I think I’m gonna plook…

Posted by GT on October 9th, 2008 — Posted in Newspaper columns, Personal favorites

Originally published in May 2006, The Daily Sentinel, Grand Junction, Colo.

“Plook” is a new word in the Powell family vocabulary, one I first heard about a week and a half ago during my family’s latest bout of illness. The word is the creation of my 2-year-old, who made it up while she was the first of us laid low by stomach flu, and I’ll bet you can guess what she meant when she turned purple and announced, “I’m gonna plook.”

Viruses are the inspiration for so many neat verbs.

Before my first daughter was born in late 2000, the only person I worried about being sick was me. Well … that’s probably not altogether true, it did concern me when my wife caught something, but I’m afraid I regarded Lisa’s illnesses as inconveniences and my own as catastrophic. Ain’t that just like a man?

I didn’t know how lucky I was that it didn’t come up often.

Now I’ve got two little girls and a third on the way (presuming the midwife wasn’t pulling our leg at the ultrasound), and these girls, inconveniently, want to get out and be around other people. Particularly children.

Do you have any idea how many of the kids you cross paths with are carrying nasty, plook-boiling viruses? A LOT. If you see a playground with 15 kids, odds are good four of them are carrying something you don’t want, and they’re happy to share it.

I might get annoyed about it if I didn’t know that my own little angels are occasionally the ones spreading germs like Rain Birds. We don’t take them into crowds of kids when we know they’re sick, but do sometimes find out later they had some crud that was simply waiting for a more inconvenient time to make them plooky. To the children who have picked up some nastiness from our kids, and particularly to their parents, I heartily apologize.

The stomach virus of a week and a half ago hit hard, but in a way it was more considerate than most. It struck our 2-year-old first, on a Thursday.

As she usually does, especially on work nights, Lisa took the lead in caring for our plooky little girl. I suppose I helped … well, I hope I did, but I can’t really remember doing much.

Next day, our little one felt better and she looked skinny. Kids that small have so few reserves. So Lisa and I made the big mistake of letting her eat one of her favorite foods at lunch: hot dogs.

That night, Lisa – 5 1/2 months pregnant – got plooky. Not long afterward our younger girl showed us how wrong it was to feed her hot dogs. I figured my priority had to be taking care of our kids so Lisa could at least be left alone, but I was only moderately successful. When she heard me scrambling around in the middle of the night, working on cleaning up our sweet-tempered, plooky daughter, Lisa got up to help, which was a big relief to me and I feel like a heel for that.

On the bright side, it wasn’t a work night, so I didn’t have to worry about how tired I was going to be when the phone at my desk rang the next day.

The last one to suffer a bout of plookiness was our 5-year-old, on Saturday night after her mother and sister were mostly finished. It was a relatively mild bout. She was pretty much out the other side by Sunday morning, by which time I was looking around at a house littered with cracker crumbs, tissue scraps and laundry.

Considering that mess, I spent awhile fantasizing about burning the place down instead of cleaning it up. As usual, though, Lisa did the bulk of the cleaning. Ain’t that just like a man?

The most glorious thing about this round of plookiness: I didn’t catch it. That probably means the next round of yuck will hit me twice as hard.

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