2:37 a.m.

You are not as sympathetic as you could be, no doubt, when you hear your bedroom door creak open and a little voice say, “Mommy, I threw up.” You roll over and look at the clock and groan, “Really? You did?” and then hesitate a moment, thinking of the thoroughly unpleasant task ahead of you.

You get up, turn on the hall light, look at your daughter, and say, “You should change your pajamas.” You walk into her bedroom and immediately realize that you should’ve obtained more information from the child before stumbling into her bedroom in the dark, in bare feet. You turn on the light and assess the damage – great, lots of ketchup with dinner last night – and then dither around for a few minutes wondering what to do. Do you need a washcloth? A towel? Maybe you should just move out?

“Do I have to go to school tomorrow?” your child asks, still in her yucky pajamas. “That is not the most important thing at this moment!” you snap. You reflect, as you look for the Oxyclean, that you have no bedside manner whatsoever. Your child will never have memories of you lovingly applying cold compresses and bringing glasses of ginger ale.

You saturate the carpet with Oxyclean and cover it with a beach towel, not knowing or caring really if this is the best approach to the problem. Your younger child sits up in bed and says: “Is it still night? Why does it smell bad?” and then goes back to sleep. You spread another beach towel over your sick child’s (thankfully still clean) sheets and hand her a Tupperware bowl. “Aim here next time,” you say. “Do you still feel sick?”

“Yes,” she says. “And my throat hurts from throwing up. What are you going to do about that?”

“There’s nothing I can do about that,” you say, and then you have a flashback to two years ago, when this child went through a five-month bout of something called Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome, which means pretty much what it sounds like, and which was, if you recall correctly, triggered by a virus much like the flu she just got over last week. You kind of want to cry.

Instead you give her a kiss and say good night and go back to your bed, knowing that you won’t sleep well the rest of the night, that you’ll lie awake listening for noises down the hall, for the next knock on the door, for the little voice asking for help once more.


aimee said...

Oh no. I really hope she doesn't have that again for all of your sakes.

And don't worry-I doubt any mom has good bedside manner at 2:30 in the morning. I really don't any of the time.

Hope you all have a better day and night today.

mimi said...

Poor Mal....

Karen said...

I remember really being resentful of my lovely children when one of them awakened me for the same reason. Sorry kids - no doubt the lack of bedside manner is in your genes!

I do hope Mallory is better and doesn't have the same thing again. That is no fun for anyone.