We were watching a movie when we heard a shriek from upstairs, a bedraggled Adam Sandler stood frozen onscreen as we craned our necks to hear the calls from upstairs.

“Was that Briar or Avery?”

“Briar, I think.”

It was the 7th time we’d stopped the movie. Avery had been unwilling to go down and Briar had been unhelpfully helpful, as she took calming and disciplining Avery into her own hands:

“Shh, s’o, baby. Don’t cry. Shh. It’s dark time, you gotta sleep. Dis is your last warning. You hearing me?
Your last warning, Avery! Go to sleep!
high ho a dairy-o the sign says dark moon.
I said, shhh, Avery. Go. To. Sleep.

I said I’d go up. I moved as quietly and quickly as I could, Avery was finally down and I didn’t want to wake her or move too slowly that Briar would do it for me.

“What is it, sweetie?” I asked, leaning over her bed.

“Umm, it’s my mouth. I need medicine.” She said touching her face.

My first instinct was that she was playing me, suggesting that she had the same gum pain that Avery did.

“Your mouth?”

“Yup, it’s my mouth that hurts. I need medicine.” Her blue eyes looked sincere, so I told her I’d be right back. Dashing past Sean I explained the issue, musing that perhaps it was her throat. Five minutes later Briar had been dosed and we were back having Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle take us to a level of despair I had not intended when we selected Reign Over Me.

Blessedly the movie ended and as I headed up to bed I realized that the ache in my throat was not empathy, it was a good old fashioned sore throat, building in intensity like a camp fire with each step I took. By the time Sean came up to bed after locking up I was barely speaking above a squeak.

Fast forward 12 hours and our entire family is in pajamas, puffy eyes and sniffly noses the accessories to our lethargy and misery.

My mouth hurts.
Whimper, sniff