Although we were somewhat behind schedule in our cooking this year, we weren’t worried. We had invited our guests, composed a menu, and were prepared to spend Monday and Tuesday cooking frantically. We were pretty excited for Shavuot – we had found some very interesting and surprisingly uncomplicated dairy recipes, and since Shavuot is only a one-day affair in Israel, everything was under control. At least it was until I came down with strep on Monday. (When I was in England, it was good old-fashioned tonsilitis, but since I got married to an American, and go to an American doctor, it’s “strep.”)
As soon as I came home from the doctor’s, we notified our guests that I had strep, but since I started taking antibiotics on Monday night, and they weren’t coming to us till Wednesday lunch, it wasn’t such a big deal. After 24 hours, you are no longer contagious. We were still on with our guests. Josh stepped in and did all the cooking, and by Tuesday lunchtime, everything seemed to be going smoothly. The food was cooked, my antibiotics had started to kick in, and I was starting to remember what it was like to feel human. Since the girls didn’t go to gan on Tuesday, we even managed to take them to the park for a couple of hours so they could get it out of their system.
Fast-forward to an hour before the start of Shavuot. I was blowdrying my hair, when I heard Josh yell at the top of his lungs that Eliana, our oldest, was hurt. She had been riding her bike, and had hurtled forward and hit her head against the garden wall. Josh’s t-shirt was covered in blood, and her forehead was bleeding. After making a couple of calls, we found out that the amazing TEREM in Modiin was open till midnight on Shabbatot and festivals, so with less than an hour to go till chag, Josh raced over there with Eliana. When they arrived, they received almost immediate treatment, and Josh told me how amazingly brave Eliana was throughout the whole process. She didn’t cry at all, not even when they were manipulating her head to put on the bandage. I was so incredibly proud of her. Even when her head was still bleeding back at home, and I had to put some clothes on her before she left for TEREM, she still had the strength to tell me that she wouldn’t wear pants, only a skirt! When she came back from TEREM, she ran into the room, and announced triumphantly, “Mummy, the doctor said I can’t get my bandage wet, so I can’t have a bath for three days!” That for her was the real icing on the cake. She got a special treat when she came home, and a star for her star chart, but the prize was avoiding baths for three days. Even today, every few hours, she tells me, “You know, the doctor says I can’t have a bath!”
If only that was the end of our dramas. This morning, over coffee, Josh asked me if I noticed that Eliana’s face seemed blotchy. Without my contact lenses, everything seems blotchy, so I couldn’t comment either way. Ten minutes later, once my lenses restored my vision, I noticed that Eliana was covered head to toe in spots. Yup. Chicken pox.* And we can’t give her a bath for three days because of her head.
So not only could she not go to shul with Josh – which is pretty much the highlight of her week – she couldn’t see her friend who was supposed to be coming over for lunch with her parents. Josh had to walk over to our friends, with trays of food, and tell them that this time, lunch really wasn’t going to happen. We felt so awful about it. At least, though, they had a good lunch:-)
So now we are just waiting for our toddler, Tzofia, to catch it. Thankfully, both girls have been vaccinated, so the symptoms shouldn’t be nearly as severe. Considering the circumstances, Eliana has been an absolute angel. It is pretty awful that we can’t give her a bath when she needs it the most. She said to Josh tonight that she wanted him “to tell Hashem that her body hurts and that He should make her boo boos go away.” AAW.
So all in all, not the funnest of Shavuots, but hey, all four of us are in one piece, and we made it through the day with the help of treats and various other types of distractions. I just thank G-d that we are not in America, where we would be celebrating two days instead of one!
* Curiouser and curiouser. I took Eliana to the doctor today to ascertain whether she really has chicken pox. With the absence of blisters, and the blotchiness of her skin, it seemed unlikely that it really was chicken pox. The doctor said that 50% of her patients had come in with a similar “rash” that morning, and that either it was some sort of virus (like the majority of unexplained illnesses), or it was a reaction to the antibiotics she has just finished for last week’s ear infection (I know, never a dull moment). She prescribed some antihistamine drops and some calamine lotion. Eliana was a happy camper because she came out of the doctor’s office with three stickers, which she took while the doctor was busy writing out the prescription. Hopefully she’ll be back in gan next week.