This is just unbearably sad.
My daughter has the flu. That kind that involves involuntary weeping and passing in and out of consciousness. She was plonked on the couch yesterday when she woke up and didn't move until her mother got out of work. Didn't eat a thing. She just lay there with Teddy (the old one), Teddy (the new one that's really a cat) and Teddy (a purple ladybug that the other teddy bears called Teddy because they really like the name). She's back there now with me sitting next to her doing this. And she's just crying because she feels that crappy. The stuff I've been trained by other parents to give feeble children (Snapple and Popcicles, mostly) even seems to be too much of a struggle for her. My son is demonstrating his illness by clinging to me like a tiny monkey. No - like a tick. Nature is cruel in this sense that I am completely over-touched at the point where both my kids just want to lie in a big pile on top of me like a family of ferrets.
By the end of yesterday I did manage to alleviate the more pressing crisis though. That being that I'd had no chocolate all day. My wife got home and I zoomed off to the store for some. Well - actually for stuff for soothing my kids. Wherein I got into a weird argument with the pharmacist at my local grocery store. I couldn't find any chewable Ibuprofen. After doing that thing where you keep looking in the same spot assuming it has to be there so will magically appear at some point, I asked the pharmacist if they had any children's tablets. To which she quickly and judgmentally replied that no such thing exists. Because as everyone knows it's evil to give such things to kids because they can't swallow tablets until they're 12 - so they'd likely choke to death. I'd literally just given my daughter some before driving to the store. So whereas normally I'd just shrug it off and assume a miscommunication of some type I decided to say, "no the chewable ones - I just gave my daughter some but ran out....?" To which the pharmacist said, almost exasperated, "for children!?" She then told me that "there is such an animal" but that to her recollection they're usually for elderly people who can't swallow. She gave me the "this one's a loon" eyebrow raise as well.
I just left with some run-of-the-mill children's Tylenol in a bottle at that point. Figured I'd get the chewable tablets somewhere else. Annoyingly this would mean I might have to visit an actual pharmacy. There are a few things that make you seriously question American hegemony over the world that don't involve military intervention, cultural imperialism or any of the usual stereotypical culprits (most of which aren't actually legitimate to be fair). But one thing that makes me want to smash my face into a massive facepalm is visiting a pharmacy. It is so boringly old and well-heard for expats to recount how twisted and backward a US pharmacy is. The main point being that the one place you go for your medications is a fountainhead for cigarettes and beer. It's a bewildering and obvious stupidity to me as a British person. How can you possibly have a pharmacy that's two main items cause most of the chronic illness in the Western world? It's completely demented.
I also get a reminder that I'm becoming too comfortable with that sort of corporatism in my life. Not that I truly am the sort of person who makes a special effort to only use small vendors, independent farmers and to avoid the well-known big corporations that have a proven ethically-questionable track record. But I have betrayed my pledge to not use certain stores or to buy naff quality meat at times. And I had actually made the effort to learn certain things and to also actually make the effort to do as much from-scratch-with-good-ingredients cooking for a long while. But honestly I've become quite lazy about that over the last couple of months. And I have repeatedly justified going to Walmart for stuff like aluminum foil because it's a $1.50 less - and end up doing an almost-full grocery shop there. Which is the epitome of selling apparently flimsy values for a good deal. It also reminded me of what a tit I am that I felt a pang of righteousness at remembering that I have weird objections to pharmacies, but that I still seemed to think that was enough. Reminds of the Dylan Moran joke about how he's a vegetarian morally, but he still eats meat because it's delicious - but morally he's on solid ground. Add I still bought my daughter some lemonade and Popsicles with nary a thought about them. And I already know that today I'll likely swallow my pride (like a snake unhinging it's jaw...) and go to the pharmacy for those tablets. And Mini Eggs. Although that's unforgivable - buying something associated with one holiday before the next one has actually occurred? Utterly shameful.
It would also make me look the absolute glutton and failure-parent to go out in what promises to be a virulent snow storm with a very sick child for chocolate eggs. But at least I'll feel morally superior for not going to the easily identifiable store below with displaying this sort of parental-excellence.