Day 28 by Vanessa Fiola

**The next 2 days I'll be posting 500 words a day here as part of a creative writing challenge. Join the FB group.”

I stayed home sick from work today. This morning I woke up with a sore throat and assumed that was the whole of it. I tried to reiki my throat, but patience and trust had other ideas. This is the first time since reiki training that I’ve doubted its efficacy. When you get certified they tell you don't ever doubt its efficacy.

Anyway, I took my first conference call from home and then tried to drive into work. A little less than halfway there I turned around. I couldn't do it. My whole body ached and my eyes burned, though I didn't have a fever.

I spent my entire 20s without calling in sick. I have prided myself on this mostly true fact. But then once you have a child and also work in a petri dish of a room, you basically have to re-evaluate the things that you hang your hat on.

I crawled back into bed and asked Ryan for my special drink. (Not vodka.)

A long time ago while I was living in Austin, one of my acupuncturist friends told me that the way to cure bodily malaise is to follow these three tips:

  1. Take an Epsom salt bath as hot as you can stand it.
  2. Drink lemon and ginger water. I have since upped this game. Now it's lemon/ginger/turmeric/black pepper/manuka honey water. I literally had more faith in this tea than I do my own reiki abilities this morning. More on that later.
  3. Bundle up in layers and get into bed.

It's too early to tell* if Margaret was right again this time, though history is on her side. Jaye suggested I reiki myself this morning. I did try to do my throat. For me, a relative neophyte in this art, as much as I wanted to reiki my whole body I couldn't muster the energy or presence. I could only think of sleep. I wonder how practiced practitioners handle this?
Siri is "typing" this for me because I assumed it would take less energy. The jury is still out on that one because you have to say words like “open parentheses” or “end quote.”

In the middle of the day, I slept for two and a half hours, which is a total luxury. I ended up waking up feeling the same as I felt when I went to sleep, which is how I knew I am legitimately sick and not just feeling the compounded effects of 28 days of nominal sleep.
You know what I worry about after this challenge is over? That I've now created a pattern of going to bed really late and reading the internet for 5 hours a day. It's hard to believe it's been 4 weeks already.

*I "wrote" this while in the bath at 8pm and then fell asleep. Now, at midnight, I am feeling considerably better.



day 27 by Vanessa Fiola

**The next 3 days I'll be posting 500 words a day here as part of a creative writing challenge. Join the FB group.”

This is not what I planned on writing about tonight. Tonight I was set to write about how my little guy had finally earned his At-At Walker toy by sleeping alone in his bed for 7 consecutive nights. When he woke up this morning we told him what lie ahead: after school we’d drive to the toy store and he could pick out his very own Star Wars toy because he earned it.

It was so cute. I got home from work tonight and he was beaming and adorable and reminded me that he earned an At-At Walker so could we please go to Kids R’ Us now. He’s not the best with names.

We drove to the giant soulsucking store, and he picked out his toy. Do you know those are $108 with tax? No 3 year old should have a $108 toy. I might have gently suggested that he didn’t have a furry Chewbacca and wouldn’t that be better, but he had held up his end of the bargain. Twenty minutes later he sat in the back seat delighted at his own resolve. The three of us buzzed all the way home.

The evening was really looking up. We’ve spent the last two years with him on a hunger strike. His intake has consisted of peanut butter sandwiches—no crust, sometimes mac and cheese, sometimes beans and rice, shredded cheese, sometimes pizza, any sweets ever, spirulina pills, green smoothies and kombucha. I’ve only felt partially good about the green smoothies loaded with leafy greens because he refuses to chew them for at least 20 seconds before swallowing and I’m not sure smoothies really count if you don’t activate your gastro enzymes first.

When we got home from the toy store, Ryan set out to make some curried butternut squash soup in our Instapot. In the meantime Jonah had grabbed the ground sage, brought it over to me and asked me what it was.

“Sage. You won’t like it.”   

“I want to try it.”

I poured about a teaspoon into a small heap on the table.

My feral child stuck out his tongue and licked the pile off the table. Of ground sage.

“Yum,” he said.

I poured more and he did it again. Normally I’d take issue with him eating like an actual animal, but I make exceptions for party tricks.

By the time it was brush-your-teeth-o’clock, he had eaten a paleo coconut tortilla with Mexican crema (both firsts), ample sage and half of an apple. He begged for soup, but it was still cooking.

This is the part though where things turned south.

Sometimes he gets wild just as we’re going to bed. Tonight he played a not-one-bit-funny-game where he refused to go pee after brushing his teeth. It came down to a stand off and I threatened to take his At-At Walker away. He jumped up and down on his bed, taunting me, but he's also three. I forged a conversation about if he was making good choices; he kept jumping. I snapped.

Easy come, easy go. (By go, I mean to the top of my closet.)

When he gets mad at me he cries for his daddy, which makes me feel horrible, but also I’m not backing down. It was a low moment. I need better negotiating tactics, or, at the very least, coping mechanisms. Was that too harsh? I told him he could earn it back, but now I'm feeling like that mean orphanage lady from Annie.  

Tonight I had planned on writing about all of the tattoos I would have by now if it weren’t for my abject fear of commitment. My forearm would read like an inked diary of the spiritual phases I’ve passed through—temporary in hindsight—so it’s probably a good thing. I’ll save that for another time.