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Weekend Life

Tales from the Motherhood: When illness lingers, Dr. Mom comes to the rescue

After 14-and-a-half years of playing Dr. Mom, my prognosticating skills are top-notch.

You see, I’ve gotten pretty good at reading the signs. For example, last month things looked grim when Noah complained that his throat was super-sore and his body hurt. He felt so miserable and weak, in fact, that he let me spoon-feed chicken broth to him without even batting an eyelash.

That he had the flu was undeniable. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the chance to give my tough high-schooler a little extra TLC, but it was hard to watch.

He said his skin hurt, for Pete’s sake. I knew he was really sick because he didn’t dribble his soccer ball or even play on his Xbox, for nearly a week. The day he did, I knew he’d turned a corner.

Those were signs. Off to soccer practice he went, the first chance he got. I had a hunch it was a tad premature for a full practice (I felt he needed another day to regain his strength), but he had a ton of energy and was determined to try. I agreed to let him.

The poor kid sprained his ankle that first night.

I resisted the urge to say “I told you so.” Because, while it may be frustrating and hard to watch, learning about the body’s limits – an important life-lesson – is not bad while you still have Dr. Mom around to help you deal with the consequences of your choices.

The hassle of icing his ankle and maneuvering through a huge school on crutches was a drag for Noah, but I knew he’d recovered the day my stainless steel kitchen recycling bin suffered a fresh ding, compliments of a solid kick of his soccer ball. Dang, that sign was incontrovertible. We were both ready for him to return to soccer practice, this time.

As for my daughter, the signs of her wellness really crack me up. For example, earlier this week she complained that her throat was sore, it hurt to swallow and her uvula was swollen (sorry, but I always feel like I’m saying something dirty when I say that word).

By golly, it really was red and puffy (as were her lymph nodes), so I figured she was fighting something and needed time to chill.

I knew she was on the mend, though, when she dispensed treats to our big red dog via a sling-shot she made in third grade and slapped her slap-on watch onto his paw over and over again while he laid on the floor, helpless to object.

Yes, she returned to school the next day. The dog had mixed feelings about that and so did I. (I can’t lie: I love my kids’ sick days.)

The power of clean

I’ve had moments over the years when all I’ve wanted to do is take a hose to my house and power-wash it.

You know, after I turn it upside down, shake out all of the crud and turn it right side up again. Then put everything and everyone back in – like a dollhouse, minus the germs.

It’s a thrilling fantasy, and every mom I know has indulged in it recently. But the signs say that things are finally looking up at my house – even without the hose.

Sore-throat relief from Dr. Mom

Need relief from a sore throat in a hurry? Give the amazing healing and pain-relieving power of ginger a chance.

Holly couldn’t stand the taste when I made it for her, the first time, but Noah said he thought it was good and downed a whole mug.


1. Grate one tablespoon of fresh ginger into mug of boiling water, steep for a few minutes.

2. In another mug, put one tablespoon fresh lemon juice.

3. Strain ginger water into second mug and stir in tablespoon of honey.

• Jennifer DuBose lives in Batavia with her husband, Todd, and their two children, Noah and Holly. Contact her at

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