Sicily climbed in the back and I asked her how her day was.
"Mom, something bad happened. I lost my apple because of Julian."
I was alarmed and confused. Sicily doesn't eat apples. And even though this was only day two of school, I could tell she had a yen for Julian. Day one she couldn't stop talking about how funny he was, how weird it was that he ate sushi for lunch, and how he addressed her as "mister."
I asked her to elaborate. She explained that all the kids have apples on the tree, and if you break a rule, you have to take down your apple and put it in the basket for the day. I asked her what she did.
"I wasn't listening to the teacher."
"Who were you listening to?"
She sighed. "Julian."
Tonight, after Sicily and I circled six blocks twice after dinner, her biking and me running to keep up with her, she was getting ready for bed and I was waiting to read. All of a sudden she turned around and said,
"Mom, my ear just popped really loud and now it hurts really bad."
Since she hasn't been able to breathe for two days, I was immediately worried. I pulled out the otoscope, which was handy since I had just used it Sunday to locate a tiny pebble against John's eardrum that had to be surgically removed on Monday morning. It's been a bad ear week. I can count on one hand the number of ear infections Sicily has had in her life, and I think it has been a couple of years since her last. But sure enough when I looked, the eardrum was cloudy and opaque and there was a rim of redness at the base.
Luckily, we had antibiotics handy at the house, and dosed her up. She was still complaining of pain, and we were out of Tylenol, but I located some liquid Tylenol with codeine at the back of the medicine cabinet that had been prescribed for John when he had his adenoids out in February. We had filled the prescription, but never used it. I looked at Ike and said, "This should be OK, shouldn't it? It'll knock her and the pain out. I'll get someone to stay home with her tomorrow." He agreed.
I suspected something was awry when I was trying to read her book. She likes her reading time, and can focus easily at six, unlike John. Instead of reading, she wanted to play "Miss Mary Mack" hand games she was learning on the playground, and I remembered most of the words, so I complied. She kept becoming more manic and confused in her elaborate clapping and crossing gestures, and I couldn't keep up. When I came back to sing to/with her, she wanted to talk about Julian instead of song, and started telling story after story of their daily interactions, comments, and facial expressions to each other, all the while flopping around on the bed and rolling her eyes around in her head like a possessed child. After each story she would demand my comparison with loud, clipped speech: "Now mom! Which one did ya like better? Huh? The one where I sneaked up on him in recess or the one where he looked at me like this in Spanish class? Which one? Huh? Tell me, tell me! Now, I have another one." After I put that to a stop, she insisted on song anyway and despite her calm choice, she thrust her foot in my face, insisted I use it as a microphone, and grabbed my foot to sing along a potty humor parody of the beautiful tune.
After I finally thought I settled her down, she started coming out of her room every 30 seconds with a complaint "My ear still hurts! There is a bad taste in my mouth!" It was reminiscent of John's worst three year old moments, and very uncharacteristic of her. I told Ike, "It must have been the codeine. I can't think of any other reason she would be acting like this. It's my fault." So when she collapsed in hysterics on the floor of the den after toothpaste would not cover up "the sickness in my mouth," I finally went in to read and lay down with her until she fell asleep. As her body twitches announced her entrance into slumber, I sighed with relief. And vowed that I would never again give her codeine.
I'm gonna have to meet this Julian.