Alpha Kappa Reiser has been beset by the Tagteam Winter Plague.

Zack was kind enough to bring it home from a birthday party over the weekend (quél unique party favor!), from a friend who had been absent from school all week but ended up at Saturday evening’s festivities (This kid claimed he had had a temperature of 112°! I think he must’ve been cured with a prescription of hyperbole supplements.). Zack awoke Sunday feeling okay, but by afternoon, those big chocolate-pudding eyes with the Snuffleupagus lashes were glassy and droopy. When I removed the thermometer from his mouth, I burst into a chorus of “You’re hot-blooded, check it and see. You’ve got a fever of a-hundred-and three.” Being a twin, Zack’s more familiar with one of Foreigner’s other hits, “Double Vision,” and he had absolutely no idea what crazy Mama was singing about. Other than the fever and a mild sore throat, he was feeling pretty good. But since his temp was still up there yesterday, I took him in to the doctor’s office for a quick once-over. “Lots of this viral thing going around,” said the PA. Though she didn’t suspect it was strep (and she was right), she cultured him anyway. She told me to keep him full of Advil, lots of liquids and call if his fever went over 105° or if he had clinical changes. Thankfully his fever has been down since last night, and he’s on the mend.

Of course once one brother in particular (who shall remain nameless but has curly hair) hears there’s a virus in the house and sees the sickie has been off from school, he instantly just happens to remember he has similar symptoms. “I was coughing A LOT at school today, and I think I had a headache too and I’m hot and very tired. I must be sick,” he’ll say, as he manufactures a pathetic coughing spell between playing his fourth game of billiards, chasing the dogs up and down the stairs, and asking for the ninth time what’s for dinner.

So this morning, that brother, who is notorious for being an Oscar-winning whiny crankypants on school days (“If school could just start a little later,” he laments), gave his usual laundry list of wolf-crying, hypochondriacal complaints before heading out to an early before-school orchestra rehearsal. Well wouldn’t you know it, but within two hours I got a call from the school nurse that indeed the little bugger had himself a 101° fever. And it was simply miraculous how all his other symptoms magically disappeared as soon as a fever was detected and he wasn’t allowed to be at school.

Now I don’t mind the lethargic kind of fever, where the poor baby is clearly drained and falls asleep drooling on the floor. But this ain’t it. He’s a hungry, noisy, busy chatterbox who wants dazzling live entertainment. And when his brother legitimately coughs, he turns it into a coughing competition, upping his entries by coughing louder and longer and adding dramatic Sarah Bernhardt-esque flourishes. So off I go to find more ways to be the energetic Party Mama. Errands and meetings and projects on today’s calendar will just have to wait. As will thinking my own thoughts, phone calling and peeing in peace and quiet. C’est la vie.

Call me a delusional optimist, but with any luck, we hope to stave off any further spread of this plague, at least for this week. Mama needs hair color. Friday, dammit!

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