First Charlie had a cold. The cold is gone but a stiff and sore neck hangs on. Charlie hasn't had much experience with pain so he copes by crying. And whining. And blubbering. He crawls into our bed in the middle of the night so we can better enjoy the cacophony. We long for a good night's sleep.
We are sympathetic. The girls read him armloads of books and heat a rice-filled sock for his neck. John rubs Charlie's back and shares his Gameboy. Stuart and I medicate and massage. We rub Vicks into the sore spot and gently stretch neck and shoulder while he shouts, "Don't work on me!" We bribe him with candy cane bits and get him to tentatively shake his head no. Still he lists to starboard and cries. We pray over him and are thankful that he's not really sick.
Once we took our cat to the vet because she was limping and crying. Crying and crying. The vet prodded gently and the cat lept straight up off the examining table. "I'll have to put her to sleep to examine her. Calicoes are notorious babies." So we left her and after the tiny abcess on her paw had been discovered and attended to, we brought her home.
Last night, I tucked Charlie in, very gently so as not to jar his neck. I brushed fingertips through his hair and whispered a kiss on his forehead. "Stop! Stop! Don't touch me! You're hurting my head!" he screamed.
I think Charlie has a bit of Calico in him.
This is only the beginning of the story. It continues with Day One: Charlie's Comfort