it turns out when you have kids, those good old days return.
we had the old annual stomach virus this past weekend. we spent sunday morning eating pancakes and scurrying about cost plus looking at grassy bath mats for a reading nook and finding new phones with a new service provider. brian found these "eco" phones and i finally became the owner of a free smart phone. god help me. we had plans to finally luxuriate in the pleasant sunshine weather. we had attended oliver's soccer the day prior, but not he lake highlands first annual oktoberfest, as brian and i had had a bitter fight and all good times were canceled.
on our way to the phone place at mockingbird station, we glided past the windows of urban outfitters and a couple of other non-urban outfitters. it was like we had landed at the mecca of poorly dressed mannequins. that whole thing where the kids these days are supposed to want to be trendy by putting together the most mismatched ensemble they can muster. jesus christ. and what's going on with all the see-through skirts?
anyway. we returned home for lunch and violet's nap. i put the previous night's macaroni out on the table for the kids so that it could not be eaten again. oliver placed himself dramatically on his bed and complained of stomach pains. after violet was in her bed and brian had gone for his 2:00 massage, i was sitting on my bed and heard oliver make a panic-stricken holler from the living room, "MOMMY! I THREW UP!"
and boy. he had. for whatever reason, he had been sitting on the arm of the couch and just SPLAT. all down himself and the arm of the couch (oh, why not!) and down on to the floor, as i discovered with my unshod foot. i grabbed a heap of cloth napkins and began sopping the runny brown liquid up and had oliver change out of his trendy pukewear. i made the old pallet on the floor of the living room and boy aren't i glad those mats never officially made it all the way to the goodwill? children's programming was turned on for the next 36 hours and the big bowl brought out.
literally as i was mopping all that business up, i could feel a knot in my stomach and just a whiff of nausea and thought there was absolutely no way this was not psychosomatic, as that is my specialty sometimes. but my mind had me lay down on the couch anyway so that i could begin to feel worse.
somewhere in here is when brian returned and he said maybe we should throw that macaroni out, which makes sense from the perspective it had sat uneaten through two meals and likely would not be eaten that day. but his thought train was traveling to the land of germophobia and he was saying to me that perhaps oliver was throwing up because the night before, when the macaroni had been made, it had probably taken him an hour to sit there picking at it, thus giving bacteria enough time to flourish and make him vomit. and i was like, "are you serious?" and he was offended by this to the point of actually getting up and leaving the room. and i was like, "are you really so upset about me not agreeing with this that you have to leave the room?" and tight-lipped silence from the other side of the condo was his response.
so i decided to go to great lengths to prove the Macaroni Theory wrong.
i could stand in as the control subject, as i had not eaten macaroni the night before and i certainly had not taken one hour to eat my mai's tofu in coconut curry sauce with veggie imperial roll and peanut sauce. nor had i taken one hour to eat my regrettable california burger for lunch that day.
i stayed on that couch, swimming in my delusions of delusions and my hopeless wishing for wellness. the knot tied itself down further and the nausea played at my throat a little harder. and then, there was a knocking at the back door. if you know what i mean. there were more knocks over the next several hours to the point i thought that was going to be the worst of it.
in the meantime, oliver had several bouts of thinking he was going to puke, then not puking. i was starting to think this was going to be some kind of generous, four hour bug.
i went back to the bathroom to answer the door again and was finding myself crumpled over on the toilet seat, doing that thing where i open the second drawer down and lay my arm and head down on it and i knew this wasn't looking so good for me. at some point, there was no more denying it and i was projectile vomiting up what felt like bits of rice, but i sure as hell wasn't opening my eyes to find out. one of the bad things about puking is that you don't just puke. you puke four or five times in a row and feel like some kind of desperate animal trying to claw your way futiley out of this vomit hole only to be dragged back in again.
i could tell the pepto tablets had come back to haunt me. they hadn't been working as well as i had thought they were. prayed they were.
i sat doubled over on the step stool in front of the toilet, moaning and whimpering. brian appeared at some point for some reason. no asking if i was okay. no hand on the back. i think it was just germophobe brian, trying to get back out the door before the germs could get him. i cried. that's probably also when i made the good old towel bed on the floor. errant cat litter swarmed around my head like a dirty halo.
at some point, i think i thought i was all better and returned to the couch. i fail to recall the point in the chain of events when oliver lost it again, but he puked for all he was worth into that big bowl. the poor dear. he's a pretty brave boy when it comes to puking. i think it must have been before i threw up, because i recall feeling a sense of doom approaching.
i stayed on the couch for hours, balling up with waves of stomach cramps. punches in the gut. general aches from the infestation. headache probably from dehydration and propped up pillows. hours passed. day turned into night. brian scurried about trying to work and be a single parent with one sick child and a stack of dirty laundry. violet had dinner around 7:30. the day just up and disappeared. all i could do was say things like, "hey, could give ttyki her food and shot when you get a chance? can i have some more water when you get a chance?"
violet was pretty high strung at bedtime and oliver was feeling puny and wanting daddy. daddy in two places at once. he sat with violet in the bedroom until oliver would whine, "DADDY!" and he would come out for a minute with oliver. i offered a couple of times for oliver to come sit next to the couch and i could rub his head and back, but he just looked at me like he didn't want to risk catching what i had.
he finally puked violently into that big bowl again while i cried because i felt like shit and i couldn't do a single thing for him. i mean, i wasn't bawling. just teary.
we let him pass out on the floor. but he's a flipper when he sleeps, so he would be anywhere except on the mat.
it was during this time that i began to experience the overwhelming craving for popsicles. those blue bell kinds from when i was a kid. a pleasing bullet-shape. oddly, it was the grape popsicle figuring prominently in my daydream. i could feel that weird popsicle texture and see the little shards of grape ice fibers when you would break the tip off of it. i also spent some time rotating through the green and red popsicles and paid homage to the lonely orange that was inevitably left in the freezer for those sick days of yore. memories of laying on the bathroom floor in the dark, an orange popsicle melting slightly on a saucer next to me. my mother urging me to eat it so i wouldn't dehydrate.
the popsicle desire was so intense, i started to think of pregnancy urges and, for just a moment, thought.. oh shit! throwing up and food cravings! and then remembered it doesn't usually include diarrhea and a vomiting kindergartener.
i didn't care if they contained every fda-approved coloring known to man and a gallon of HFCS and 12 shades of yeast extract and fungus scraped off the underbelly of a carnival cruise ship. i wanted those popsicles.
i kept asking brian if he was almost finished with work. i asked him if parkit market was open all night, as i had noticed it was 10:34pm. he said he didn't think so and left it at that and so i knew no box of popsicles was not coming my way, even though brian is highly amorous of popsicles himself. like, on a normal day. but i was still just all popsicles popsicles POPSICLES popsicles popsicles POPSICLES. popsicles.
i considered taking some of brian's grape juice and making my own and i did so in my head a couple of times. but i didn't have the strength to get up and go to the bathroom, much less rummage around in the cabinet and clean the popsicle mold and mix the juice with water and assemble the sticks. and wait two hours. i might as well have carved a new face in mount rushmore, it was so unattainable.
eventually, with the knowledge it just wasn't to be, it abated a little. i told myself i would ask for popsicles on brian's way back from dropping violet off from school.
so, see all that i wrote about popsicles? i obviously really wanted some popsicles and promised myself i would write an ode to them.
i fell asleep and brian woke me up and scared the shit out of me so that my sick body got a shot of sick-inducing adrenaline and i was panicked and he said he was going to bed and i was like, "what if oliver throws up again?" and he went to bed. and i went back to sleep.
and then, something like seven hours after i puked that one lonely time, i woke up around 12:15 thinking, "man. it sure is hot in here. anybody else think it's really hot in here? anyone? lord. i'm sweating over here. i'm sure everything's fine. just one of those middle of the night sweats. right? am i right? anybody else?" and then, despite having been lulled into believing the worst of it was over, i had to admit that sweating meant one thing and i had to make that horrible run to the bathroom where you indicate you have thrown your arms in the air and surrendered and given up all hope and admitted you're just going to throw up all over the gosh darned place and then you barely get the light on and the seat up in time and it's all over. four or five more times.
i brushed my teeth. aren't you proud of me. and went back to the couch instead of passing out on the filthy floor.
hey, you can relax now. that was really the end of the puking. for everyone.
oliver woke up the next morning all bright and shiny, like little, previously-ill children will do. i woke up less pukey but still wanting to stay in bed another day with that balled up fist in my gut.
brian scheduled himself to stay home the first part of the day to help out and take violet to and from schoool. i worried she would get up there in her undies and bacteria-diarrhea all over the place.
but as it turned out, it was brian's turn to diarrhea all over the place. and i was like, oh boy, here we go. and we all stayed home and brian went back to bed and i started to act like i was fine and dandy. the kids got cereal for breakfast. that was the best i could manage at that point. i showered the sick stink off me and prepared to greet the day.
brian just pooped every once in awhile and sometimes showed up looking like he was mostly okay. i eventually placed an online order for me and the kids at freebirds to make up for the fact that we didn't get to have it the night before for dinner. i wondered if i would regret it. i mean, a burrito as a first meal? i was out of the house early and went by tom thumb for strawberry fruit bars. yeah, definitely not the same thing, but i was calming down a little and these were about as good as it would get. i also found some coconut milk chocolate peanut butter ice cream. whoops.
turned out my freebirds order didn't go through. it also turned out that kid burrito option where you get to choose all the fixings was some kind of online mirage, but they still made my order for me anyway. and the kids said how yummy their burritos were and then they ate 25% or less of them. i ate all of mine. i was practically in tears toward the end, but you really don't have a choice but to finish a burrito, right?
as indicated, brian miraculously never puked. i finally made a normal poop in the middle of typing this, so i'm hoping my stomach cramps have resolved themselves and i can get on with life and maybe go to a yoga class again. i'm crossing my fingers a couple more days that violet somehow stays well. despite the fact i learned that bug definitely came from oliver's class.