We went to bed around ten. Bill’s had a sore throat and a cough, so he’s been home for the past couple of days, resting his voice and drinking tea and
moaning and whining and sighing and telling me he really hates being sick bravely refusing to admit anything is wrong. He went to work today.
Both kids have had the sniffles, too, and dry coughs, particularly Alex. It’s the weather, it’s the dry air and the closed up houses and probably exposure to lots of other runny-nosed little kids at school (Alex) and at daycare (Julia). By some miracle, I am fine. Probably because someone has to be.
So last night…somewhere around 11:30 or so, Alex came into our room and said his arm hurt. I think he’d probably been sleeping on it or something like that. I said he could come in our bed for a few minutes, and then he’d have to go back in his own bed. That worked for him. He snuggled in between us and dozed a bit, and then I woke him up and told him time was up. He said that was fine – his arm was all better now.
I followed him down the hall – he in his green, fuzzy, dinosaur feetie-pajamas. He asked if he could have something to drink and I said sure, go ahead and get in bed and I’ll go get you something. He climbed onto his bed and I held up the sheet and comforter so he could scoot inside. He’s got my old double bed. Kind of big for a five-year-old (okay, five and a half) but hey, at least there was plenty of room for the 879 stuffed animals he had arranged along 2/3 of the bed.
I used to do that when I was little. Try to sleep with all my dolls and stuffed animals in my bed. But the main thing I remember – and it looks like this is one of his concerns, too – is that all the animals and people had to be lying face up, so they could breathe. No matter that they were crammed way down near my feet – they had to be face up. Don’t want any plush corpses the next morning.
Alex has solved some of this by heaping all the animals on top of the bed. They have plenty of room to breathe. And since it’s a full-sized bed, he has some room to sleep. Probably less space in his bed for him than Julia has in her toddler bed. But it’s snuggly and fun. And it keeps the animals off the floor and tidy.
Anyway, I held the sheet and comforter up and he crawled toward his pillow. He coughed – like he’s been doing lately with this cold – and said "I feel sick." Now – he’s been saying that every time he coughs. And I say yes, but you’ll get better.
So he coughed and said "I feel sick," and I said "Just go ahead and get into your bed, you’re fine."
And then he threw up.
On the pillow, the sheets, and some of his unlucky little plush friends.
I think I stood there in disbelief for a split second – he actually was sick! – and he started crying loudly, and like the bad mom that I am, my first thought at that point was "be quiet! Don’t wake up Julia!"
So he threw up again. Fortunately at this point he was facing away from the mattress. Unfortunately he was standing up on the bed and the distance from mouth to floor was much greater and thus the horrible splashing radius was greatly increased.
I grabbed him from the bed and herded him into the bathroom, slammed open the lid and seat and told him if he thought he was going to throw up again, do it in there. He immediately obeyed, and then started wailing. He hasn’t done this in a long, long time. I think he’s forgotten how horrible it is. All kinds of goopy gunk was running from his nose and mouth, and I wiped it away with a damp washcloth and told him it was going to be okay, he was going to be okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay.
I helped him take his pajamas off and had him sit on a little footstool near the toilet while I went back to his room to clean up the mess.
Now, one would think that during all these horrible noises, and the loud crying, and the light by his bed being turned on so I could see the ABSOLUTE HORROR that awaited me, that Julia, the lightest sleeper in the universe, would wake up. But if one thought that, one would be surprisingly mistaken. She snoozed on, despite the noise, despite the light, and despite the horrible smell.
At first I didn’t even know where to begin. Ugh. Just UGH. So I started throwing all the clean and dry animals off the bed to the other side of the room. Then I just rolled everything – all the sheets, the pillow, the comforter, and the unlucky animals near the pillow – into a giant smelly ball of navy blue, and stuffed the whole thing into a giant trash bag. Much easier to carry that way, and nothing would – ugh – leak.
Alex said he was done throwing up and was cold. I ushered him into our bed, where my husband lay motionless and quiet. I must confess, I wanted to shake him. But instead, I had Alex snuggle under the sheet and blankets, and I went back to my smelly hell.
I got a couple rolls of paper towels, another trash bag, and a cannister of Clorox disinfecting wipes, and proceeded to clean it all up. I am not going to go into any more detail at this point – suffice to say, it was ICKY and SMELLY and I had to stop a couple times just to leave the room and breathe some air that wasn’t perfumed with vomit and Clorox.
Julia continued to sleep.
When I’d finally cleaned everything up, I got the spare crib mattress from the floor in the kids’ room and made that up with some of Julia’s sheets, and carried it into our bedroom. I got a fresh pillow and some blankets, and one of Alex’s teddy bears, and moved him from my bed into this cozy little nest for the night. I got him some water and told him if he was thirsty, just to take tiny, tiny sips. And then I got into bed.
And then Julia woke up. She was thirsty. She came with me down to the kitchen where I got her a sippy cup and – amazingly – was completely agreeable about going back to bed. She NEVER goes willingly. But last night she did. I tucked her in and kissed her goodnight and wondered how she could stand the smell. It was fading, but it was still there. She didn’t seem to care. I left the room, door open so it could continue to air out, and went back to bed. I climbed in, and Julia immediately started crying. I got out of bed and went to find out what was wrong. (Pleasedon’tbesickPleasedon’tbesickPleasedon’tbesick…) – She couldn’t find her cup of water. Easily solved, another few kisses and out I went. This time she stopped me before I got to my bedroom.
"Mommy, you’re a-posed to close the door!" She has this thing about wanting the door shut. I told her the room needed to get fresh air in it, but she was genuinely distressed and so fine, I drew the door almost closed – figuring I would get up in a few minutes and push it back open, once she nodded off again.
I got back into bed and tried not to relive the awfulness of the night but my mind kept replaying it. Alex was still awake. I could hear him breathing and moving around a bit on his little mattress on the floor. I really wanted to sleep.
"Mommy? I’m really, really hungry."
"Okay, honey, let’s find you something you can eat." We headed downstairs. I figured Saltines would be best – pretty bland and safe. I put a few in a little bowl and we went downstairs and watched 45 minutes of stuff on the Food Network. I told him to eat slowly and take tiny bites. He nibbled like a mouse, and ultimately ate 3 and a half crackers before suddenly announcing "I’m ready to go back to bed now." So back we went, up the stairs, to my room, to his makeshift bed.
He coughed once and threw up. Right on my floor. I think I whimpered and then shouted "Quick! Run to the bathroom!" and gave him an encouraging shove from behind. He tried, but lost the rest of his stomach contents on the hall floor right at the top of the stairs. He made it into the bathroom and opened the lid and seat of the toilet and stood there, ready for more.
"What happened, Mama?" Julia was awake this time, sitting up in her bed. I told her Alex was sick.
"And he frowed up?" Yes, he frowed up. You stay in bed, Julia, it’s icky out here. "Okay Mama!" There really must be something wrong with her…she’s being way too cooperative.
I turned on the hall light and muttered "I’m in hell" in the hopes that my motionless and silent husband would leap out of bed with a valiant cry of "I’ll handle this! You go take a nice bubble bath!" It didn’t happen. He’s no dummy.
So I cleaned up the newest mess while Alex hung out in the bathroom. By some miracle, he hadn’t splashed anything on his clean pajamas, which was good. I wiped his face off again and herded him back to bed. Fortunately there was no smell with this batch, so my room was tolerable.
It was after 2:00. I got back in bed and just lay there, listening to Alex, waiting for his breathing to even out, so I’d know he was sleeping. At last, he was asleep, snoring softly. I fell asleep at some point, too.
Today I’m keeping him home. So far he’s only had some half apple juice/half water to drink. And he’s got a bucket to bring with him wherever he goes. Just in case.