Monday, February 21, 2011

And Then

And then I took Jemma to the doctor this morning and found out two things, both somewhat alarming.

Thing One:  Jemma has pneumonia-ish.  The doc wasn't positive, but definitely heard some things going on in her lungs that didn't sound great, plus seemed fairly impressed with the horrid sound of Jemma's cough and the weekend I described.  So Jemma's currently on Zithromax and a steady diet of movies, coloring, and yogurt-eating, which unfortunately did not stop the anticipated side-effect of the Zithromax from kicking in just after dinner tonight.

Thing Two:  Jemma weighed 24 pounds on the doctor's office scale.  Now, a month or so ago at her well-child appointment, Jemma weighed 31 pounds on a (different) doctor's office scale.  To be honest, 31 pounds seemed on the high side for her; she's usually 28 or so when she steps her wet little body on the scale at the gym, post-pool.  BUT EVEN SO.  This means that, in the course of the last month, between the "I-don't-like-French-toast" in Jamaica and the four-day sickness last weekend, she has lost about four pounds, bringing her weight to that of a hearty 18-month-old.

I bought Ensure at Target tonight and will take your advice in the comments below.


I started reading Just Kids by Patti Smith this weekend.  I'd heard part of a Fresh Air interview with Smith months ago and was intrigued enough to grab the book off the library shelf the last time I was there.  My first impressions are that Smith and Mapplethorpe lived during a very interesting moment in American history (NYC art scene in the 60's), but that Smith's words don't do justice to the events they experienced.  Her writing style reminds me of nothing so much as the way my second-graders used to spin their tales during weekly Writer's Workshop, beginning every new paragraph with "And then . . ."

I had to have an intervention with my second-graders one day.  I wrote the word "then" on the whiteboard, drew a big X over it, and held a brainstorming session to come up with other transitional prepositions.  We banned the word "then" from their writing.

This was especially on my mind tonight when, during dinner, I had to endure Annie's re-telling of today's episode of Word Girl.  It's her favorite show ("Word Girl's my favorite!  I never miss Word Girl!") for reasons I can't really fathom (a monkey named Captain Huggie-Pants?), and tonight I sat bleakly through what might have been the longest, most non-sensical plot summary ever:

"So, Mom?  On Word Girl?  OK, there was a boy named Toby.  He had this robot?  And the robot's arm . . .  and then Toby had a DREAM that this girl was trying to . . .  and then there was a bad guy trying to rob a bank but . . ." 

Her voice faded in and out as I coached myself silently to maintain eye contact and make appropriate facial expressions throughout, thinking the whole time that I really need to track down a chart I remember reading long ago (by Swistle?) that gives points to parents for enduring various annoying parenting tasks, one of which was being forced to listen to the plot of a show or movie.  (Anyone?  CBHM?)

After dinner, and after Jason called five minutes after the time he had said he'd be home to say he was "on his way" (this did not go over particularly well), and after I'd given the girls their baths and let them draw all over the tub with bath crayon, I fled to Target.  (For the Ensure.  Also: coffee creamer, La Croix, snacks and activities for our upcoming train trip,  and cute dollar bin thank-you notes.)  And there, on an end-cap in the books section, was the paperback of Just Kids - with a little "National Book Award" sticker on it!

What?  Patti Smith writes the grown-up, artsy, rock-star version of "And Then" and she gets a National Book Award for it?  Because that's what it reads like so far.  So far, it's

"One day, Robert and I moved into a sleazy hotel and got lice.  And then we moved into the Chelsea Hotel and met famous people.  And then Robert thought it seemed okay to have sex with male prostitutes and get gonorrhea and give it to me!  And I didn't really mind.  And then I took Janis Joplin back to her room.  And then I had a boyfriend who had sex for money to support his heroin habit.  And then I wrote some poems . . ."

I mean, I know it was the sixties, but COME ON.  I am still reading it, though, because I think she's going to meet Andy Warhol, and then it might get good.


  1. Haha! This cracked me up! I have "Just Kids" on my nightstand. Sounds like I might just put in on the bottom of the pile!

    I know exactly the post of which you speak and I'd bet my left pinky that it's by Swistle. But I have no idea where it is. (She used to have a sidebar with "favorite posts" in it but I just checked there and didn't see it. Hmmmm...)

  2. I think you could give Jemma a good bowl full of just peanut butter or almond butter. Protein, somewhat healthy fat...Rowan has started requesting it by the spoonful and it's just about the only protein she'll go for. And then Jemma can wash it down with a little Ensure as well.