As I watched my 3-year-old daughter heave her guts up into a makeshift barf bucket I had the same reaction as any decent Mother:
Please lord, don’t let me get what she has. Take the other kids.. even the little cute one. Just spare me.
But I knew I was toast. My mind did a quick inventory of every time I had come into contact with her over the previous 48 hours. The day before I had finished her apple. She drank out of my water glass. I kissed her goodnight. And I’m pretty sure at some point she had spit in my mouth or sneezed in my face, because that’s how we roll around here.
For the next few days I was on Code Orange with every twitch, twitter and twirl of my stomach. “Hang onto your hats… here comes the big one!” I thought each time I farted.
But alas – nothing. After four straight days of feeling fine I got cocky and careless. Tuesday night was my book club night and I ordered linguine. With clams. And then scallops. And then cheesecake. Yes, I tempted fate and fate does not care for seafood.
That night I had awful dreams of being chased around a pool in the middle of a country bar by tiger sharks while a large crowd of people watched. Like, instead of a mechanical bull they had a pool filled with sharks, and somehow I found myself in it and I couldn’t get out. While tiger sharks tried to chomp me.
I now understand that the tiger sharks symbolized my not-quite-digested bodily fluids and the pool represented my toilet. And the crowd of calloused and completely unsympathetic onlookers, not providing me the least bit of help or sympathy, represented my children.
I woke from the dream at 5:30am in a cold sweat with my stomach cramping and acid building in the back of my throat. It’s all in my imagination. Will it away. Mind over matter. Flowers and fresh air. Springtime and hay fields. I won’t barf. No. Not this day.
But my stomach and God had other plans. I sprang to my feet and ran into the bathroom as a hurricane exploded in my intestines, spewing debris out of my body’s every oraface. The tiger shark wanted out and its teeth were sharp, my friends. So sharp. It continued this way through the morning. At some point I remember my Mother-In-Law coming to pick up the girls – who, by the way, were NO HELP WHATSOEVER, and mercifully I was able to fall into a medicated sleep for a few hours.
And then as fast as it came on it was gone, and by that night it was like nothing had even happened. All was right with the world and I was no longer pleading for death to come quickly.
Except… now I know that no, I can NOT count on my kids to save me if, say, my arm ever becomes lodged in between the furnace and the dryer or I fall down the stairs and break my leg.
This little episode has shone the light of truth on my kids’ true colors.
I sat with my 3-year-old for hours and hours, holding her hair, washing her bucket, wiping her face and bringing her water when she was sick. And what thanks do I get in return? She throws a fit because I don’t immediately refill her cereal bowl because I can’t peel myself off of the kitchen floor. Oh, we’ll see who’s sorry the next time they’re sick, MISSY!
Sharing the details of misery on Facebook, I noticed several of my fellow Moms are dealing with the same stomach bug cycling through their homes. It’s never easy, especially with multiple children, to be running around mopping up vomit, especially when you’re sick yourself, so I thought I’d share a few tricks for surviving sickness in your house. Enjoy.
1.When I was a kid, my Mom always used to make our cat go out back when it was sick. If your kids are reluctant to get off of the warm couch and out into the cold, tell them you hear Santa on the roof. Then quickly lock the door once they’re out on the deck. Turn on holiday music to drown out the subsequent knocking/guilt.
Caution, tip #1 may result in the need to pull the trigger on Plan B, AKA Operation Shake Family Services. You will want to have your passport, fake mustache and one-way ticket to Iceland in your purse.
2.Things made a major improvement when they stopped throwing stuff up and moved into the dry heaving stage. Might I suggest feeding your kids when only necessary throughout flu season, and when they look a little peaked or complain of hunger pangs use restraint. Don’t underestimate the expanding power of a saltine when it absorbs a little water.
3.Use your resources. At the first sign of illness call your in-laws and tell them your kids were crying because they missed them. Also tell them they made them a Christmas present and then when you drop it off ask if they can stay the night. Pretend like everything is fine, then drive like hell. Turn off your phone.
You’re welcome. And good luck.