Last night did not go well. My wife came home from work a little early, and went right to take a nap. I didn’t think much of it—she has a brutal week in a job to which she’s still acclimating. It had been building all week, and I thought it was just old-fashioned fatigue.
Man, was I wrong.
An hour later, she was calling for help, which was the first red flag. I found her in the bathroom, hunched over a puddle of vomit in the bathtub. To give a little perspective, we’ve been together eleven years now, and this was the third time I’ve known her to throw up (and this is including zero through two pregnancies). Like milk chocolate, it’s just not her thing.
Despite the obvious assumption, and our RECENT DRAMA, she is still not pregnant. So my mind went immediately to food. What did you eat? Did the kids eat it? Did I? We found out around midnight.
Bub woke up not just screaming—there was some gurgle/coughing activity that clued me into what I was about to walk into. He was sitting up in his bed, crying. In the shadows from the hall light, I could see some chunks on his bed, on his face, his bankie, the wall. I wasn’t really sure what to do, other than try to remain calm and remember protocol.
“Why did I spit up, Daddy?” he finally said. Oh, man.
It was at about that point I realized that we had no protocol for this. This being a talking sick child, had never happened before. Quite a difference. Babies spit up all the time. Even when they throw up properly, it’s usually not a big deal. They don’t understand, but they don’t understand enough to know they don’t understand.
Bub understood that he didn’t understand. And, naturally, he wanted answers. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any. I told him that Mommy had in fact been sick earlier, so maybe now he was sick, too. So I asked him how he felt.
“Good,” he said. Okay. Better than bad, but maybe not the best answer. He did not have a fever. He reeked, so my instinct was to throw him in the bath, but I didn’t want to further traumatize him. So we stood in the bathroom, and I asked him silly questions while gently extracting bits of vomit from his hair.
We changed his shirt, his sheets, got him some water and got him re-tucked. I washed bankie in the sink and hung it over his headboard, so it could be close and also dry. HP was fine. Awake and curious, but otherwise A-okay. I put her on her stomach, just in case, then went to bed.
Two hours later, I heard the call.
“Mama, mama, mama!” He never says Mama; he must have been sick. But Mommy was still out for the count herself. It was like an instant replay in there, only less vomit this time. Into the bathroom, changed the sheets, his shirt, scrubbed him down, forced some water, checked on HP. Bankie was half-dry; I flipped it over on the headboard, went back to bed.
Two hours later, the call came again. Back to the scene of the crime. Third set of sheets, third shirt, the whole nine. On the upside, bankie was completely dry, and came to bed with him. HP was thankfully still showing no signs of anything more than curiosity.
Three hours went by this time. It was 7 a.m. now. And I heard not screaming, but singing coming from their room.
“You bring the ocean, I’ll bring emotion, together we’ll make a love potion,” Bub sang. It is one of our current radio faves, and he was nailing it.
The differences between the two kids getting sick was striking this time. But the similarities remain, and there’s no worse feeling than knowing your child is suffering, if even to a small degree, and that you can do very little about it.
It’s a small comfort, but I do find a little solace in that, like those song lyrics, he doesn’t really know what being sick or food poisoning means. Sometimes it’s for the better.