The Slow-Cooked Sentence

Hot heads

Rachael Conlin Levy
Bento art courtesy of Sakurako Kitsa.

One of my sons was feeling puny.

“I don’t think I should go to school,” he said.

“Hmmm,” I replied. “How about you get dressed and eat some breakfast, and then we’ll see how you feel.”

In between spoonfuls of cereal he took his temperature four times; the last one read 102-degrees. He thrust the digital display in my face and announced he had a fever.

“Hmmm,” I said, and pointed out that each time a different number came up. “You’re going to have to go to school.”

His response was five minutes of wailing — the last three from his bedroom — and then a return to the kitchen and a request that I take his temperature. I held the thermometer to his temple and after the requisite number of beeps it displayed 101-degrees.

“I’m sick,” he said, beaming.

“Hmmm,” I said, digging around in the medicine box and unearthing another thermometer. “Let’s try this one.”

The suggestion triggered more howls, but (with protest) he opened his mouth and I slipped the thermometer under his tongue. More waiting, more beeps and then a reading of 99.4.

“Again,” he pleaded.


“Let’s try the other one.”


“One more time.”


“You changed it!” he shouted. “You promised I could stay home and now you changed the thermometer so it’s different!”

He screamed and stomped. I snapped lids and slammed cupboards.

“Enough!” I roared. “You’re going to school because I don’t want you to stay home! We’ve taken your temperature ten-fucking-times and you’re not sick! Now get your jacket on!”

Ten minutes later I pulled up to school and he hopped out, face wiped free of tears. As he headed for the playground, he turned and blew me a kiss. I sent one back and hollered that if he felt crummy to go the nurse and she could take his temperature.

2 responses to “Hot heads”

  1. Mindi says:

    That is hilarious! Seriously, I am over here laughing.

  2. Marty E. says:

    This kiss just melts your heart, doesn’t it?

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