So yesterday, when Thing 2 took a 3-hour nap in the morning, I didn’t think much of it.
(Except, you know, YAY! I washed a load of clothes and folded them, and talked to Jesus for a bit, and even… ahem… might have even peeked at the Pinterest.)
Yesterday, when Thing 2 wouldn’t eat for me, I didn’t think much of it.
(Except, you know, WOW! Since when has he started passing up the Ritz crackers? And why, when you DON’T WANT TO EAT ONE, must you go ahead and TAKE ONE, just so you can squish it in your hand and create fourteen-point-nine billion crumbs on the kitchen floor? The kitchen floor has enough problems already… Problems that start with WHO SLOPPED SOMETHING STICKY OVER HERE? and end with WHAT IS THIS BLACK GUNK SMEARED ON THE FLOOR BY THE FRIDGE? ANYONE???)
Yesterday, when I picked Thing 2 up from Hubs’ parents’, after leaving him with them while I taught PE, and hearing them tell me, “Yeah. So he was very cuddly today, and he wouldn’t eat any crackers,” I finally saw the red flag flash at me.
(Exactly like I was in a big, open arena in Spain. With the red flag WAVING, and OH, MAN! Is that the bull?)
Yesterday, when I left Hubs’ parents and drove little Thing 2 to the junior high school, to wait for the boy to come out, and Thing 2 chose to just SIT QUIETLY in my lap and not DRIVE THE SUBURBAN IN THE PARKING LOT LIKE HE WAS A BOSS, I became just a titch more worried.
(The red flag was flapping right in front of my face.)
Yesterday, when the boys and I got home at 4:00, and I sat Thing 2 on the kitchen floor and watched him barf a puddle that was equal in volume to Lake Eerie, I suddenly wasn’t surprised.
Except I actually was surprised when I picked him up out of the giant mess, and he barfed exactly that much AGAIN, all over me.
That was a lot of puke for us to wade through, and it’s always so nice to have bile and chunks of who knows WHAT dripping off of your sweatshirt.
Later, when we were rocking in the rocking chair, Thing 2 looked at me with a look of complete terror on his face, and then he opened his mouth, and PROJECTED, WITH GREAT FORCE, Round Three into my lap.
There may have been a frozen moment in time when I screeched to the boy, “Mama needs a bucket! Please! Help me! I have a puddle of barf in my lap! If I stand up, I will flood the floor!” The boy brought me a giant bowl, and then he started gagging when he saw what his brother and I were sitting in.
I’m telling you, people… Motherhood is not for the faint or the weak. If you don’t like sitting in an enormous puddle of slop that came out of someone else’s stomach, then maybe you’d better reconsider motherhood, if you haven’t already embarked on that adventure.
(For the record? This was not something that we learned in 8th grade Home Economics, when we had a hard-boiled egg baby, that we had to dress up and keep from cracking for two straight weeks, in a lesson on HOW TO KEEP A CHILD ALIVE.)
(My 8th grade egg baby was precious. She lived for two entire weeks, with nary a mark, and she was never left unattended.)
(I’m pretty sure that Hubs’ 8th grade egg baby was supplemented with six of his hard-boiled brothers, dressed to look just like him, before the two-week span was over. I’m pretty sure that Hubs and his egg baby were very similar to Axl from The Middle, when he brought home HIS baby!)
(And the answer is NO. Our 8th grade Home Economics teacher NEVER ONCE told us, “One day, these eggs will become REAL BABIES, and they will BARF ALL OVER YOU. And you will be sitting in a lake of bile and blueberry yogurt that has been partially digested, and you will still be able to cook dinner after you clean it all up.”)
By 6:00 last night, while Hubs was happy to be out of the house and it’s STRONG SMELL when he took the boy and the neighbor boys to youth group at the church, Thing 2 grabbed both of his ears and screamed.
And then I knew.
I texted Hubs. “Ear infection!”
Thankfully, our pediatrician never slumbers or sleeps, and she is in her office for twenty-nine hours every single day. We called her, and she said, “Bring him up.”
And, people. I’m telling you — I should have been a doctor, because I was spot-on with the diagnosis. RAGING DOUBLE EAR INFECTION, and here’s your antibiotics.
We brought Thing 2 home, squirted medicine that he cringed at down his throat, and I rocked him to sleep.
Hubs quietly opened his bedroom door at 9:00 to check on him, and yelled, “Help me! He’s puked! I can’t do this! Help me! PUKE! EVERY! WHERE!!!!” And then Hubs launched into an acting demonstration of dry-heaving and gagging that would have catapulted him to an Oscar.
Thing 2 was sitting up in his crib, floating in Lake Eerie. He had puke in his eyelashes and hair. Puke was pouring through the slats of the crib. I won’t lie, in case y’all were wondering: It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t pretty, like gutted deer aren’t pretty.
But I’m so, SO PROUD of Hubs, because last night, he managed to take a barf-filled crib sheet off and carry it to the laundry room without puking himself. It’s the very first time in twelve years of being a daddy that he’s been able to accomplish this chore. It’s the first time in twelve years of parenting that he hasn’t had to run outside to escape, just so he wouldn’t throw up himself. I think it’s because he knew that his other choice last night was to pick up the baby, who was literally dripping vomit everywhere. At least with the sheet, he could hold it at arm’s length away from his body, while he dry-heaved all the way down the stairs.
And that, people, is how our night went.
There was puke. There was crying. Thing 2 even cried. Eventually I wheeled the crib into our bedroom, so that I could JUST LAY ON THE BED AND CLOSE MY EYEBALLS FOR FORTY SECONDS, and finally, Thing 2 crashed somewhere after midnight.
And, in case there was any wondering, this double ear infection is coming right on the tail end of RSV and Croup and Mama’s Rat Butt Cheeks Chest Cold From Hades.
(Don’t tell my mama I said all that. It’s not polite.)
This morning, my friend Peggy told me, “I think it’s time to smear the lamb’s blood around your door frames. It worked to ward off the plague for the Israelites during the Passover.”
Oh, Peg. You may be on to something, because SWEET MERCY, GLADYS! Our family has never experienced sickness at this level before.
Ever. At all.
And so last night, I had to lay in bed and listen to Thing 2 moan in his sleep from his aching ears and try to list my blessings out loud to keep my spirits up. This was an ear infection. Ear infections are treatable with antibiotics. Ear infections don’t last forever. Chest colds don’t last forever. Coughs eventually go away. I think I have snapshots of my house when it was really clean stored on the computer somewhere. Clean houses are overrated. Not everyone has a house that smells good. I can afford to buy Clorox to clean up the puke on the kitchen floor. We have health insurance, and it’s getting a workout in this winter. Our pediatrician never slumbers or sleeps. Neither does Jesus.
And I know that there are those out there who are holding sick babies in hospitals right now. And I know that some of those sick babies won’t be going back to their bedrooms here on earth, ever. And I know that there are hurting mothers in poverty who watch their babies suffer, because there are no doctors to take them to and no health insurance to cover the expenses.
One of my friends emailed me the other day and said, “I love reading your blog; you sound so positive, even when you’re so sick, day after day. How on earth do you not just GRIPE and VENT about all the germs when you’re writing?”
I count my blessings, that’s how. And I know that if I don’t laugh at things, I’ll just end up sobbing. And we have a strong line of family support here, and we have friends who drop off hot cups of love from Starbucks as emotional encouragement. (Although those friends simply ring the doorbell and dash, because they don’t want to BECOME EXPOSED TO THE PLAGUE when I open the door! You know who you are!)
Plus, I have Hubs. I know single mothers, and I honestly do not know how they rally the strength at the end of the day, completely alone, to handle vomit in large doses that runs through the bars of the crib. Hubs is there. And Hubs helps, as best as he can before he gags and pukes himself.
Plus, who wouldn’t want Hubs’ help for things? He’s a BLESSING UNTO ME. Just the other night, while we were lying in bed and I was coughing like I’d caught the whooping cough’s stronger cousin, I kept talking and talking, in between all the hacking. Hubs said, “Shh. Be quiet now and just go to sleep.” I told him, “I can’t. I have a cough drop in my mouth, and if I fall asleep with it, I might choke and die, so I have to keep talking to you, so I can stay awake until my cough drop is gone. What would you do if you woke up in the morning and I’d choked and died from a cough drop?”
People, Hubs leaned over and said to me, “I would take your ashes with me to a monster truck rally and shoot you out of a canon. Send you off with a big bang.”
Will the lamb’s blood on the door frame keep Hubs away? Because, on second thought, maybe having him around is more of an issue than I thought.
Y’all have a great weekend. Stay healthy. But, if you can’t, focus on the blessings. They’re there. You might just have to dig hard in your heart to pull them up right now.