WARNING: THOSE WHO ARE NOT PARENTS OR WITHOUT STRONG STOMACHS SHOULD PROBABLY AVOID READING THIS BLOG ENTRY!
Our Memorial Day weekend got off with a bang… or rather a whimper. I put Daniel to bed Saturday night and he complained his stomach was “pushy”. I didn’t think much about it until Meka and I heard the moan and cry from his room. We got in there quick enough to see Daniel emitting his dinner off the side of his bed. He was still half-asleep, so trying to get him to move – quickly – to the bathroom didn’t work too well. He had two more eruptions in his room before we got him planted in front of the toilet. Of course Daniel’s room was a mess. Meka picked out books and toys out of the puddles and rinsed them off in the shower. Fluffy Duck looked particularly bedraggled.
I like to think I am good in a crisis. You can count on me to make pretty good snap decisions. I can handle blood. If you have a scrape, cut or even a broken bone, I’m there to help you to the hospital. But vomit is my Achillies Heel. While Meka took care of kiddo, I found a sand shovel and began scooping chunks of Mighty Kids Meal out of the carpeting. It didn’t help that the cheeseburger and fries were still recognizable as once having been a cheeseburger and fries. The smell was almost the tipping point for me. I pulled my shirt over my nose and mouth, sweating and shaking and trying to keep my dinner down in its proper place.
Meka cleaned up the bed and shampooed the carpet. We got Daniel to bed again and gave him a bucket. He was a regular Old Faithful; generally retching twice an hour through the night. Meka went to bed around 3:00, but I stayed up in my office, listening for the moans that prompted me to pour puke water out of the bucket and rinse it out again. Oddly, the feeling I had was one of nostalgia. It reminded me of the long nights I stayed up with Daniel when he was a newborn with colic; just that helpless feeling knowing there was nothing I could do except try to make him comfortable. I thought about the amazing capacity he had to excrete his weight in poo about once every twenty minutes. No mere diaper could contain such quantities and there were many mornings when I would reach for him in the crib and hear a soft squish under my fingers. That was the signal poo had filled his one piece pajamas from neck to knees.
I opened the door to my office around dawn to greet my son in the hallway – naked and sobbing in terror – covered in brown smears. The bug that had started in his stomach had apparently finished up in his intestines. I just stood him in the shower and hosed him off, found his clothes and hosed them off too. I didn’t scream and I tried not to laugh. The warm fuzzy feelings of parenthood managed to get me through this long dark night without going absolutely crazy.