When I was 9-years-old, I happened to pick up a paperback from my mom’s nightstand. The book I then sat down and read from cover to cover was written by Erma Bombeck. Although I didn’t understand at least half of what she wrote about, I fell deeply in love with her wit, her hyperbole and her way of making ordinary situations hilarious. It wasn’t long before I was the weird 3rd grader checking out every single one of her books from the downtown library, much to the amusement of the middle-aged librarians.
Now that I’m a mother myself, I still reread an Erma book at least once a year. And once a year, I also enter The Erma Bombeck Writing Competition—and lose it big time. But this year, some of my Erma-loving (and contest losing) friends and I decided to share our Erma Rejects with everyone. After you read my post, be sure to click over to my fellow Leftovers’ blogs for some very, very funny pieces. This one’s for you, Erma.
SICK AND (NOT SO) TIRED
By Wendi Aarons
I sometimes wonder if pediatricians ever listen to themselves talk. Like last month when we were getting ready to leave the hospital after our 6-year-old son’s tonsillectomy. Our very chipper ENT doctor handed us a mountain of paperwork and a prescription for Children’s Tylenol, then she patted my arm and said, “He’ll be fine in no time. Just be sure to limit his activity for at least a couple of days.”
“Limit his activity? Sure, no problem, doctor,” my husband and I snorted as we reached over to pull our fresh-from-surgery son down from the IV pole he was currently trying to scale. “It’ll be no trouble at all to make him rest. Right after we sell our house and move into a 4×4 cell at the state pen. Hey, you don’t happen to know any convicted felons willing to sublet, do you? Like maybe a black sheep cousin pulling a dime at Chino? Will you give him our number?”
The thing is, my two boys will never just sit still and rest when they’re sick. (Unlike their father who takes to his bed like a fragile Victorian lady stricken by the vapors every time he sniffles.) Instead, they’ll run, jump and climb things like a couple of ferrets strung out on black market diet pills. One time my oldest son even tried using his brand-new cast as a baseball bat five hours after breaking his arm. “But did you see how far the ball went?” he protested as I dragged him inside the house. “I should totally get another cast on my foot for soccer season! Bam!”
Every time the boys are sick or need to take it easy, I very lovingly plop them on the couch with a big, warm quilt and put the magical remote control in their eager little hands. “Just stay here and don’t move a muscle,” I sternly say. “And IF you don’t move, you can watch unlimited TV. That’s right. I said, ‘unlimited.’ That pretty much makes this the best day of your entire miserable life, kid. Enjoy.” Of course, ten seconds later, the boy’s happily swinging off the ceiling fan like an extra from Cirque de Soleil, and I’m the one huddled underneath the quilt popping baby aspirin and watching Wonderpets until I fall asleep with my thumb in my mouth. It’s almost like my kids don’t want to get better and go back to school.
Finally last week, after informing my 8-year-old that jumping on the trampoline isn’t really such a great idea until after your nosebleed stops, he looked at me with big, confused eyes and said, “But mommy, why do I have to sit down and rest when I’m sick? You never do.”
“That’s right, honey,” I said as I kissed him on the cheek and grabbed my car keys. “Mommy never gets to just lie down and rest when she doesn’t feel good, does she? So that’s why I’m headed out to go take a nap in my special new apartment right now. I should be back in a couple of hours, but if you need me for anything, just ask daddy. He’ll have the warden come wake me up before lock-down.”
I’m really hoping I don’t get let out early for good behavior.
Now please do some clicking to read some even more delicious Erma Leftovers from these very talented and funny women:
Jennifer Sutton (who didn’t post her entry, but has a lovely tribute to Erma)
And if you’re a resident of Ohio, please be warned that four of us Leftovers will be in Dayton this April for the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop. I’m not saying that we’re going to be obnoxious or anything; I’m just saying that you may want to stay indoors that weekend and by all means, avoid your local Denny’s. Lord knows what Lefler has up her sleeve this time.