It was 60 degrees here this morning, which is unusual, because this is early March, and this isn’t Florida. Small Town, USA’s March weather is usually more like a temperamental first cousin of the Yukon, except not that balmy. But this morning, Hubs and I drove the Suburban with the sunroof open. Thing 2 wore a sweatshirt, because his heavy, winter coat made him seem a little overdressed. We talked about planting flowers. Or rather, I talked about planting flowers, because Hubs is actually too manly to stoop over and plant petunias in a pot. If he’s going to plant anything, it’s going to be a vine as thick as a cow, that blossoms with ribeye steaks.
And now tonight? Well. The wind is howling like it’s trying to impress a hurricane, and it’s snowing sideways. The Great Blizzard of 1888 seems a bit minor right now, even though historical records indicate that 40 to 5o inches of snow fell back then.
So that’s where we’re sitting with the weather. And if I’m talking about the weather, I think it’s safe to say that I don’t have a lot to write about.
Except I do. Sort of. Because listen. On Friday morning, at 6:00, when I walked into Thing 2’s bedroom to release him from his crib, I realized he was sitting in a brown mess, and I could not (COULD! NOT!) for the life of me put the two with the two and come up with the four. All I could do was stare at it and mumble, “What in the world?”
And then I realized.
It was the diarrhea. And if y’all think that puking in the crib is bad, then let me redirect your thoughts to blowing a diaper out with liquid poop.
Thing 2’s diarrhea lasted all day. I know some of you will read this and say, “Oh, MY child had THE WORST diarrhea back in the day.” I’m going to just assure you that… NO. No, your child did not have the worst case. Not even close. Because there aren’t enough colorful adjectives to even describe Friday.
By 2:00 that afternoon, my baby was becoming wickedly dehydrated. He decided that all he wanted to do was sit in my lap and moan. His eyes got glassy… he quit his nonstop baby babble… and he just stared at me with tired eyes.
And then he sat up and vomited HORIZONTALLY to the floor. I’ve heard of projectile vomiting before, and I always thought, “Yes, I’ve seen that.” Because wouldn’t you think that it was PUKING WITH GREAT FORCE? No. Thing 2 shot a stream of barf out of his mouth like a fire hose had opened up, and it shot four feet across his bedroom, at the speed of a rocket launch, where it all landed in a laundry basket that was filled with his clean clothes, which I hadn’t put away yet.
The second wave, which happened half of a nanosecond later, was like a tsunami that hit me full force in the chest and flooded my lap and splattered on my chin and throat.
The third wave came before Wave Two had even finished, and it soaked my legs and shoes and puddled on the floor.
I will honestly tell you that I simply sat motionless in the rocking chair for a few seconds, because I had no idea how to even begin the cleanup process. I was ready for the President to just declare it all a natural disaster and send in troops and microwavable meals and relief dollars.
And did I mention THE TROOPS?! With the Haz Mat suits? Who would put a nylon tent around my house, like they did in E.T., and help me get up out of the mess I was sitting in?
And so I called our pediatrician, but only after Thing 2 and I were both redressed in fresh clothing. She insisted that we begin force-feeding him Pedialyte right that second. So the question was, “How do I get the Pedialyte, when it is at the store, and my little fellow is an active volcano, erupting with great force from both directions?”
I sent out an S.O.S. signal, and Jodi brought me Pedialyte. She also brought me a grande, no-water chai latte, and I have never loved any person on this planet more than I loved her at that very moment. Somehow, with a cup from Starbucks in my hand, I knew things would be okay again.
As it turned out, there was no need to force-feed purple Pedialyte to Thing 2, because we found out that he LOVES the stuff. As in, he SERIOUSLY loves the stuff. He thinks it’s better than soda and Disneyland and blueberry yogurt, all rolled up into one purple package.
At 4:00 on Friday, our pediatrician called me back for a report. The report was, “We have changed clothes three more times since 2:30, due to messes, but we’re guzzling Pedialyte like we’re at a 21st birthday party.”
I cannot even tell you how sick I am of fluids that have been in another person’s nose, stomach or bowels. Dr. B insisted that we come in.
So in we went. Thing 2 barfed all over me in Dr. B’s office, which was great. They gave him a shot, and we had to wait for thirty minutes to make sure he didn’t have a reaction to it. I sat there, in a chair, holding my exhausted baby, and covered (COVERED!) in his puke. The nurses offered me rolls of paper towels, but all I really wanted was some liquid Valium in a nebulizer and somebody’s shoulder to cry upon.
I always hoped for such a day when I dreamed of being a mother.
On Saturday, my mom came over to our house. She gave up her entire day to help vacuum and scrub and fold laundry… we opened the windows and we mopped up a storm, in the hopes that the curse of germs would slide right out the windows. I felt frightfully guilty, because… what with the RSV and the croup and the double ear infections and the puking, puking, puking and the diarrhea (SWEET MERCY! THE POOP!) and my Black Death Chest Cold, it had been two entire weeks since I began stockpiling the daily mail on our dining room table without opening any of it and quit vacuuming. My mom was unfazed. She’s a cleaner. She’s also precious.
And do you know what? I really love a clean house. At the end of Saturday, I was exhausted, and I thought I could smell poop with every single breath I took, but my house was spotless. I felt like a measure of normalcy had returned.
My house was clean, I wasn’t wearing anyone’s vomit, and I felt like a queen.
Today, Hubs and I put the boy on a school bus, which is bound for the state science fair at the bottom of our state. I sent enough snacks to feed an entire unit of soldiers… or three twelve-year-old boys… for three days. And then I made the boy and his buddies pose for the camera and smile, because it’s what I do.
The boy has grown up so much this year. His mama has a dreadfully hard time shoving him on a bus and sending him away. I pretend that I’m good at it, what with all the other mothers standing around the bus and waving and behaving like normal, dry-eyed human beings, but the honest truth is… I’m NOT good at it. I like all of my peeps together, at home, and yet… I want that boy to have wings and my blessing to experience fun things in life. And I don’t want him to be the kid who has to sink down in the bus seat to hide from his friends’ stares, because his mother is sitting on the sidewalk, sobbing her heart out and wiping copious amounts of snot from her nose with the sleeve of her sweatshirt, over sending him off on a trip.
You’re welcome, Boy. I’m doing my best to give you a normal childhood!
He called me this afternoon to let me know that he had arrived safely. (I pretty much told him, “And if you don’t call Mama and let her know when you get there, Mama will flush your cell phone down the toilet and homeschool you, so that we don’t have any more of these trips.” When you phrase things like that, OF COURSE they’ll call when they get there.)
I don’t think he has any of the snacks left, but the gang is happy.
And Thing 2 may have turned a corner this morning. We hope. After two entire jugs of purple Pedialyte, he finally (as in FINALLY and WHEW and SWEET RELIEF and THANK YOU, JESUS) started to pee. Apparently he was a titch dehydrated.
And by a titch, I mean the only thing that saved him from an IV and a pricy room at the hospital was the fact that he adores Pedialyte.
Hubs and I knew Thing 2 was starting to feel better when he crawled over to the cat food this morning, and then looked at me and shook his head NO, NO, NO, NO! I hollered out, “That’s right! No cat food, Baby! You’re a good boy! You’re learning to mind so well, and Mama is so proud of you!” And I clapped and clapped for this monumental milestone.
And then that baby grabbed a handful of golden cat food nuggets and ruined my entire moment.
But Thing 2 did rally his strength today to help Mama with the dishes. He’s so thoughtful.
If by a bit, you mean WE’VE BEEN UNDER QUARANTINE FOR TWO ENTIRE WEEKS NOW, AND WE’VE HAD HALF OF THE MEDICAL CONDITIONS KNOWN BY THE BOARD AT THE MAYO CLINIC.
Here’s to hoping that the fresh air coming in the windows on Saturday while we mopped blew some of the bugs out of this house. We’re survivors, people. And we know Jesus and His healing powers.
Y’all have a very happy Sunday evening.