That nasty stomach-bug thing that’s been going around has made its way to our house. Right before bed last night, Nigel ran to the bathroom to throw up. I thought at first that it was because (I’d discovered) he drank way too much soda that afternoon and evening while I was working in my office. But typically if his stomach’s upset for that reason, it’s a one-time elimination deal. And, unfortunately, Nigel’s trips to the bathroom occurred several more times throughout the night.
Usually, he makes it on time, but at one point in the wee hours, I heard him (the sound at which all parents groan) and went to check on him. It wasn’t pretty. I cleaned him up, got him back in bed and reminded him about using the old pot that I’d put by his side for the next episode, and then cleaned up the carpeted hallway, the bathroom door, sink, mirror, and floor. I didn’t even want to know what time it was.
Nigel has always been a trooper when it comes to being sick. Even as a young child it didn’t seem to faze him. He never whined about being sick – he just took it. He’s still the same way. And he loves saltine crackers, which I only buy when the kids are sick. I think it’s like a consolation prize in his mind – he requested the saltine crackers moments after he vomited his entire dinner. Not yet, I told him. Your stomach needs to rest. I’ll get you some tomorrow. And he accepted that. His stomach probably made him sense that it was best to wait.
Fortunately, though, our family doesn’t get sick much, especially in recent years. Two and a half years ago, we started eating organic food. Not everything – in fact, probably about half of the food we consume is organic – the stuff that we eat every day. But it really makes a difference in our health. In two and a half years, both boys have only been sick twice, and it was mild – over in two days. I’ve only been sick once, also mildly.
But still, even in my children’s teen years, I’m cleaning up puke. At some ungodly hour, no less. Afterward, I manage to get a little sleep. In the morning I get up and get Aidan off to school, check on Nigel, empty and clean out his used pot, wash my hands, and come in the office to work. Suddenly I hear retching sounds in the hallway right outside my office door. It’s one of the cats, about to yak on the carpet. I leap up from my desk and grab the poor thing, herding him into the bathroom and holding him over the linoleum. Then I clean that up, laughing at the fact that I have cleaned more puke in the last nine hours than I have in the past four years. I wash my hands for about the thirtieth time, put on my shoes and coat, and go out to buy non-organic saltine crackers. And maybe a new mop.