Monday, February 01, 2010

Coughing, French, and Hitting

Everyone at our house is sick, except for me. It’s kind of nice but will probably catch up to me in the end. Last night our house echoed with various coughs—Andrew’s hacking from the pillow next door, Rachel’s persistent coughing from her bed, and Miriam’s quiet and pitiful coughing from the bassinet next to our bed. Cough, cough, cough.

This morning Miriam got up at seven, but I nursed her back to sleep and we slept until 9:30 when she decided she was up for good. Not wanting to wake up the other sickies in our house, I played with her quietly on our bed, fed her some, and then took her potty.

While she was sitting on the potty the doorbell rang.

“Hey, Andrew!” I said since my hands were full.

He didn’t stir. The doorbell rang again.

“Andrew!” I said again. No response.

The doorbell rang again.

“Andrew, can you get up to get the door?”

Whoever was at the door was persistent. They started knocking.

“Andrew, really. I’m sorry to wake you up, but it is almost eleven o’clock and someone’s at the door and Miriam is currently going to the bathroom so I can’t just leave her…”

Andrew got up, wrapped a blanket around himself, and went to answer the door.

It was my friend Françoise; she had agreed to give me some French lessons and I completely forgot. How embarrassing for Andrew! At least our house was decent since we remembered to have “clean up” time with Rachel before bed.

French lessons went well enough. Françoise brought some books for me to read…for ages 7 and up. I understood most of what I read and I even understood a lot of the questions that she asked me. Answering those questions, however, was harder than hard. I haven’t spoken French in forever! She kept laughing to herself as I stumbled through words, fighting off Italian and Spanish pronunciations or, at times, struggling for any words to say at all. It will get better with time, I’m sure.

Later in the day, probably in the early afternoon, we gathered for prayer in what Rachel calls a “happy family” hug. The “happy family” hug includes Mommy, Daddy, Rachel, and Miriam, hence the name. The “getting married” hug, on the other hand, usually includes only Mommy and Daddy at first but then there’s this special part in the middle where Rachel crashes into our legs and joins our hug screaming, “Awww! Getting married!”

Anyway, so we had gathered in a “happy family” hug and while we were all together, anyway, I suggested that we take the time to have family prayer and no sooner had I done so than Miriam spat up.

Since Rachel was clinging to mine and Andrew’s legs and I was holding Miriam, Miriam’s head was positioned squarely above Rachel’s when she let loose.

Suddenly Rachel was a flurry of limbs as she batted at her hair and danced around screaming,

“I need a burp cloth! Get me a burp cloth! Somebody, please!?”

She is rather opposed to spit-up. While Andrew and I were in the kitchen getting things to carry to the table for dinner, leaving Rachel and Miriam unattended. Andrew walked into the dining room and Rachel was drumming on Miriam’s head chanting,

“No spitting-up! No spitting-up! No spitting-up!”

She was sent to her room for the sake of poor Miriam’s head. A few minutes later, after Rachel had stopped screaming, I went in to talk with her.

“Why are you in timeout?” I asked.

“I don’t know!” she wailed, “Daddy did it!”

“Think. Why are you in timeout?”

“Because I got in trouble.”

“Yes, but why did you get in trouble?”

“Because I…didn’t follow the rules.”

“What did you do, exactly?”

“I hit Miriam. Lots of times.”

“Right. Why did you do that?”


“Yes, why?”

“She spat up!”

“What do we do when babies spit up? Do we hit them?”


“What do we do, then?”

“We…use a burp cloth!”

“Yes! We get a burp cloth and we gently wipe the baby. Do we ever hit our baby?”


“Can you go apologize to Miriam and give her a little hug?”

“Okay. Ummmm…can I give her a tight hug instead?”

Rachel crossed her arms and squeezed herself until she was shaking with effort to demonstrate what she meant by tight.

“No. Just a little hug. A soft one.”

Rachel ran off and apologized kindly to her sister. She begrudgingly apologized to her daddy, too. Sometimes I wonder what’s running through her head. Why would she think that would be an okay thing to do?

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