The Great Plague of February 2012

This post was written several weeks ago in the midst of  the month from Hell. I will now refer to February 2012 as the Lost Month. The month of the plague…and laundry…and no writing. Not at all. It was written in haste and forgotten. This should explain my lengthy absence from No. 7.

Sad, sick baby...

By 11:00 a.m. last Sunday, Dave and I were equally annoyed with Kate. To the point where I actually said, “No, seriously. If that kid doesn’t stop whining in the next five minutes I am going to run from this house screaming and never come back. Fucking NEVER.”

We were hiding in the pantry, quietly performing one of our “What I wish I could say to Kate/Joe/Gwen” sessions. As in, Dave and I hunkering into the dark recesses of a tiny room and saying things like, “”Why don’t you quit  being such a douchebag, Kate and say that in English.” Clearly we would never dream of saying horrible things like this directly to our children. But in those tense moments – say, hour number seven of incessant whining – we have found this to be an effective method of blowing off steam. We say horrible, awful things to our children then snort and giggle at the mere thought. This is not the type of relaxation method one finds in crunchy new age parenting books but it works for us. Our whispered tirades make us feel good. (Forward all hate mail to narragansettno7 at yahoo dot com then move on to a blog that gives tutorials about kitty shaped tuna sandwiches.)

Well, Kate threw up precisely five minutes after I declared that I was going high-tail it out the front door and run down the road like my hair was on fire.

And yes, I immediately felt like the world’s most horrible mother.

I heard the unmistakable sound of gurgled heaving and spun around to determine the source.

The sounds were emanating from Kate’s tiny body, parked high up on one of the stools at the kitchen island. She’d been noshing on hommus and baby carrots.

After the second it took to locate the source of pre-vomit gagging noises, Dave and I lunged across the room and looked down upon Kate with a mixture of horror and parental concern. I wanted to pick her up and hold her but simultaneously felt a wave of disgust for what was about to happen. A quick glance at Dave’s face told me I wasn’t alone. The grimace he was wearing made his feelings completely obvious. A strange mixture of oh, my poor little girl…oh, God this is going to be so nasty. He stooped and cupped his hand under her chin just as the carrots and hommus reappeared. With Jedi-like precision, he caught and held onto the contents of Kate’s stomach.

Again, I just stood by like a useless lump and watched in horror. Of course, at times I interjected with what I imagined were motherly sounding sentiments. “Oh, you poor little baby,” and “Jesus, how the hell does a kid that size have so much in her stomach?!”

I’m a good mother. Right?

Dave took the other two kids off to a birthday party and I stayed home with my little puking princess. We cuddled together on a bed swathed in giant beach towels and watched Calliou. I hugged her and tried to ignore the pungent odor wafting from her hair. She sucked her fingers and barfed for a few hours before falling asleep.

Before we knew it, Tuesday came. And so did Dave’s bout with the bug.

Then along came Wednesday and in the last minutes of the day – the very seconds before the midnight hour – Gwen came in and stood at my beside complaining that her tummy hurt. As she made this declaration and her lip quivered, the purple colored fruit roll-up she snacked on after dinner introduced itself to my bed. With a change of the sheets, clothes and the procurement of the barf bucket (master bath garbage can) Gwen spent the next four hours barfing while I held her hair.

To keep myself awake, I spent hours on Pinterest. While Gwen puked I pinned recipe upon recipe and got hungrier and hungrier.

And now I know. I know there’s something wrong with me.

I have a strong stomach. Back in my law firm days, I was privy to some highly gory photographs courtesy of personal injury cases and medical malpractice claims. I was the person who was able to look through and document a set of photos while launching into a chicken sandwich. When the others whined about nausea after viewing  appendages that had been launched through a wood chipper, I was able to nosh on a slice of New York’s best pizza pie.

So, it was nearing 4:00 a.m., Gwen was reduced to dry heaves and I was drooling over someone’s recently pinned buffalo chicken pasta when I heard Joe’s feet hit the floor. I could tell he was running and then I heard the unmistakable sounds of…well…you know.

Since I was already wide awake and Gwen was winding down, I calmly walked downstairs to fetch another barf bowl then lined Joe’s bed with a beach towel and turned  his area rug back. I climbed in beside him and I was thankful that we bought the bunk bed will a full-sized mattress on bottom. I rubbed his back when needed and continued on my quest for comfort food via iPad and Pinterest.

I was resigned to the fact that I’d be the next person to fall. I’d been breathing the fumes for hours. I’d washed my hands 9,000 times but really, who was I kidding?

Well, it’s 5:51 p.m. on Friday and I have not yet succumbed. In fact, last night I was so famished that I made myself a giant salad and a grilled cheese sandwich with cheddar, tomato and bacon and ate it while my husband looked on in disgust.