On what is known as the longest day of the year, June 21st, I experienced an unfathomable series of events in my mommyhood that truly made me feel like the longest day was longer than normal. I wasn't exactly laughing as these events unfolded, but in the midst I was proud of my poise and lack of total freak out. So of course, I need to document this day (or more accurately - about 4 hours - of awesomeness! You have full permission to laugh and cringe at what you are about to read, assuming I can convey the chaotic scenes well enough for you. It has gross subject matter. Read on at your own risk.
Awhile back, my aunt needed to have surgery for a broken foot. She is recuperating, but that leaves her nearly full-time on the couch. We were long overdue to visit! I was scheduled to drop off a meal for a friend already, so I decided last-minute to pack up ours as well, and take my auntie dinner, a bunch of small visitors, and carry out our "family movie night" on her floor.
We had a really nice visit and meal together. Set up Shirley Temple's Heidi, distributed the popcorn, and settled in. A few peeps out of Hayden: "My tummy hurts." Mommy says, "I'm sorry, sweetie. Why don't you lay down and just rest?" Movie continues. The kids alternate who they snuggle with. Yada yada yada. Near the end of the movie - that's when things start to unravel. For some reason, Levi was standing beside me and he let out a random cough. I think to myself, "Oh, God, no. I've seen that cough before. It's a special one." Here it comes. He starts to throw up, so I stand up and do what any sensible person does when their kid is puking: try to catch it with my hand and start barking orders. So poor Levi is coughing and dealing with yucky stuff coming out and I so desperately don't want it to overflow out of my hand. With an incredulous smirk, I calmly say what I am thinking. "I can't believe this is happening right now." I am trying to shimmy him to the sink or somewhere else other than over the carpet, but I'm not being very successful. I don't want the dear to choke on it either! I've got one leg flailing to the side trying to kick Carter away from his curiosity. The last thing I want is him getting acquainted with the chunks on the floor. Meanwhile, I'm thinking,"Wait a minute! The wrong kid is throwing up! Levi has been acting fine. Great! Hayden will be next!" In the middle of that, I've got Noah and Gracie (my sensitive squad) starting to run around and squeal in fear. "Oh no! I don't want to smell it!" Uh, I don't want them to smell it either! The last time that happened in the car, Noah was a sympathetic vomiter and Gracie was one sniff away from becoming one also! So I'm yelling, "Quick! Run to the end of the hall and stay there! (And of course, every few seconds they would start to wander back to the action and I'd have to remind them again to back up.) Hayden, if you feel like you are going to be sick, get to the toilet!" This is happening 3 feet away from my poor Aunt Bobbi who CANNOT move or escape. She has to keep her foot elevated nearly 24/7 and she gets around the house on a scooter. As much as she wanted to help, she had to just sit there and feel sorry for me. Well, I felt more sorry for HER! Luckily, being around kids is not new to her and she fully gets that "things happen" and "you couldn't have known", but still - talk about embarrassment. Here I am, finally visiting her on this particular day, and I bring a sickie with me. "Here ya go, Aunt Bobbi! Dinner and a movie and a front row seat to disgusting smells!" Bleh.
Okay, back to the drama. We keep the kids away from the disaster area and I am able to get Levi cleaned up (who perked up immediately by the way, "PHEW, I think. A one time gig!"), jammies in a bag, carpet spraying/cleaning/scrubbing, blow kisses to avoid passing our untrustworthy germs, and then pack the kids and our dinner cooler, blankets, and pillows back into the car. The sensitive squad states their case over and over again, "I don't want to sit next to Levi. I don't want to 'fro' up if I smell him, mama. Mommy, can I sit somewhere not next to Levi?" Since Hayden complained of a tummy ache already, he gets the privilege of sitting in the back with him. And the wonderfully awesome kid didn't complain a word about it. (Just had to throw that in there. So proud of that guy.) We're all set and I head back inside for one more thing. The very best thing. A Ziploc bag. "Here Hayden. Don't hold this over your mouth. That's not safe because it's plastic, but hold it open and if you're going to get sick, get it in there, okay?" It occurs to me for a millisecond to give Levi one too, but a) he really is acting like he feels fine, and b) I don't exactly have faith that he would use the bag anyway. Turn over ignition and... Crap. I forgot I needed gas. Alright. One more thing. Oh well. Let's just get these guys home and in bed.
Five minutes in, things are still going well. Seven minutes in, *cough cough* Gracie interprets, "Oh no! Levi's fro-ing up again! Noah, don't smell his fro up!" Now comes that point, if you haven't already, that you might judge me. Are there some rules of parental etiquette when your kid gets sick in the car? One might pull over and clean him up, but now that I know he's going to do this multiple times, I choose to race like heck to the gas station so I can clean him there and more importantly, just get home. Not really in the mood to pull over (over and over again) on the side of the freeway on these lonely junctions by myself. So I make sure he's okay and coach him through and tell him how sorry I am. And you know what the sweetheart says? "Me dough-tee!" (That's 'me dirty', but he doesn't say Rs). I have to smile at that. He's such a stinkin' cutie! No pun intended. While I am trying to comfort him, the peanut gallery daughter is going crazy. "If he does it again, be sure to plug your nose, okay, Noah? Mommy, when I get home I am going STRAIGHT to bed in MY room because I don't want to sleep with the boys in their germs... Levi, STOP crying!" I interject, "GRACIE! Please leave him alone! He doesn't feel good and nobody likes the feeling of throwing up and he's all messy now, so it's okay that he's crying right now!" Oh boy, did she try to continue but I cut off all plug your nose and 'let's talk about the smell' talk. Noah chimed in a time or too as well. About sixteen minutes in and Gracie pipes up again, "Hayden is fro-ing up!!" Oh my gosh, you've got to be kidding. Two vomiters are going at it in my NEW - yes, new to me - car that I've had for eight days. A few seconds later, I hear Hayden's victory cry, "MOM! I got it all in the bag!" I'm not sorry to say that I cheered and praised that boy like mad.
I pull in to get gas, stock my hands full of the paper towels and head to the back seat. A wave of guilt. Okay, Levi falling asleep while still "all dough-tee" is just extra sad. Bad mom award. I wipe him up, continue to praise Hayden... HOLY COW, that bag is full of a much more liquidy substance than what I've been dealing with on Levi... THAT would've splattered everywhere! "Hayden, I know that this is kind of gross - me talking about throw up like this - but you are a ROCKSTAR! I can't believe you got all of that in the bag! You are awesome!!" I guess any praise is meaningful to a child. HAHA! His whole face lit up with the biggest smile. Time to go. "Man!" I'm thinking, "This is the longest drive home ever!"
Back on the freeway and every few minutes I check on Hayden. "Hayd? Are you awake? How's your tummy?" I imagine him drifting off to sleep and the bag slipping from its upright position. Would his victory be wasted and all of that grossness spill out after all? Luckily, he still quietly answered each time I called him. "I'm okay!" And then the sleeper had some activity and there was Gracie to report it again. "UH OH, MAMA! Levi is fro-ing up again!! I'm going to plug my nose because I don't want to fro up too (and she starts heading down that rabbit hole again)." We're speeding. A lot. I'll admit it. But then the next thing happens. I know you are all thinking that CHP pulled me over. Nope. At the time I kind of wished that instead, but I see something worse. Lots of red tail lights. "ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Construction traffic at 10 o'clock is not something I cared to add to my agenda tonight. Can't I just get these pukers home!?" It wasn't a huge delay, but definitely slowed our mission down. And luckily, Gracie had no activities to report.
Finally made it home and well kids are put in their beds and sick kids are put on floor blanket beds stocked with a bowl next to the bathroom door. Falling into my bed (expecting several interruptions in the hours ahead) at 11:41pm, I sent my husband a text that said, "Goodnight. Prayers please." (I had already filled him in with all the big story elements and he, too, was pleasantly surprised that I hadn't 'lost it'. Woohoo!)
So that was my noteworthy night. I seriously hope it won't be repeated or one-upped at all. But who knows? With our five, you never know what chaos might be around the corner. After all, we are the ones who had a similar throwing up catastrophe on a cloth-covered church pew in the second row at our kids' school choir performance right before one of our sons had his first public solo! Ah, impeccable timing, I'd say!
Definitely one of the times that you just need to flow with the mommy moment and let it play out. I'm encouraged that I already (not even a few days after it!) am smiling about all of the hilarity and "Are you kidding me?!" moments of the evening. Sheesh. Life is entertaining.
Oh! And another thing. I miraculously was left alone all night! Levi and Hayden remained healthy after the car ride. It wasn't until mid-morning, however, after I was changing some bed sheets in the boys' room that I noticed that poor Carter had thrown up in the middle of the night and I hadn't even known! I was shocked that he hadn't woken up crying or that none of it was stuck to him in the morning. He had gotten up and was as chipper as usual, poor thing. Bath time and lots of laundry.
So, yeah. One evening. Three-fifths sick. Longest day of the year. How was your Friday night? ;)