We are in the midst of studying the Civil War in school. Last week, we studied the war up to the battle at Gettysburg and the kids memorized parts of The Gettysburg address, which means that I worked on memorizing it too. Their memories are much better than mine however. I have loved digging into this part of history, though reading some accounts aloud has been difficult to do without weeping.
We are also in the midst of a second wave of sickness. The first one started at the beginning of Februrary and lasted almost three weeks, taking the first four victims by storm and then slowly wearing down the last two survivors until they succumbed almost two weeks later. This sickness involved fever and coughing. The coughing lasted a week after the fever ended. It was the coughing that brought down the last two holdouts. Who can avoid the germs when they are being flung through the air like grenades by the majority of people? For two whole days, children lay silently on our long, curving sofa watching all sorts of movies and shows, listening to books on tape and taking naps. I was using all the artillery in my arsenal--Vick's vapo rub, expectorant, mister, lots of cups of lemon slices steeped in hot water and honey, hot water bottles, lots of vitamin C pills and early bedtimes for all. We also canceled every single outside activity for the two main weeks we were sick, including uninviting an out of town guest to spend the night--not that she really wanted to stay in a great germ battlefield. My goal of insulation was not only to prevent others from being attacked by our germs, but also to prevent any other germs from infiltrating our house and further weakening our weakened immune systems. Near the end of the sickness, with the few people who were recovering to help, I mounted a final campaign against those germs by cleaning the entire house, including the knobs of every door, drawer and cabinet. For a brief, sweet time, the germs were decimated and retreated to some other house and once again, the melodious sounds of yelling, whining, complaining, as well as bomb, gun and crashing sound effects rang through the house.
Earlier this week, Jessi woke up with a fever and complaining of a headache and sore throat. John also complained of a sore throat for a couple of days. Jessi was crying so much about her sore throat that I made her gargle with salt water. I also took her to the doctor, since I knew that strep throat was attacking families. If strep throat had broken through our flanks, I was going to bring the big guns, penicillin, as soon as possible. This time, Jessi was confined to her bedroom for long periods of time, where she could nap and read, both for pleasure and for history. We cleaned the refrigerator, in case any germs were trying to hide out and survive in the cold. It REALLY needed to be cleaned anyway. John never developed a fever and stopped complaining after the second day. Jessi's fever broke by the second day. So far, no one else is showing symptoms of being engaged in a battle of the immune system. This is a good thing, because our weekend is VERY full with a Cubmobile build day, a sock knitting class for me, and a birthday party for John, who will be turning 6 on Monday. We really don't have time to be sick. So tomorrow, we initiate yet another offensive on germs, cleaning every surface, every knob and handle. I might even spray down the LEGOs that we have with germicide, all ten containers of them. We have them loosely organized by function--units, lines, areas, volumes, angles, rotating pieces, people and their accoutrements, doors/windows, round pieces and the "what is this?" bin. And we have a lot of them as the kids have accumulated at least twenty or so kits, big and small, over the past four years. Considering the party will involve building Lego creations, however, it is probably necessary, in case any germs have managed to survive and multiply. It is not a job that I am looking forward to doing. However, I believe that it was William T. Sherman who said, "War is hell."