The conversations I have with my six-year old are simultaneously gross and entertaining some days. Within minutes of being home from school, she had her head hanging over the toilet, violently vomiting. But let me back up to what she told me about her day on the way home.
She said: “I was sleepy in the morning, and then my stomach hurt, and then we went to lunch, and then my stomach hurt, and then we went to recess, and then we went to gym, and my stomach hurt.”
Her stream of consciousness summarizing her day prompted a conversation about pooping. I asked her had she pooped recently, and she said yes she had pooped today. I asked her if it was normal poop or was it runny poop. She rolled her eyes and then said “normal”.
After we got home, she looked like she was on the verge of tears as she turned and asked, “Where do I puke?”
I answered, “The toilet,” and waved her toward the bathroom. She hasn’t puked much in her life, obviously. I could picture the vomit stain in my new house with new carpet if she hadn’t made it to the bathroom. I’m very grateful she is good at controlling her vomit. Excuse me while I find some wood and knock on it. I sure hope particle board counts.
After she finished vomiting the first time, I immediately got out the bleach spray and hand sanitizer, a cool wet wash cloth, and a bowl (just in case particle board doesn’t count).
She stood in the bathroom watching me clean for a moment before declaring dramatically, “I need to see the doctor.”
“Honey, the doctor can’t help you this time. You just have to be sick for a little while.”
“But,” she said with tears in her eyes, “I just need to see her so I know what to do while I’m sick.”
I hugged her and reassured her that I knew what to do and I would help her.
“Look,” she said while holding out her hand, “I’m shaking”. She said this as if her shaky hand was proof that I am out of my depth, that we must seek more knowledgeable help from the doctor, immediately.
“I shake, too, after I puke, baby,” I replied hugging her tighter. I then led her to the couch and set her up with a cool wash cloth on her forehead, a bowl nearby, and her show (Peep and The Big Wide World).
“Mom, what’s making me puke?”
“Well, you have a virus,” I replied. Instantly I’m wishing for a pathophysiology cheat sheet regarding the disease process of a stomach virus.
“That’s like germs, right?” She asks.
“Right. You got a virus in to your body somehow and it got all cozy and said, ‘It’s nice in here,’ and then he made a bunch of friends that are just like him so he wouldn’t be alone,” I replied.
“So, then what happens,” she asks with a smile. At least I can make her smile while being scientifically inaccurate and vague.
“Well, suddenly there’s too many little virus guys in your belly, and your stomach doesn’t like it,” I explain.
“Is this the part where my body starts fighting with the virus guys?”
“I’m not sure if they start fighting now, or if they were fighting before you puked, but your antibody guys are definitely going to fight the virus guys,” I answer. Again, a cheat sheet would be great.
“How long will it take them to fight enough for me to stop puking, or is their fighting making me puke?”
“You’ll probably be sick until tomorrow, honey,” I say sympathetically.
Let’s just say this statement was met with much dismay and possibly some groaning followed by a race to the toilet. After some more bleach, hand sanitizer, and a swish and spit, back to the couch we went. I called Grandma (in Emma’s eyes, the ultimate authority on anything worthy of knowing), and asked her to stop by the health food store near her work for ginger ale on her way home. Of course it wasn’t so simple. To summarize, Grandma drove an extra twenty miles out of her way and even delivered the ginger ale.
Eight more vomits later, she is sleeping on the couch. It’s going to be a long night. I am snuggling her and comforting her and dreading my turn.