Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Motherhood and Insanity

My first time hosting Thanksgiving and my plans were quickly going down the toilet. A month before, I receive a jury summons. (I was not called the entire week. I am done for the year. Yay!) The Monday before Turkey Day, Lily comes down with the stomach flu. She complains of nausea at a friend's house, and when we return home, she has diarrhea. Instead of lying in her bed, she stays on the floor. She hasn't been there long when she leaps up and races toward the bathroom. She hits the hallway, which is only maybe five feet away, and I hear that dreaded sound: she's vomiting.


Okay. It's okay. It's best to get it out, but she doesn't make it to the toilet. She doesn't even make it to the tile floor. There, in the shag carpet-covered hallway, is the vomit, and all I can think is: "Shit! Shit! Shit! How the hell am I going to get that out of the carpet? People will be here in a few days. ARGH!" Part of my brain says this is completely inappropriate to think this while she's sick. The other part knows I will be the one cleaning it up... as usual. She apologizes for vomiting in the hallway. I tell her that it's okay, not to worry about it.

I put that aside because Lily's now lying on the floor and distraught. (Not surprising. Vomiting is never pleasant.)

"It's okay, honey."

"But I didn't make it to the bathroom," she repeats.

"That's okay, too. I'll clean it up."

It's after ten at night. I'm already exhausted and not thinking straight. So, I pull a couple of old towels out of the linen closet to try to sop up the mess. O.o After a few passes, I realize using towels means I will have to take them outside and spray them off before washing them (our pipes are old and clog easily--the last thing I need is to have to call the plumber too). I can't count the number of times I've had to do something similar with the bedding. So, I come up with another plan: paper towels. I try to to pull the white chunks of partially digested cheese out of the shag with the paper towels. It doesn't help. I scrub at it trying to get the cheese out only to make smaller pieces of cheese and work it deeper into the carpet. UGH! (You can thank me for that visual another time. Grin) Not to mention the fact that being on my knees with my nose that close to something that smells this disgusting could result in me adding my own dinner to the floor.

I sit back on my heels and survey the mess. The only way it's coming out is with a professional shop vac. (sigh) This means going to the store immediately because leaving that stench in our carpet in the hallway overnight just isn't an option.

This whole time, Charlie is nowhere to be seen. Apparently, he's in the back bathroom and "indisposed." I hear the toilet flush. I hear it flush again. Our bedroom sliding glass door opens and a few choice words meet my ears.

I look down the hallway to our bedroom. He passes by the open door in his underwear. I ask, "What's going on?"

"I have to plunge the toilet," he says.

Great. "Well, when you are done, can you watch Lily while I go to the store? I need to get a Rug Doctor."

I'm a bit peeved with him. As usual, I am left to take care of everything (from clean up to her) when she's sick. Other women tell me this is typical. I don't care. I don't like it. If he says, "No," about watching her, I'm thinking of things I can do with that plunger. He doesn't say "no." Lucky him. (grin)

Thankfully, I'm still dressed. I run down to Ralph's for the rug cleaner. It takes a bit to gather. I muscle it into my car. (Thank goodness I work out.) When I get home, I muscle it out of the car and roll it into the house. As I enter, the cats see it and stare big-eyed at me. They recognize the machine as the monster that makes a lot of noise and scares the shit out of them. I can see them thinking, "Will she try to suck me up with that thing?" Then they scatter.

Okay. Well, I need to figure this thing out, but first I check on Lily. She's lying on the hallway floor looking very pale, the poor mite. Charlie is just standing there looking at her. No surprise there.

Am I the only one whose husband becomes almost completely useless when their child gets sick? Seriously, when Lily gets sick, it's as if Hannibal Lecter came in, removed Charlie's brain, and ate it for dinner because he will just stand there and watch as I do everything. As if his legs and arms don't work. However, his mouth does, and he's always full of suggestions/questions that serve to irritate me. He'll say things like: "Well, maybe if you tried this... Or I have found..." In his vast experience of watching me take care of her, he has found... what? That I don't know what I'm doing so I need his advice?

Breathing. Breathing. Just read the instructions, Marci. Vacuum the vomit up and go to bed because, at this point, I am wiped out.

I read the instructions and proceed to pour the water into the container that says, "Do not pour the water in here." Doh! It's past midnight now, so I have an excuse, right?

Finally, I figure it out and am ready to vacuum. I open the door to the hallway and I can't access the spot as Lily is still lying in the hallway. I look at Charlie and say, "We need to move her into her bedroom."

He blinks.


I squat, get my arms under her, and stagger to my feet. (She weighs over 50 pounds now.) Her eyes widen as I continue to struggle to find my balance and her head misses the doorjamb by a few inches. She refuses to lie on her bed, so I set her down on the floor and return to the hall.

In a fit of helpfulness, Charlie closes her door. I maneuver the Rug Doctor into the hallway and start to vacuum. It's very loud, but she is so tired she sleeps through it. When I am done, the vomit is gone. Yay!

Charlie retreats to the bedroom, lays down and falls asleep while I go outside to spray down the towels and PJs. In case you didn't know, sodden towels weigh a ton. I manage to get them into the wash and can finally collapse on our bed. I check to see if the baby monitor is on. (We keep it on just in case.) The hubby is snoring away, but I can't sleep. I am hopeful that was it, but somehow, I know it's not. Every sound she makes, my eyes pop open. And as she starts gnashing her teeth, I know it's going to be a long night.

Unfortunately, my prediction came true. It was a long night. I slept almost not at all. And around 4 am, I wake up to Mother Nature's call. Apparently, I've needed to use the bathroom since before going to bed, but I've been so worried about Lily that it didn't register. At 4 am, my body said, "Go now or explode." Lily had thrown up maybe half hour before, so I figure I have time.

Of course not. o.O

In the middle of heeding Mother Nature's call, Lily starts screaming, "Mommy! Mommy!" Then I hear the sound of her retching.

I am yelling, "I'll be there as soon as I can. I just have to finish up."

While all of this racket is going on, Charlie is still in bed. Frustrated, I yell at him, "Can't you get your ass out of bed and help her?" However, by the time he does, I have finished, washed my hands, and rushed past our bed just as he is climbing out of it.

But it gets better. I have spent the entire night up and down with next to no sleep. He strolls in and sees me holding her hair back so vomit doesn't get in it. As he stands there, he proceeds to give me advice on how to help her. o.O Yeah, that goes over well.

By 5:30 am, it's all done. At least the throw up, anyway. The fever begins. (sigh)

At the end of it, Charlie says, "Thanks for doing such a great job taking care of her."

You know, while his gratitude is appreciated, I'm thinking, "If you are really grateful, stay home so I can get some sleep now." Neither happens, but I survive.

So, Thanksgiving Day will arrive tomorrow. I'm already exhausted, but the girl child is on the mend. :)

As I sit here typing this, I realize that I don't do all of this for my husband's gratitude, or the sweet hugs from my daughter, or the bags under my eyes, the worry, because I like to clean up vomit, or because I like the adrenaline rush. No, I do it because I'm a mom, and somewhere during pregnancy, Mother Nature flipped a switch in me that made me slightly insane.

It's the only explanation.


Faith said...

I went through something similar during Thanksgiving. I was sick and couldn't get anyone to help me cook (altho youngest did bake three pies but that was all she did), move furniture for the 16 we had coming in to our home, nor did anyone but my mother help me with cleanup. The oldest rinsed a few dishes, but that was it.

I was not happy...

Anthology Authors said...

I'm sorry to hear that, and I don't blame you, Faith. It seems so odd that Matt didn't help. He usually does, doesn't he?

Charlie was very good about helping clean up after Thanksgiving. Everyone left (some had a long way to travel), and Charlie and I washed the china by hand. Lily wanted to help dry, but not my good china. So, she just put them away. Still, it took a long time to clean up.

Seriously, I was wiped out by the time Thanksgiving arrived. That I even managed to cook the turkey was amazing. LOL

Faith said...

Oh, no. That man will not touch a dish to save his a**. He'll cook up a storm when the mood strikes, but he will not wash dishes or clean up. The most I can expect out of him is to put the food away, but he leaves the counters, sink, and stovetop a mess.

He does take care of the turkey for TDay, but we use a big roaster, so it's only a matter of taking the giblets out, rinsing, and putting it in the roaster. However, he'd just gotten laid off the day before TDay, so he was sorta reeling over that and in his own li'l world, but I read him the Riot Act regardless and he said, "I know. You're right."

My kids took off to go early Black Friday shopping and left me with everything. I was very vocal about it to both girls.

Jessica Subject said...

Oh my gosh, that is horrible, Marci! I have a sick son at the moment, but luckily, he wasn't puking through the night. I've been there before with my daughter, and had puke all over the both of us. My husband tends to help during the day, but once he's asleep, it's next to impossible to wake him up to get some help. I hope next pre-holiday is better for you.

Anthology Authors said...

Well, Charlie does all of the clean up if I cook... usually. However, he doesn't cook at all. So, I guess we are even. Mom was visiting, but the kitchen really isn't good for more than two people. When you add another, it gets crowded fast. LOL

Anthology Authors said...

Mine just doen't know what to do, Jessica. Seriously, when I said it was like Hannibal Lecter came and ate his brain, I wasn't kidding. LOL There are so many ways that he's a good dad and a good man. This just isn't one of them. (g)


Janice Seagraves said...

Your going to hate me.

One time when my daughter was still a little baby in diapers, she got the stomach flu. She was sleeping with us at the time, when she started to retch. I got up, raced around the foot of the bed to get her to the bathroom, only come face to face with my husband. I open my mouth to yell at him to get out of the way, but then he took her from my arms and took her to the bathroom.

He took care of her every time she got the stomach flu, until she was old enough to get to the bathroom herself.

Of course, I still had to clean up the mess if she couldn't make it to the bathroom in time.

I took care of her with all the other illnesses. But he took turns with me for the doctor visits, and he took her for the shots because I'm a big chicken, until she got older.

Jaime Samms said...

Makes me happy to be me is about all I can say. Pretty sure in this house, that shoe is usually on the other foot. Hubs cooks, cleans and does the lion's share of the child care and home schooling.

Cleaning up a bout of Luke now and then seem like the least I can do. Besides, if he had to do it, I'd only end up cleaning his as well. If you ever feel you need a Luke story that will make you feel better about the shag, Marci, remind me to tell you about the time my daughter threw up while sitting on the edge of her bed. The top bunk....

Jennifer Johnson said...

Wow. I'm speechless.

Fiona McGier said...

I'm lucky that my husband has always been a hands-on Dad. When our 4 were too young to make it to the bathroom on time, we'd flip a coin and one would clean up the kid while the other cleaned up the bedding/floor. The first time we heard our youngest puke in the toilet we both got on our knees to thank God!

One year when we only had 2 babies, the younger one (about 18 mos.) was in diapers. Thankfully we were at my husband's sister's house and with his family, not mine. My parents would race for the door if the kids so much as hiccuped, or demand that we leave their house...they were so afraid of catching anything. But I had not brought any changes of clothing, of course. We were sitting around in the family room enjoying the delicious smells coming from the kitchen, about 15 of us, mostly adults, when second son suddenly looked stricken and did some projectile vomiting on the carpet in the same room where there were tables already set for us to enjoy our Thanksgiving feast! I was totally embarrassed, but what else was there to do but clean up the mess while husband whisked son upstairs to clean him up. Unfortunately his clothes were saturated, so every picture we have of that year's Thanksgiving shows him sitting in his diaper and undershirt looking morose. Husband's family just chuckled warmly, and said, "Let's eat!" I was never so grateful that he's from a big family of 7 kids, with parents who didn't let a little thing like barf ruin their holidays.

A year or so later we were in our favorite local restaurant with 3 kids, having ordered our breakfast. Same kid suddenly heaves onto the table and the booth. Husband and I quickly clean it all up using copious napkins which the staff helpfully provided, while trying not to meet the eyes of any other diners sitting near us. Right after that the waitress brought our food. We ate every bite and left her a huge tip. Of course the barf-boy was upset that we only let him pick at his toast and didn't let him eat his bacon!

These are the memories you will treasure and resurrect when they bring their own kids to visit with you!

S.R.Howen said...

Around here it isn't kids, it critters, they are always doing something somewhere that is killer. When you walk at night you hope you don't step in something.

Natalie Star - Young Adult Author said...

My husband helps more than any other husband in all aspects of our lives, so when the kids get sick and he gets "stupid" I kind of have to forgive him. But, yes, my husband does the same brainless stare, and eventually goes back to bed when illnesses happen. Great post. Sorry you had such a miserable night, but you gave me some comic relief. It's great to know others endure the same thing :)

Anthology Authors said...

How lovely, Janice! Mine just doesn't know what to do, I guess.


Cleaning up from a bunk bed spew? Yeah, I'll pass. LOL The first time she came down with the flu and threw up, I cleaned the sheets and put her back to bed. She threw up again. I brought her to our bed with a towel.

I think the main issue is that I work from home. So, since I am home anyway, there is the false belief that I can sleep in and take the day off of work because, well, I am the boss after all. Except, as we all know, the work doesn't get done if I don't do it. (sigh)

I have that effect on people, Jennifer. (g)

Ew, Shawn! I've done that, though. Walked through the living room and stepped in something that squished between my toes. (shudder)

Oh, yay, Natalie! It was meant to be funny, but the responses have been more serious, and I began to wonder if I'd lost my touch. (I've lost a lot of things. What's one more? LOL) No question that it was a rough night. And Charlie does help with a lot of things, too. I try to remember that, although it's easier on some days that others. :)