So Puke Watch ’10 last night turned out to be a bit of a bluff. We saw the storm brewing from afar; we fully expected to be hit with the worst; we were ready with buckets, and prepared to make sandbags, if we needed to.
The boy has always been a puker, since Day One. He weighed nothing more than six-and-a-half-whopping-pounds when he decided that puking up his milk would be an interesting event, and he proceeded to do it on a regular basis.
Three ounces of milk in; two-and-a-half ounces of milk out.
And by out, I mean All Over Mama. And the floor. And the receiving blanket. And his outfit. It was a daily occurrence for us, which became rather normal. Hubs and I were amazed that the little fellow continued to grow and thrive, and we mentioned to his pediatrician on more occasions than once that it was no wonder he was in the 10th percentile for height and weight, because he wouldn’t keep his milk in his tummy. Where, I might add, it belonged.
The pediatrician assured us that the boy was fine, and that he was just a bit of a runt. Small. Completely UN-destined for the NBA.
Eventually, the boy grew enough to move himself to the 12th percentile for both height and weight, and Hubs and I considered it to be a Major Achievement.
As the years progressed, we learned that the boy would always be Our Little Puker. If he said his head hurt, he puked. If he had a fever, he puked. If he had stubbed his toe on a Tonka truck, he puked. If he accidentally swallowed a bite of potatoes, he puked. If he got the toothbrush too far back in his mouth, he puked. If he had a cold, he puked.
His gag reflex was like no other. It was (and continues to be) his sharpest reflex, by far.
Once, in pre-kindergarten, as my friend Bridget and I were standing on the playground, watching our little mites play together, the boy came running up to me and said, “I coughed too hard, and I threw up!”
It wasn’t a big puke, by our standards. He had a little bit on the front part of the hood on his Columbia coat, but it snapped off easily enough, so I took it with me. Bridget looked at me and inquired if he was sick.
No. No, he wasn’t sick. He coughed. And coughing equals puking.
I took the hood to the boy’s coat home, and I washed it, while he was at school.
Or so I thought.
The following day, Bridget met up with me on the playground again, and she gave me an enormous smile, as she simply stated, “I have a story for you.”
Apparently, Gran (Bridget’s mom) had picked little Ben up from pre-kindergarten, and had driven him home. The entire way home, she smelled something awful. She thought that Ben’s rubber muck boots had perhaps stepped in something best left unstepped in. No. That wasn’t the case. She made five-year-old Ben turn hither and yon, as she examined him in the yard. Nothing. She couldn’t figure out why he smelled like an uncleaned barn.
Bridget then grabbed Ben from Gran, and she headed back into town for a Christmas party. Throughout her drive, she realized what Gran had been talking about. When she and Ben got to town, the stench was horrid, and she had the windows down on her Blazer. She examined the bottoms of Ben’s muck boots. Nothing. She made him twirl and turn, looking for something that was on him. Still nothing.
At the Christmas party, Bridget was approached by a couple of people who quietly whispered that Ben didn’t smell quite right. Ben appeared to be completely immune to the little, smelly black cloud that was following after him.
And that is when Bridget went all Murder, She Wrote and did some deeper investigation. What she found was horrid. There was puke on the inside of Ben’s coat, right down the back.
Apparently, the boy had been up on the playground equipment when he coughed. And when he puked. And Ben, bless his unsuspecting heart, had been BENEATH the playground equipment when the boy coughed. And when the boy puked.
And the puke fell nicely down from the top of the playground equipment and landed in the neck opening of Ben’s coat, and dripped between his back and his coat, leaving not a single drop exposed on the outside. And then Ben proceeded to wear his coat all day at school, because he was cold, what with the temperature being rather frigid.
People, this happened at 8:00 in the morning, before school started, and Ben wore that coat until school was out.
Because he was cold.
Ben and the boy are Puke Buddies. Puke Brothers. Bonded By Puke. A real friendship is only sealed when one friend pukes on the other, and the other lives through it.
I don’t, however, recommend participating in the event of becoming a Puke Buddy with someone, because it tends to be rather unpleasant. Especially — most especially! — if you wear your coat for the following eight hours.
Over the years, we have just come to expect Grand Puke Episodes whenever the boy gives any indication that he is not feeling well. Yesterday, when he told me no less than a dozen times that his stomach hurt and that he felt like he was going to throw up, we stuck close to the toilet and the bucket. We are not dummies; we know the warning signs.
Stomach Ache Equals Puke.
Headache Equals Puke.
Swallowing Too Much Water in a Public Swimming Pool Equals Puke.
A Windy Monday Equals Puke.
Somehow, though, we had no GPEs (Grand Puke Episodes) during the entire day yesterday. Hubs and I were amazed. Hubs was ready, at a moment’s notice, to leave the premises, which he always does during a GPE. Hubs cannot remain within hearing distance or smelling distance of a GPE and survive, without hosting his own GPE immediately. Hubs’ gag reflex is instantaneously triggered by a GPE, whether the original GPE is hosted by the boy, the cat, the goldfish, or an actor in a televised show.
The movie Four Christmases about did Hubs in. He had to cover his face with a throw pillow from our sofa when the baby threw up. Naturally, I laughed hysterically. At Hubs. Because we’ve been married plenty long enough to laugh AT one another now and remain in love.
Once, when the boy was a tiny diapered mite who still slept in his crib, he and I both had a bit of the stomach flu at the same time. And because of this, we had two simultaneous GPEs. One in the crib that dripped and oozed onto the floor (from the boy), and one in the bathroom (from me). Naturally, there were tears being shed during each GPE, because a puking baby usually cries, and a puking mama, who cannot get to her puking baby, usually cries, too.
Hubs did the only thing he could.
He picked up the phone, dialed my parents’ number, and shouted (shouted, people!) into the receiver, “Mam! Please come! Please come right now! They are BOTH puking, and I need help!”
And by help, Hubs meant that he needed Mam to just take over, while he got into the truck and went for a drive, as he sucked in great big breaths of fresh outside air and recovered.
Naturally, Mam came. My dad said that she set a world record for slipping her shoes on and grabbing her purse. Mam is the most responsible driver Small Town, USA can boast of, but I have heard tales that she may have broken a few driving regulations to make it to us in something less than six minutes.
Naturally, she took over like a whirlwind. She had the baby boy cleaned up and fresh crib bedding on in seconds. She had the washing machine going. She had Cloroxed my bathroom, mopped the bedroom floor, brought me a 7-Up, and heated a bottle to give to the boy, since he had just emptied his tummy.
Hubs later said, “I don’t know how she does it, but your mom is amazing with double GPEs.”
And all of this is to simply say this one thing: We made it through the night last night, with absolutely no GPE. The boy has set a new record for himself. He went to bed at 6:20 last night, and he was asleep by 6:22. I looked at Hubs and told him that I was prepared for the worst, and Puke Watch ’10 began in earnest. Hubs announced that he’d probably be sleeping in the basement.
The basement, which is far away from the sound of a full-throttle, totally-engaged-and-in-progress GPE.
I think that I woke up exactly forty-seven times last night, as I kept checking. And listening. And waiting for the hit.
The boy’s alarm went off at 6:15 this morning, and he popped out of bed to assure us that he felt marvelous! He showered, dressed, made his bed, ate two Pop Tarts (Shhh! Don’t tell his teacher, who thinks that he should have a nutritious breakfast for the state testing that their class is undergoing right now!), brushed his teeth, made coffee and chai tea for Hubs and me, and practiced his piano songs.
He laughed. He giggled. He chased the cats. He was well-rested, after twelve hours’ worth of sleep.
And I stand amazed that we got through Puke Watch ’10 without an episode.
And, for the record, we had the boy in to see his pediatrician over Christmas break. Regardless of the fact that he throws his vitamins and minerals all over everywhere during a GPE, the boy has grown and thrived. He is now in the 15th percentile for height, and the 20th percentile for weight.
We may make it to the NBA yet!