Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Down Side

There are lots of cool things about having kids. Today's post has nothing to do with any of them.

This is about the down side.

Kids are gross. They have very little control of their bodies, and as a result, much of what happens to their bodies gets splattered around for all the world to see.

Boogers run out of their noses. Hideous-smelling farts escape uncontrollably. Poop leaks out of the backs of their diapers. They pee in the tub. And they vomit.

Oh, man, the vomit.

My poor little Squiddie just got over a nasty stomach flu (only to be immediately followed up by croup, but that's neither here nor there.)

I spent all of Thursday night sitting up with him, either at his bedside with a bucket, or perched on the edge of the tub, rubbing his back as he ridded himself of every food he had eaten since the time of his birth. I always feel so bad for kids when they throw up. It's such a primal function, and there is nothing you can do or say to make it any less horrible. We tried giving him Pepto Bismol, but he couldn't keep it down for more than 5 minutes, so rather than continuing to replenish his digestive system with barfable substances, we gave up and decided to wait it out.

Finally, at about 6:30 Friday morning, the vomiting slowed down, then stopped (at which point Isaiah started to puke, but at least he was a little less labour-intensive than Squid, and all I had to do for him was call his school, fetch a glass of water and turn up the heat).

I ran out to Safeway and picked up about 32 bottles of ginger ale and some more Pepto, and when I got home, settled Squid onto the couch and Isaiah into his bed with nice glasses of flat, clear liquid, and spent the rest of the day on the couch with Eva, hoping I wouldn't get sick till after she did.

I was worried that Squid couldn't keep anything down, so I made sure he had a sip of ginger ale every 20 minutes or so, to keep him hydrated, and by about 3 that afternoon, when everything had stayed where it belonged, I started to feel brave.

First I gave him some Children's Tylenol to bring his fever down (which he chased with a bit more ginger ale because Tylenol tastes like 'fruit, but nasty fruit', and he needed to get it off his tongue), and after a few moments, let him go downstairs to play XBox.

He came up a while later when Jason got home from work, and asked if he could have a freezie, because he was still overheated and wanted something to eat. I figured he had last thrown up more than 8 hours ago, so a freezie couldn't hurt, grabbed him one, and sat him down on the couch to eat it.

I knew I had pushed my luck too far when the expression on his face changed suddenly and he sat bolt upright, screeching "Where's my bucket? Where's my bucket?" Ah, yes. Helpful bucket. I had been lulled into a false sense of security. It was downstairs, next to the XBox. All fresh and clean and lined with a plastic bag, and of absolutely no use to anyone.

I grabbed his hand, yanked him off the couch and started to sprint for the bathroom. I really, truly believed we could make it (but then, I also believe that saying the word 'snow' out loud in June will cause the inevitable to happen, so I am probably not a reliable predictor of future events). Right as we stepped off the area rug onto laminate floor (in retrospect, I guess I should be grateful that we had stepped off area rug onto laminate floor), he erupted. Since we were running and he was facing forward, the vomit naturally sprayed in our direction of travel, creating a giant puddle of blue-tinted ginger ale in our path.

Mother Nature had laid her little trap.

As he started to round the corner into the hallway, his bare feet skidded in the puddle of barf. He struggled, almost righted himself, and, just when I though we would make it, he went down, taking me with him.

He lay on his back in the pool of liquid sugar, head turned to the side as he continued to empty his stomach, while I (for a split second, but it seemed like days) debated my next course of action. Finally, I grabbed him under his (oh, so warm and sticky) armpits, hauled him up, and carried his still-vomiting little body to the bathroom, leaving a dripping river of happiness along our path.

Jason, who had (Miraculously??? Or on purpose??? You decide....) missed the entire event, was in the kitchen, and as I called him to come help me, I realised that Eva, who loves nothing more than to tag along behind Squid everywhere he goes, was on the verge of following our nasty little trail down the hallway. I ran back into the living room, picked her up (touching as little of her as possible), and handed her to Isaiah, who looked very much as though he was going to have to find a bucket himself. I ran upstairs and grabbed as many towels as I could without having to touch anything else in the linen closet, and while Jason sat with Squid (who was fine now, as the worst had already happened) on the bathroom floor, I started to clean up the mess.

Honestly, I was lucky. There were no identifiable chunks, designed to turn me off of food for 6 months, and the liquid was virtually clear and non-staining. I didn't even gag once. I cleaned everything up with the towels, mopped the floor with super hot water, and ran it all (including my clothes, as the hems of my pants were starting to stiffen) down to the washing machine and set it to 'Obliterate'.

Feeling as though that whole awful situation had been MUCH easier to deal with than I originally thought it would, I threw on another outfit, washed my hands (twenty or thirty times), checked on Jason, Isaiah, and Eva (who were hiding out in the kitchen), and walked into the living room.

And there, laying back down on my living room couch, crusty hair matting into a solid block of drying blue raspberry, head perched exhaustedly on a throw pillow, shirt and underwear soaked through and reeking of barf, covered with a (no longer) clean quilt, was my darling Squid.

Some days, the only thing keeping me sane is knowing that it will be REALLY funny later.

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