What's in me?
Well, I can tell you what's not in me.
About eight pounds that I've lost since Sunday night.
Across the six of us, I'd guess that we're down close to 30 pounds since Friday. I don't know how that's really possible since we haven't expelled 30 pounds. But surely the scale doesn't lie.
Yesterday when I woke up - and I saw that Charlie was unable to move because he'd been up all night sick - I realized that if I didn't get up and get the kids breakfast, they wouldn't eat. So, I slowly climbed out of bed, made my way to the kitchen and fed my children a meal of bananas and Cheerios that I tossed across their activity table while they sat watching the movie, Ratatouille.
(I should probably add here, for those unfamiliar with the movie, this storyline has to do with a rat who dreams of becoming a chef in a five-star French restaurant. He teams up with a down-and-out garbage boy and together they become the greatest chef in Paris.)
Although it might not seem like much, preparing for and serving this great feast completely drained me. So while the kids were scarfing down their breakfast, I settled down on the couch with Henry, where I promptly fell asleep.
I don't know exactly how much time lapsed but I awoke a short while later to the whispers of children hushing each other, "Shh! You gonna wake up Mommy! It's a supwise!!" and the smell of something I couldn't quite place.
Was it cinnamon?
Perhaps dill weed?
A little bit of cumin?
There was definitely curry.
Lots of curry.
Because of the virus that had been ravaging my gastrointestinal system, I felt instantly overwhelmed by the strong smell and was terribly nauseous. I put the baby down and grabbing a hold of the arm rest on the couch, pulled myself up. Once the room stopped rocking and with one hand touching the wall, I staggered in to the kitchen.
It took a moment for my eyes to register the sight before me.
There were empty gourmet spice containers all over the counter and broken on the floor. There were of puddles of something pungent across the counter and tables. While Henry was grabbing at my leg and crying to be picked up, William and Elizabeth were positively beaming.
They grabbed my hands and ushered me in to the room saying, "Mommy! Welcome to our KITCHEN! We are Ratatouille! We've been cooking and we made you a special cake for your birthday!"
The children had me several "cakes" using whatever food that they could find, most notably anything that we've been eating since this virus has hit the house and we've been living off the BRAT (bananas, rice, apple sauce and toast) diet. They took a moment from pointing their creations out to tell me, "We are your little rats!"
I just smiled and agreed, "Yes, you SURE are."
To create their masterpieces, the kids had employed the use of our grater, melon ball scoop, ice cream scoop, all of their little pots and pans and every single spice that they could reach while standing on their tippy toes on the children's chairs they had shoved up to the counters.
The first cake was several pieces of bread with a banana on top. There was a cake that was a saltine covered in pumpkin spice, dill weed, pretzels and pepper with a heavy splash of apple juice. There was a cake comprised of a squashed banana delicately overlain by curry, a half cup of Kosher salt, and cumin with a 1/2 bottle of orange Gatorade.
Oozing out of the oven was another batch of "cakes" that they had spilled when placing on the racks. These cakes were made with ice cubes, cumin, bread, grapes, apple sauce, rice, ginger, oregano and pepper. They had set the oven to bake at 300 degrees, but fortunately, they didn't know to hit the "Start" button or else I'm sure the mere smell of the concoction brewing in the oven would have resulted in the immediate expulsion of an additional eight pounds.
While I stood there, surveying the damage, something miraculous occurred.
I kid you not, people.
Over a matter of seconds, the cloak of illness and fatigue that had plagued me for 38 hours was instantly shed. I don't know how to explain it except to say that I could actually feel good health rushing in to my veins and flowing throughout my body. The fog in my brain cleared. My stomach settled down. The pounding headache dissolved, taking the body aches and cramps with it.
Within a minute ... perhaps two ... I was healed.
Now, I'm not sure if my prayers were suddenly answered and God took pity ... or if various substances when merged together by four-year-old hands have an aromatic healing power ... or if my mind rapidly communicated with my body HOLY SMOKES LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENS when two parents are leveled with the flu and small children who think they are rodents that can cook take control of the house.
But whatever the case, the virus that I thought was going to kill me just five minutes earlier, was instantly squelched.
For the rest of the day, I set about cleaning and sanitizing. Because even though I had already cleaned and sanitized the house thoroughly on Saturday, I spent all day Sunday holding a sick baby and all day Monday sick in bed while Charlie took care of four sick children.
By Tuesday, it looked and felt like a dirty infirmary flipped upside down and coated in cumin. I mopped floors, changed all of the linens, washed an untold number of dishes, wiped down surfaces and completed ten loads of laundry. And then, when I put Carolyn down for the night and she threw up all over her sleeping sister (and the fresh sheets that were on the bed), I started my eleventh load of laundry.
In 25 days, I am due to compete in a marathon.
Last week at this time I was intimidated.
But this week, I know that if I can survive yesterday, I can survive anything.