Sick Kids Suck


Warning: this gets gross and graphic. If you’re of a delicate flower variety and grossed out easily, you should check out another of my posts instead. You’ve been warned.

I woke up at about 3 am to the sound of Dash sleepily pawing at the door to my room. “I frew up all over my bed.” I hoped that this was just a nonsensical statement related to a bad dream, but went to investigate. Bear gave him a cursory once-over to check for puke before letting him climb into the bed, then promptly tried to go back to sleep for a couple of hours before he had to get up for work. When I got to the boys’ room I found a cranky Ozzie standing wide awake in his crib and a race car bed filled with a whole lot of foul mess, conveniently spread all over the sheets, blankets, and even the pillow. I set about that delightful bit of cleaning, and let the kids into the toy room to keep them from making it any harder.

This was a clear sign that I’d have an excellent day. And yet, at this point, I was still able to convince myself this could be a singular incident, a fluke, and surely not a full-force sickness settling over our house. Kids do wacky things! Sometimes they just toss their cookies for no discernible reason, right? Of course I’m right. I decided I’d play it safe by sticking to serving bland foods to help settle his tummy, but otherwise I’d just let him go on about his day.

My hopes were reinforced by the boys playing happily in the toy room for a while and then eating a light breakfast. Whew, no problem!

We were sitting on the couch watching a little tv together. My kid started to retch, and I foolishly didn’t have a bowl or bucket close at hand. I scooped him up as he spat a mouthful of ichor onto the seat of the couch and ran to the bathroom, only a few precious steps away. As we crossed the threshold,  vomit sprayed all over the nice new bamboo floor, creating a slick path to the toilet. I was just trying to get him over the toilet bowl, and couldn’t see that the traction of the ground in front of me had been compromised. My bare feel squelched down into the slick mess and I slid like a cartoon character hitting a banana peel, barely managing not to lose my balance. I lowered Dash so that his face was directed at the bowl just as he spewed out another stream, and then turned to get the light on so I could inspect the floor to see how bad it was. I also murmured reassuring babble to Dash, because I know throwing up is scary to small kids. What I didn’t think about was that a three year old doesn’t concern himself with aiming, and when I turned to look at the floor, he turned to look at me. Without thinking I swooped down to catch the vomit. Why the hell did I do that? Oh, joy, now I have saved the disgusting messy floor from being splattered, and have a handful of half-digested goo for my trouble.

I redirected him toward the toilet and rinsed my hands, then stood over him, patting his back and talking him through the process. I hate to be touched when I’m physically ill, but that is apparently not his puking style.

Having a sick kid sucks. Just the part where I had someone’s vomit on me is bad enough. That I would have to clean it from the couch and floor was no picnic either. That I had a half-crying, half-pathetic-whimpering child to strip out of soiled pajamas and to steer clear of spreading it everywhere while also trying to keep Ozzie from playing in it was just the icing on the cake.

I looked over at the clock and saw it was only about 6:30am. Why does a day have to have so many hours in it?

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Once upon a time, when the flu hit the house,  it meant I’d spend some time kneeling before a toilet, and some time snuggled up in some blankets and watching tv, and maybe sipping some broth or Gatorade.  I’d likely attempt to sleep away some of the day. Don’t get me wrong: it wasn’t anything to get excited about.  But when your kid is sick, and also young enough to not have the routine down, it is magnified a hundred times.  There is puke all over the house. There are at least three extra loads of laundry, but probably more like five by the end of the day. Even when they aren’t actively causing a vile mess, they want to be right under my feet, so they’re keeping me from accomplishing the clean-up in any reasonable timeframe. It SUCKS.

And then my own stomach started to turn queasy. Party on!

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