Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This is what being a parent is about.

The day had gone pleasantly enough: after staying home from work Monday, seeing the doctor and getting the needed antibiotics, I was feeling better. I'd had a great nights' sleep, and was looking forward to spending the day with my boy. It was a holiday, and we had things to do, but no real timeline to get them done.

We lounged in pj's until after 10:00, then dawdled some more. At about 11:30 we left the house to run errands. Goody bags and the loot to fill them for his party on Saturday; some decorative brads for a Christmas gift project. Then a stop at the bowling alley/arcade where the party would be. You see, we've never been bowling before. I was afraid we'd never find shoes to fit him. So we put it off, and then one day he talked us into going to the arcade, then I had the great idea that we should do a birthday party there. We didn't have it in the budget to pull off the normal birthday at Disneyland (we had been spoiled when we lived in LA and it was a reasonable thing to do, then managed to do a couple more after we moved to the Northwest, then this year with the economy we couldn't justify it), and he agreed that it sounded like fun. Except I had a worry deep down that we'd get there on Saturday and in front of all of his friends he wouldn't be allowed to bowl because there were no shoes that would fit him. So we fit in a "dress rehearsal" yesterday afternoon and found out that there ARE shoes that will fit him, and that we will be just fine. We didn't get to bowl though. It was a holiday and the lines were long. He was disappointed, screaming at me through tears that I was so mean, and I told him that when he turned eight years old he would have to find a new way to deal with disappointment, because tantrums were so beneath him.

We got home, he invited over the boy next door, but it was too rainy to play outside. The boy next door is ten, and will only play baseball or football with Joe-Henry, and only if he wins. He also has a Myspace page and a girlfriend and a cell phone and a way of letting Joe-Henry know that he is just too young to understand. The boy next door is a post all his own, and this one doesn't belong to him, it belongs to my boy.

He played with Legos after the boy left, he played on the computer a bit (a Lego racecar game - he doesn't have a Myspace page - I told him he has to wait until he's 30), I fixed dinner. It was a delicious meal: burritos with roasted corn, peppers and onions, black beans and shredded pork and melted cheesy goodness. He ate it all - every bite, which is, again, the subject of another future post. Getting this boy to eat is becoming a struggle. But last night, he ate it all, and earned the dessert he had wanted - Halloween candy, one piece.

After bath, he got into bed, we read a book, he wrote in his journal, we chatted about our day, and he went to sleep.

An hour later, I was in my own bed, watching SVU and drifting off to sleep when I heard him make that sound. The one that lets you know immediately that you will not sleep at all that night. He didn't do it in bed, we got him to the bathroom, and he managed to get it everywhere. I have to say, having done this for almost eight years now, last night's bout with the stomach flu was impressive for two reasons: it's smell, which was overpowering. It wasn't until this afternoon, after mopping last night, and scrubbing and cleaning that I finally found the culprit that kept hitting me in the face everytime I walked in the bathroom - two errant black beans and and three kernels of corn wedged under the tub. The second reason it was impressive was this: it didn't panic anyone. I repeat: none of us panicked. We all clicked into our appointed roles: Charley scooped up the towels, the rug, the clothes and hefted them down to the wash; I stayed up all night, holding his head, offering sips of water, sending the appropriate emails/calls to my employer, making myself comfy at the end of his bed; and Joe-Henry rolled his eyes everytime he felt it coming, like a teenager enduring a parent's embarrassing story for the hundred and third time. Even the kittens knew better than to pounce in the middle of the night. They slept curled at my feet like purring slippers, mewing when he would stir, then settling down again when he did.

After round number five (or was it eight?), when he had nothing left but dry heaves, he wiped his nose and sighed.

"This sucks, Mom."

"I know."

"Would you read to me?"

"Sure, sweetie. What do you want?"

"Nothing about food. How about Winnie-the-Pooh?"

So I did. I read Winnie-the-Pooh, and Shel Silverstein. Poetry, all night long, feeling a bit like a Mommy-Sheherazade, reading to keep the barfs at bay. We both even managed to come up with extemporaneous poems about the other, his rhyming "beautiful mother" with "another", and mine rhyming "vomit" with "comet". It got a weak laugh.

At five a.m., he finally, finally slept. Fitfully - there were two more rounds to go before we'd see the end of it. At 10:00 a.m. we crawled into our bed and he watched Sesame Street and Maggie and The Ferocious Beast. He hasn't watched them in almost two years. I managed a small nap, and he finally drifted off at 12:30 and is still asleep now at 3:15. He'll wake up hungry, I hope. But he's asked that we not have burritos again for a while. I'm in complete agreement. We'll start with some broth and crackers and see how it goes.

Staying up all night with a sick kid is never high on my list of things I want to do; seeing him suffer rips my heart into tiny pieces. But it's an honor, just the same.


Kari said...

Mothers. Bless you both. Bless you all.

She Said said...

What a heartfelt story. I love the last paragraph. It brought tears to my eyes.

Donna said...

Having spent the night curled into an unnatural shape on the end of a twin bed with my head next to a drafty window more than once, it is truly a blessing when they get beyond the freak-out, hysterical state of tossing their cookies. Also helpful when they can actually make it to the toilet (though I am almost as happy for the linoleum). Mine never want me to read, though, just to lay there.

I am waiting for that shoe to drop here. We made it through Halloween, which was the first bout last year. And maybe all the times we were sick last year built up some immunity for this one (stop laughing, I need a little hope here!).

Here's to being needed by our boys! (And to a day off work, even if puke is involved!)

I, Rodius said...

Good God! Kidney infections and stomach flu! I think you've earned a spot in heaven. Here's hoping these things don't really come in threes!

Heh. The word verification didn't load, so I hit it again, and now it's "restimm." Yes, rest him, indeed. And her. And the other him.

Living In a Girl's World said...

Wow, it must be going around. We did that Saturday night without the reading and sweetness. We actually had a date night with a little too much drinking going on to deal as well as you did. My hat's off to you and a quick recovery by all.

Robin Amos Kahn said...

Oh, I remember those nights. And having had one myself a couple of years ago, I remember clearly how awful it was. Big hug to all of you.

Mommy Mo said...

EVen sick, he is just beautiful.

JEANNE said...

What a beautiful picture :-)

The last time my kids were vomiting with the flu, so were my hubby and I. All four of us were slammed by it.

All night long I lay down on the hall floor between the kids' rooms so that I could be equal distance from them to empty their buckets, and from the bathroom for when I needed to throw up. lol it was brutal!!!

I feel your pain...