It's been a mixed week at Chez MIA.
The kids came back on Monday morning Sick As Dogs.
(Don't ask me why I describe it like that. It was my Nana's saying. But I never quite understood why when we're feeling totally crap, we describe it as being Sick As A Dog. I mean how sick does a dog actually get? And why are the poor buggers always coming down with something?)
Anyway, 6 GP visits, (8 if you count mine), and 4 times emptying my bank account at our local chemist later, the kids are finally on the mend.
The bad news is that I have now succumbed to the dreaded lurgy.
Having woken up early a couple of mornings ago coughing up my lungs (sorry for TMI), my kids sprung into action.
Miss 7 offered cuddles and painkiller, and Mr 9 cooked scrambled eggs. (We had no bread for toast, as both kids are going through a no-bread phase at the moment. "We've gone off it," Miss 7 explained helpfully, she whose lunch usually involves vast quantities of vegemite sammies. Go figure.).
They also offered coffee, but the 'adult milk' (non-soy) was off, and I couldn't have stomached it anyway. I had no appetite, having thrown up religiously since starting my antibiotics, but I pushed the eggs around the plate again, made vague noises of enjoyment, and fairly convincingly, expressed my thanks.)
I'd been ordered to keep the kids home until today, even though Mr 9 at least, was on the mend and bouncier than Tigger, given that he'd been put on steroids for a few days. (To clear up his asthma, not so he could build muscle and super-human, roid-rage strength.)
Magically, in the two hours spent waiting to see my GP (she is good, so is always running late), the throwing up part of the illness started to ease. (It may have been due to the stemetil I'd taken that morning - another Nana Standby - but still, I was grateful).
The kids' have officially been given the all-clear to return to school, much to my relief. As every parent knows it's dreadful trying to care for others when you're in need of pampering yourself.
So far, I've only got to the bronchitis stage, not pneumonia, which is a huge relief. Okay there is sinus, and a sore throat and cloggy ears, but I'm going to live.
While I've been mopping foreheads and doling out medication, the kids have been asking me about Halloween, in the manner of a Simpsons episode. ("Can we do something for Halloween?" "No." Can we do something for Halloween?" "No." "Can we do" ....Well, you get the picture.)
We don't generally celebrate Halloween in Australia, but having experienced it in Auckland a couple of times, the kids love it.
In New Zealand, C. and H. loved dressing up, for school as well as for trick-or-treating. At school, everyone from the janitor to the principal wore ghoulish costumes, and passersby waved and tooted as we walked to and from school.
I was amazed at how generous and ready our neighbours were for our Trick Or Treaters. Many had dressed up themselves, and were holding Halloween parties; while the singles/no-kids crowd, who weren't prepared, actually gave the kids money. Others, who didn't want to feed the kids lollies, had made cute cupcakes or biscuits. Can you believe it?
I've explained that most Aussies don't celebrate Halloween. I know there are some Halloween-friendly areas, but that's usually where a few parents have gotten together and agreed to Trick Or Treat for the sake of their kids.
In Auckland, people who welcomed visitors generally put a spiderweb, skeleton, or something creepy on the door, or lit a pumpkin and put it in their windows. These were signals it was okay to knock. And the kids never did tricks to those who were unprepared, or who didn't like the concept. They thanked them anyway, and went off quite happily. Because just dressing up and going out at night was part of the fun. (Yes, even though I insisted on accompanying them ...)
After a really yucky week, we've been inspired by one of my favourite bloggers NotQuiteNigella, to hold our own Halloween party.
That gets us out of potentially annoying the neighbours by Trick or Treating, but gives the kids a taste of the fun.
I know a lot of people hate the 'Americanism' of Halloween reaching our shores, not to mention the commercialism of it all. There are others who are against on religious grounds. (My Mum is one of them.)
But I've made the executive decision, and as well as medication, we've stocked up on a few must-have dress-up aides, like fake nails and vampire teeth.
We're going to make monster pies, gravestone biscuits and other wicked treats, a'la Not Quite Nigella's infamous Halloween parties.
And hopefully we'll have a (monster's) ball!