time you coughed. Just in case. Our family’s was a cast iron pot with a broken handle. You had to carry one size by the exposed screw. We all remember it fondly. Yesterday, Piper earned her very first puke pot.
It’s a bit too upscale for its purpose if you ask me. It’s my favorite stock pot from William Sonoma. My stews will probably never taste the same. I offered a plastic cleaning bucket, but Piper had an opinion about that. “It smells! I’m not going near that thing!” As if what she was planning on doing in it was going to smell like roses. Eww.
So everywhere Piper went, her puke pot did too. Luckily, after a few doses of antibiotics, it didn’t get much action. I knew Piper was feeling better when the puke pot got turned upside down into a stage for the My Little Pony show. Normally I dread these performances, but I was so relieved to see some energy back in the Piper and a tiny smile that I cheered Buttercup and Twinkle Toes on. And they made it through the entire show before Piper had to borrow back their stage. It was a grand finale I’ll never forget.
When Piper woke up this morning with a raging fever and a sore throat, I wanted to cry. But I can’t. I’m the mom. So I gave her a dose of ibuprofen, stripped off her sweat soaked pajamas, and brought her to our bed. We cuddled and talked about how stinky it is to feel sick. “I know what would make me feel better,” Piper said.
“Anything, baby. What?” I asked.
“Hot noodle soup.”
“But you ate all the noodle soup yesterday,” I reminded her. “We’re all out.”
Tears welled in Piper’s eyes. Okay. Okay. I can make a fresh batch. From scratch. Before 6 a.m. Fine. I diced and simmered the broth. I boiled the noodles. I buttered a fresh slice of bread. Then I fed it to Piper with a spoon. She said her throat felt better. She said it would feel even better if she could watch Word Girl on the couch. I’m a sucker, I know.
A few hours later, after the fever broke and some of Piper’s energy returned, after the negative strep throat test and doctor’s visit, I brought her another bowl of hot noodle soup. Piper peered into the bowl at her beloved carrots and celery floating in a fragrant bath of broth and noodles and said, “Mom, I don’t do leftovers.”
Ugh. Either Kathleen Turner is hiding in Piper’s bedroom or we’re headed down the sick path again. The raspy voice. The sweaty forehead. The cuddles from my normally bouncy girl.
“Can you make me my tea?”
One cup of orange spice with 1/4 cup apple juice, a tincture of echinacea, 2 tbsp honey, and 2 ice cubes coming up. With a straw.
Piper assesses how sore her throat is. “It feels like there’s a pretzel stuck in there.” As bad as that sounds it’s not as bad a the time she said she thought she’d swallowed glass. That was the dreaded strep throat. Double ugh.
I check her temperature. Again. I dole out ibuprofen. I wish for the hundredth time I had magic pills to give my kids when they’re sick. I wish I could go through it for them. Piper’s glassy eyes get glassier.
“Will you nap with me?”
Of course, baby. I could use the reserves, too. Who knows how long this will last? I already miss the Piper a.k.a. my squirrel on crack.
Her dad takes her upstairs for a quick bath and brings her back down weepy and wrapped in a towel. “She says you do it better. She just wants you,” he reports.
I warm a bowl of noodle soup. I blow dry her hair while she slurps.
“I know what we need,” I say. “Cherry Garcia. STAT!” Piper nods and takes her medicine.