Well, a week ago today, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, which means that we have six more weeks of winter coming. Or, I guess, five, as of this writing.

As if. First of all, it’s the same every year. I had to look it up, of course, to remember whether if it’s that he sees his shadow that means life sucks, or if he DOESN’T see it, but the point is, year after year it seems like he picks the one that means it’s going to be butt-cold for a while yet.

And secondly, six more weeks of winter after Feb 2nd only gets us through to March 16th, and if there’s anyone out there who thinks it’s going to be springtime in the Northeast by mid-March, well, I beg to differ. Mid-March is when you just can’t take it anymore, that you’re still wearing gloves at the bus stop every morning. Early to mid-February, where we are now, is when you just START to lose it with the long, gray, cold afternoons stuck inside. But we have eight weeks of crappy weather left, at LEAST.

The prognostication of Punxsutawney Phil also means that there will be at least six more weeks of Maddie’s runny nose, which has been at it for two weeks now with no signs of abating. She’s not eating, she’s up at 5:30 every morning, she’s coughing and increasingly miserable and so am I. Fergus battled strep throat this past week, and now Cooper has a mysterious non-strep (confirmed) malaise involving glassy eyes and a rather insistent fever. I’ve taken the boys to the doctor once each. Maddie has gone three times in the past week. Each time they look in her ears and throat, as she screams “Bye-bye! BYE-BYE!” and points desperately to the door. Each time I hope they’ll find something. “These ears are full of fluid!” I imagine them saying. Or “Hmm, just as I suspected. Throat pox.” Because if there’s a cause, there’s a solution, i.e. antibiotics, and she will be back to normal in 24 hours. But these days, if it’s not an infection, little ones get nada. No meds, just a humidifier and your pediatrician’s best wishes. At our third visit yesterday, as my mucus-y daughter was once again pronounced too healthy to medicate, the nurse practitioner took pity on us and whispered that half a teaspoon of Children’s Benadryl, at bedtime, might dry her out a little bit.

Does it make me a bad mother that I was hoping for a positive strep test? Because Fergus got one of those, and after two doses of bubble gum erithromicin, he was a new man. All I want is some sign that her cold, and The Cold, will soon be over. Phil, I want a do-over.