Friday, August 06, 2004

The pleasure of her company

When we picked up Helena last night, she ran to greet us at the door. Maybe she likes us after all.

Helena is obviously not herself — I concede, she's a little sick. However, though she's warm to the touch, the thermometer reading is normal. So reports of "great fever" I continue to believe were exaggerated.

I tend not to believe people about being sick. When they crawl into bed for the day, or run to the clinic, I think they're whiners. I like to believe I'm a tough cookie with a high pain threshold. But then it occurs to me that maybe they're really ill; maybe if I had what they had I'd crumble too. Of course, they simply think I'm cold-hearted and unempathetic and never fall prey to their strains of flu. I think they're weak.

How can pain be made objective?

I fear this attitude may quite literally prove to be the death of me. That ache or itch will go unheeded and days hence will wake me in the night and I'll find myself in my final throes.

I imagine wild scenarios: if Helena's not back to her old self soon I'll get to a clinic, where the doctor will scold me for not having brought her yesterday. Yet this fear isn't strong enough to trump my certainty that it's nothing serious and she just needs a little rest and TLC. Is it commonsense or denial?

My mother-in-law is convinced that it's tonsils that ails Helena. I'm skeptical. Paticularly when by her own admission Helena won't let her look in her mouth. I'm convinced her excitability and over-concern lead Helena to act more sick in her presence.

She may be right about the tonsils, but for the time being I have an overpowering urge to be contrary. I suppose this is typical competition-for-territory behaviour we all engage in with our mother-in-laws, but I really am going to have to get over it.

I'm afraid that she's not just spoiling Helena, but ruining her. Giving her full-strength juice, and lots of it. Spoon-feeding her. Picking her up every time she cries. Heavens! What if Helena grows to like her more than me?

J-F and I ordered pizza last night. Helena was still up when we placed the call, and as we flipped the glossy, 4-colour pamphlet around, Helena distinctly said, "Pizza!" and then again when the box showed up at our door. We're baffled at this outburst. Of course, we like to indulge in the occasional take-out pie (though we have yet to find one we really like in this town), but always after she's gone to bed. And the frozen pizzas she glimpses at the store (or in our grocery bags) don't even remotely resemble the grey cardboard box that was delivered last night. I'm surprised at Helena's being able to articulate not the word itself, but the concept. There is no pizza pictured in her baby vocabulary books.

Our fingers point to J-F's mother.

Helena and I went for a walk this morning. A little fresh air never hurt anyone, and it could only do her some good. Besides, it's not like she'd be over-exerting herself sitting in her stroller. A quick stop at the bank machine...

(You know how when you're standing in line, and the person in front of you steps forward, then the person behind you automatically steps forward, severely encroaching on your pesonal space, even though you yourself haven't budged an inch? I hate that. I'm all for the efficient use of space, but pay attention. There's plenty of room for everybody and you're still going to have to wait the same amount of time.)

...before picking up some cheese and tomatoes, and we wandered home via the park.

At Helena's insistence she was unbuckled and let free, free to chase a pigeon for 10 minutes (the very same bird — pigeons are so stupid) and practice negotiating the steps. Ducks and dogs both elicited giggles. How sick can she be?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow...you're mean eh?

:-)!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Isabella said...

I'm a bitch. In my head, anyway — it's not like I ever have the balls to say anything.