This morning Tharaa awoke with a very bad head- and tummy ache, accompanied by nausea. Mo gave her Stilpayne and permission to stay home from school today.
Bad mother that I am, I silently rejoiced- another person to keep two-year old Aisha occupied before the kids get home from school!!
But my happiness was short-lived. I entered Tharaa's room to the sound of her groaning and moaning.
"I'm hungry, and there's nothing to eat but stupid toast," she complained.
"What about some yoghurt or fruit?" I suggested sensing the lovely morning I had envisioned- sipping tea while surfing the net- slip away.
"Yuck. I don't want stupid yoghurt or stupid disgusting fruit either. Why do we have nothing in this house? Argghhh!!!
I was sitting next to her on the bed with a smile frozen on my face, while chatting away to her in a cheery tone, which was assuming a higher and higher pitch, the more I tried to control my irritation at her.
"Would you like to watch an episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S with me?" I asked, referring to this family's favourite sitcom, which each of us has probably watched twenty times. We randomly select episodes from this hilarious sitcom whenever we are bored, unhappy or just need something to watch; and usually end up laughing at it hysterically each time we watch it. I was hoping that Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey and Ross would be able to work their magic on my grumpy daughter.
"Okay then,"she said sulkily, as if she was doing me a HUGE favour. So we went into the lounge, only to find Aisha watching the love of her life- Barney the annoying purple dinosaur. She was staring at the screen with a slight smile on her face, as if in a trance; while hugging her toy Barney closely to her chest.
Uh oh. Why had I not thought to check if the DVD player was available? (Yes we still own a few DVDs).
What to do? Did I switch off Barney and face a tantrum of terrifying proportions? Or allow Aisha to continue watching Barney and deal with a Ms Grumpy's moaning and grumbling.
After hyperventilating for a few seconds, the adult in me decided that enough was enough. It was time to take charge. The television would be switched off and I would force them to spend some time in the garden. The fresh air was bound to cheer them up.
I stepped confidently toward the TV. Aisha shrieked. I backed away hurriedly- and pointed out the window. "Did you see that hee-uuge cat outside?"
"Where?" she asked, getting up to run into the garden. I smiled to myself. Victory. Tharaa rolled her eyes. Who cared? I had gotten my way. I was in charge.
Tharaa lay on the reclining chair on the porch, while Aisha tottered about the garden with the heavy watering can, pouring a few droplets of water on some plants and half-drowning others. I sat on the step admiring the patterned shadows caused by the sun as it penetrated the dense leaves of our lemon/orange tree (we still don't know what the heck this tree bears- it is a winter fruit which looks like lemons but tastes like oranges). I lay my back against the wall enjoying the feeling of the lovely warm breeze against my cheeks. I glanced over at Tharaa, who had a slight smile on her face as she watched Aisha who was pouring the water over her toes and squishing them into the grass, completely unaware that her ill-fitting panty was leaving half of her bum exposed.
Mmm, contentment at last.
We remained in the garden until I could see that the heat was becoming too much for poor Tharaa, who was becoming lethargic, despite the fact that she had stopped moaning.
Now that we have returned from fetching the other kids from school, I have noticed that Tharaa is becoming feverish as well. We shall have to get her to a doctor as soon as Mo gets home.
Since my feelings of maternal nurturing, protectiveness and empathy were being strained to the limit today, I forced myself to imagine how awful she must be feeling by revisiting the first trimester of all my pregnancies, when nausea and tummy aches had had me moaning and whining constantly.
Poor thing. I think I'll go and ask her if she wants some toast.