The Other Season In Minnesota

As much as I like to have the children outside getting fresh air, exercise and vitamin D now that the days are warm there is a significant drawback.

I had to remove four (4) attached deer ticks today from two children - I am excellent at it by the way.

1. Swab area surrounding attached tick with rubbing alcohol.

2. Use tweezers to grab the body of the tick firmly but not so tightly that you crush it.

3. Applying steady pressure, gently pull tick away from the body until the skin puckers.

4. Hold, maintaining tautness, until the tick releases on its own.

5. Carry tick over to the stove and burn it. 

We do tick checks multiple times a day but I have never forgotten that an infectious disease doctor once told me that the odds of finding and removing every tick are slim so it always seems a little futile.

I'm not surprised ticks are hard to find. Caroline once had one embed in the bottom of her foot that we only found by chance and [name redacted for privacy] had one on [gender neutral] anus that we only found because [redacted] was very fond of showing us [ditto] butt at the time. As you can imagine it was a very full moon...

Fortunately we live in a part of the Cities where doctors take tick-borne illnesses very seriously. Patrick, alone, has been tested for Lyme's disease at least three times. Unfortunately we live in a part of the world where tick-borne illnesses are prevalent.

I am never all that fond of nature (while Steve and the children romped and looked for mushrooms I was in the basement pulling everything out of a storage room with the idea that I was going to organize it - it looks like a bomb went off down there; you know the feeling? you decide you are going to do a massive clean out of a closet or something and you get to the point where everything is a thousand times worse and you don't want to do it any more but your bed is covered in bridesmaids' dresses?) but I truly LOATHE ticks.

No. Really. This Hurts Me More Than It Hurts You.

First, forgive me while I shake my cane but: ay yi yi, kids today.

The resources with which the modern child is able to communicate never cease to astonish me. When *I* was in seventh grade I would say goodbye to my mother, walk three long blocks to the bus stop, climb aboard the  city bus and tootle off to school. If I was bleeding from the eyes during the day I probably could have gone to the office and someone there might have been able to track down a parent for me, but under normal circumstances that morning farewell was the last contact I had with my family until everyone returned home again.

And it was fine.

Patrick, in contrast, was issued a laptop and an email account at the start of the year and now hardly a day goes by that I don't receive some midday communication from him. Usually it is simply to remind me where to pick him up (his last hour alternates between buildings every day and I am... not so good at remembering) but occasionally he has a school-related request like: could you find a photograph of each these twelve family members for me and then send them ASAP for a Spanish project? [Long Answer: No. Longer Answer: Since I am sure this was not assigned five minutes ago I can only suggest that you ask for an extension and use your time more wisely in the future.]

Today I got a chatty little missive asking me to remind him to bring something or other on Tuesday for writing class, also would I mind bringing him a giant bottle of icy cold water at pickup, oh, and...

"P.P.S. I was sent to the office for being a smart as…terix asterix asterix. (***) More details to come. ;)"


The wink! He ended it with a wink! I can only hope the details include "Ha Ha just kidding of course I didn't get sent to the bloody office with only nine goddamned days left in the school year" because otherwise I will have to devise and implement a suitable punishment. And - this is a parental secret so try not to let it get around - punishing children sucks. Not because we care about their angst (we don't) but because appropriate consequences inevitably mean loss of privileges and loss of privileges leave affronted small people with the idea that they have nothing else to do but follow you around, complaining. 

Edward is particularly adept at this and I swear it takes everything I have sometimes not to just snap, "Argh! Fine! Watch Octonauts! Use my phone to call Tokyo! Here's a Kindle! Just... go away!"

Patrick is more subtle but equally annoying. The last time he lost access to his computer in response to a transgression he responded by sitting in the living room. For hours. Reading a dictionary. ALOUD.

PS I started this earlier so I am able to end with an update, which is fortunate because you know how much I like an arc.

When he got into the car I said, "Office? What? What the hell? NINE DAYS. What did you do? Who sent you?"

Patrick answered the last question, "I have no idea" and then, anticipating my disbelief, explained, "I was walking between the buildings and you know that part that curves around the trash? Well I cut across rather than use the crosswalk like everyone does but a couple of teachers were there and one called, 'Hey! Use the walk!' and I said 'The parking lot drag racers might run me over?' because there were no cars around anywhere and the teacher said 'Do you want to take that lip to Mr. School Director?'


"And that was it."

I thought about it.

"Stop being obnoxious or else," I decreed.

Thank heavens he didn't ask: or else what?  I might have had to take his computer AND his dictionary away.