31 January 2006


Katrina wants a pet. She's told me wistfully a number of times that she wants a cat or a dog. My answer is always the same: "Papa's allergic to cats and dogs, sweetie. They make him sick. We can't have a cat or a dog." Truth be told, neither Jon nor I are interested in having a pet, anyway, so his very real reaction to cats and dogs is also rather convenient.

About a week ago, she said to us, "Is Papa allergic to bunnies?" (Two of her preschool classmates have pet rabbits.) Jon and I looked at each other, and then he said that he was allergic to anything with fur. "Papa allergic to fishies?" No, I said, Papa was not allergic to fish. (We inherited fish with the ornamental ponds in our back yard.)

Yesterday, walking home from the playground, Katrina said, "Do pigs have fur?"

"No, pigs don't have fur," I said.

"Papa not 'lergic to piggies?"

"No..." I saw where this was going.

"I want a piggie for a pet," she said.


18 January 2006

Still Sick

After several weeks of coughing (both Katrina and me), we were finally forced to explore the German medical system hereabouts. Katrina went to one of the only pediatricians in the area on Monday, who had a bright and cheery office with plenty of interesting toys. She was so intrigued with the examining room, she didn't want to leave. She's 41 inches tall now, and about 39 lbs. That's from the quick math Jon did in his head, as her weight was actually shown in kilograms and height in centimeters. The doc did a quick listen to her heart and prescribed antibiotics and expectorant. She has more energy this afternoon than she's had for a few days (though only intermittantly), so hopefully the meds have started to work.

Me, I've been through two doctors. I made an appointment with an internal medicine doc last week in Kaiserslautern, thinking that with my weird medical history, it might be better to have an internal medicine person than a GP. But I think this guy was more of a specialist than I expected, even though I asked the secretary on the phone if his was a general practice. Plus, 150 euros per visit?

Then he didn't think I had anything that needed antibiotics, even though I had been coughing for 3 weeks. He gave me cough suppressant and expectorant. This was last week. Nothing happened except the cough got worse, I got head congestion added back to the mix, and I started running a low-grade fever yesterday morning. I decided that maybe a family or general pratice doctor closer by might be better after all. So I called (and called and called...apparently not a lot of docs have voicemail) and was able to get in to a family practice doc yesterday afternoon.

He also listened to my breathing, heart, etc., and said I had a minor bronchial infection. (Minor?! I'm coughing up my lungs over here!) I suspect he was also influenced by my mentioning that my daughter had just been diagnosed with bronchitis. And, so I finally got the drugs that I thought I needed a week ago. He gave me free samples, no less! And, cost of office visit: 20 euros.

Since I've had a reaction in the past to a penicillin derivative, no one gives me amoxycillin or the like. No, I got the heavy-duty stuff: Cipro!

Took the first pill last night, but still coughing my head off. I'm hoping that I'll feel better by the weekend. It's been a month solid of one kind of illness or another. It would be nice to feel well again.

05 January 2006

And Now Back to our Regularly Scheduled Program

Katrina returned to preschool on Monday, and the angels sang. And then mom felt guilty for feeling glad. And then Katrina started begging to stay at school for lunch, or, alternately, go to a friend's house. So mom felt not so guilty, since Katrina obviously was as sick of staying in the house as I was (what with the weather and various sicknesses and the fact that absolutely everything closes for holidays, not a lot of outings in the last few weeks). So I signed her up to stay for lunch and the afternoon session today, and she was thrilled. And I dropped her off, and the angels sang, and then...I got all sad and lonely. All day (until 3 pm) without my girl. Oh, she's getting so mature and independent, what will I do when she starts real, all-day school? I'll miss her so much! Boo-hoo!

Even so, I know that I'm likely to be totally annoyed with her within a few minutes of picking her up this afternoon. (She often throws a mild tantrum or whines a lot either in the school parking lot or in the car on the way home. I don't know why--perhaps it's the transition? Or maybe she just likes to save all the joy especially for me?) Ah, the contradictions of motherhood.

We had a lot of snow starting the day after Christmas and continuing until about the 31st. Then it warmed up and started raining. The last two days have been relatively clear but cold. So yesterday, looking at a beautiful blue sky, I thought maybe I should take Katrina to the playground. But it was cold...the high was maybe 35 F. I was uncertain. I mentioned the idea to a few of the moms as we were waiting for our kids at school. Several looked at me like I was nuts and talked about how cold they were. One mom said "You're such a good mom. It's too cold for me." But is it good mom or bad mom to let my child run around in the cold, especially since she and I are still coughing from a cold or something?

Well, I took her to the big playground on base. Absolutely no one was there. A family was leaving just as we arrived, but that was it. But Katrina ran around (in her poufy pink dress, tights, sneakers, and coat with no hat because she will not keep a hat or hood on for more than 2 minutes), slid down the slides, pretended some dirty old snow was food she served me in her restaurant, talked me into pretending to be a monster and chasing her, and generally had a blast. She also had to wipe her nose every 5 minutes. I think her nose runs in the cold like mine does.

She did not want to leave, but after 45 minutes, I was cold and figured enough was enough. We went to the BX and got some hot chocolate for her and tea for me. And were sweltering inside of 5 minutes...it had to be close to 80 in there.

And she still didn't want to go home. She looked at books in the kids' section of the bookstore, and I had to drag her out with promises that she could watch "The Little Mermaid" when we got home.

That's my girl. In preschool in the morning, a quick lunch at home, and then out all afternoon. And still she didn't want to go home. The wide, wide world is so much more interesting.

I know this is long, but since I'm going on (and on) about Katrina this morning, I have to add a short list of questions she's asked me recently, both profound and prosaic.

  • Who killed God? (This after reading a little prayer book that mentioned the cross. Katrina's theological questions and my inadequate answers are topics for a whole other post.)
  • And her follow-up question: Does God live with us?
  • The next day, during her bath, after pretending to be Ariel from "The Little Mermaid" : Does Ariel have a vagina? Does she go pee-pee in the ocean? (After I choked back laughter, I started to think about it--and it's a pretty good question. The mermaids have fins from the waist down. I suppose they'd have to excrete waste like fish do...but how do fish do it? Obviously, my scientific knowledge is also woefully inadequate to answer the questions of a three-year-old.)
  • And today on the way to school: Is God in my tummy? (Um, God is everywhere, honey, but, um, usually we feel God in our hearts, not our tummies.)

OK, I am a college graduate, I read all the time, and I think I have a pretty good grasp of basic Christian theology, science, etc. But Katrina has a way of asking questions that I have no idea how to answer. It's humbling to be outthought by a three-year-old.