As I was leaving, I heard Nikki say, "She's funny, huh Katie?"
I let loose of breath that I didn't know I was holding. I haven't been very funny lately.
In fact, I've actually been quite the monster.
You see, my house has been full of sick people for the past two weeks. It started when both girls had a skin infection that we just couldn't kick. I went through several different types of creams trying to clear it up.
The point when I transitioned from mommy to monster is when I got cream all over the couch because Katie would not stay still. Evidently, the knife blade I was using to smear on the medicine was too sharp.
Then again, I'm not her. Maybe it hurt more than I could imagine.
So, I conducted a little experiment. I put a little cream on my finger and rubbed it into a spot about an inch higher than the redness.
She howled and twisted and generally went ballistic. She also proved my theory and ended my patience.
While Nikki quietly submitted to my ministrations, Katie stood in the corner.
I think Katie averaged about two trips to the corner for every bout of treatment.
Then the doctor got in on the fun and amazed us all when she diagnosed the girls' unusual affliction.
But it got worse. Daddy and Mommy got sick. As we were hallucinating our way through the day, the antibiotics kicked in and Katie edged toward normal. With that came the desire to drag all her possessions into the living room.
Her father and I were capable of neither stopping her nor picking up after her.
Frankly, we didn't care either. When it feels like someone lit a match in your throat every time you swallow and when your whole body feels like you've been pummeled, you really take a hard look at your priorities.
Cleanliness isn't one.
On the other hand, just because the parents are sick doesn't mean the children decided to stop eating. Or needing baths. Or wanting to be entertained.
At the point when I was making Nikki chocolate milk in a Tupperware sandwich keeper, I looked at the massive mound of glasses (no plate, no pots, no pans) and realized that practicality needed to outweigh sickness at some point.
So I caved and took the antibiotics, too.
It's probably been 15 years since I've taken an antibiotic, but in the midst of a family sick-out, I was like an addict begging for a fix. I found myself coveting the girls' pink, bubble-gum flavored medicine.
But I restrained myself.
I also managed -- under the influence of a single pill -- to get enough glasses washed to get us by for a few more days.
In the four days since our family drug fest started, all our personalities are on the rebound. Nikki's laughter can be heard for the first time in days -- a magical sound. And Katie's gone back to wearing a path in the carpet.
On the down side, we're dealing with the post illness whines-a-lotisms.
Two girls who have had their every desires met for several days running (they were sick, you can't say no) now don't understand why they don't get everything they want instantly.
My frustration level has not decreased.
It's almost as miserable as being sick.