Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Just Call Me Nosy

My best physical feature may be my cute little pointed nose. It is also, however, my Achilles heel.

In high school, my friend in the dramatic arts told me if she was an actress playing me, she would make the character's signature gesture wiping her nose. It's true. My nose runs. Constantly. Since high school, obviously. One close pal of mine calls me her Drippy Nosed Friend. It also turns very red when I'm cold, when I'm crying, or when I'm about to cry -- like a beacon to let onlookers know that some intense emotion is fothcoming. And, worst of all, it is prone to cold sores. Inherited from my father, the mostly latent virus always shows itself on the end of my nose, usually in times of stress or illness, and ironically almost any time I have to get up in front of people or have a formal picture taken.

Whenever I have a cold sore breakout, Hubby, understandably, keeps his distance, and calls to me affectionately from the other side of the room, using the nickname he has coined for such occasions: Nosey. It's not a pet name of which I am particularly fond. I am a bit of a nosy person (it's what made me a good journalist once upon a time). But the strongest association I have with the name is a yellow stuffed lion that my baby brother had when we were kids. He was a big, jolly puppet, with a huge snout punctuated with a round brown nose. Nosey was much loved and extremely bedraggled, and he is still living in my parents' house today.

At least one member of our family has been sick since January 4th. I remember the date specifically because I was congratulating myself on our healthy Christmas season, and then got a killer virus the day my first grader went back to school. I have not been well since. My nose took me down: a cold, allergies, a sinus infection, and then, this Saturday, a major cold sore. In the meantime, the other family members have had one or two colds per person, fevers, and Livie had the stomach flu.

So I am feeling much like Nosey the lion. Bedraggled and loved to death. I thrill to the touch of my little children, truly, but I've been caretaking and handling sick children for so many weeks, that if I was covered in fuzz I think it would be rubbed off me like the Velveteen rabbit's by now. None of the fur has been cuddled off by Hubby, however, since he fears to contract viruses from me, so the sustaining affection from the one source I'm allowed has been denied me.

The wear and tear is beginning to be psychological as well. In the last month, I have been with other adults in the daytime a total of three times, excepting the checkers at Trader Joe's and Target. I've gotten so lonely for companionship that leaving messages for the advice nurse at the pediatrician's office feels like adult interaction, even if she doesn't call me back. If the time number still existed, I would probably call it, just to hear the recorded voice.

But I can congratulate myself on one point. The Nosey of three years ago would never have born the illness and isolation so well as the Nosey of today. I'm finding it pretty bearable. Sewing helps. (I made myself a consolation purse this weekend, along with an unholy mess of thread and fabric, but it was worth it). Blogging is therapeutic too, likewise roaming around on facebook.

And, lovely discovery, I'm finding my three year old Livie is actually lovely company. She is completely happy to stay home all day, every day: rummaging around in her room, dressing stuffed animals in doll clothes, gluing sequins on things, scattering sequins throughout the house. She entertains me with her quaint speeches, and has taken to telling me long, rambling stories about what her favorite stuffed cat Cupcake dreamed about the night before. Yesterday she drew a menu of potential new haircuts for me: five disembodied heads on a sheet of paper, three of which had mohawks -- and then administered my new style with her Barbie beauty set. I guess what I'm trying to say is, in the new year, so far, I'm finding that I actually really like being a mom, illnesses and all.

Today, my nose is almost healed, and is mellowed to a rosy shade of pink, as opposed to bright red. My six year old's fever has broken, and Livie's tummy is all better. God willing, we may be back in the world by Monday, noses and all.

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