The first domino fell last week: Punch collapsed into the backseat after school, pale as a ghost and had a cough that would have put Camille to shame. So I picked up some chicken noodle soup from Ladue Market and raced home. I don’t mind a sick child. They’re docile and usually too tired to argue. It’s also probably the only time after the age of 10 that they will let you cuddle them. So I honestly don’t mind a sick child—repeat child—singular.

The next day, it was Whiny’s turn. When he  mentioned that the raindrops hurt when they hit his skin, I knew he was probably coming down with the same ailment. And then there were two: Two complaining that the other is hogging the comforter; two demanding soup/grilled cheese/ice cream; two using their last ounces of strength to fight over the remote.

Then came Cranky. The kid has the immune system of a Nordic caribou hunter, but even she was going to bed early and stifling a cough. So as the movie Contagion is playing out before my eyes, I realize that I am next on the chopping block. Normally, I don’t get sick and I’ll tell you why: If I feel myself starting to come down with a cold, I don’t crawl into bed and sip tea. No sir, I take the cold out, get it drunk, keep it up late. No self-respecting cold could last a day in my body. This thing, though, is young and strong. Something tells me it can keep up. Five people all sick with this odd strain of H1N1-meets-kennel cough.

Five people fighting over the remote and the Kleenex and the covers. The kitchen looks like  something out of the zombie apocalypse and the laundry is so funky, it’s almost to the point where it could crawl over to the machine and wash itself. Punch fiddled with something on the remote and switched the TV to Spanish—you don’t know pain until you’ve watched an entire episode of CSI Miami in Espanol. Well, there’s nothing to do but submit, ride out the storm and pray that there are enough clean dishes to get us through the worst of it.

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