The doctor came to our new house before the grass seed had even started to grow on the front lawn. He was skinny and smiled too much. My birthday dog, Lady, growled at him, but he touched the top of her head with a large hand and she curled up nearby in her favorite place. We were in the new living room that didn't even have a rug when the doctor told my parents that my older brother and my two younger sisters had The Measles, but I didn't. No school until the red bumps went away for my older brother and me, which was better than medicine because I hated the new school with nuns and itchy plaid uniforms and too many kids in one room.
The doctor said my brother and sisters should take oatmeal baths. OATMEAL BATHS!? I hated having to eat the warm, gloppy stuff...even with brown sugar sprinkled on top...who could play seals or float boats in a bathtub full of oatmeal? The new doctor also said I would probably get The Measles soon, but then he gave us all lollipops from his black bag and went away.
I asked my Mom how to spell measles and after she told me, I said "It really should have two e's and a z." Meezzls. Or Meezzlz. My Mom made us all Jell-O which I sort of hate but eat anyway because my Grandma says kids are starving in China and we should be grateful for our food. My Dad likes when she says that.
My grandmother came to help while my Dad is at work teaching. She is my mother's mother, which is kind of confusing, but my Dad's mother died a long time ago. He tells us stories about her and she sounds big and mean and scary. When my grandmother comes, my mother takes naps when my sisters take naps, so my brother and I were being pirates with sticks I had brought inside. I'm always getting yelled at by my Dad for bringing feathers and other stuff I find in the woods into the house. He says there's Germs.
Anyway, my grandma sees my brother and me fighting off a a sea dragon while standing on top of the new sofa. She gives us what my Mom calls a verbal lickin', "Get down from the top of the sofa! Never play with sticks in the house! Never play with sticks outside! If you play with sticks, you could get your eye poked out and have to get a glass eye FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!!
We climbed down. I threw the sticks outside and my brother and I built a fort in the new dining room, so we could talk about how much we should believe that grownups said. Oatmeal baths, how come I didn't get The Measles, kids starving in China, germs and sticks and glass eyes. Lady poked her nose in, underneath a blanket hanging from the table, and I made room for her on a sofa pillow. She ran with sticks in her mouth...and I cried just a little, thinking how terrible it would be if she had to get a glass eye.