every good woman needs a wife. or a mother (1 of 2)

My kids don't really get sick. If they do it's a cold here and there, maybe one vomit followed by 16 hours in bed. They eat toast, bananas, applesauce, broth. Warm water with lemon and honey. They hate pedialyte so when they won't drink water we do gatorade. When they start to feel a little better I make them some hot decaf earl grey with honey.

When I got sick as a child it was toast, jello, sprite, gingerale, the occasional plain scrambled egg and tea with honey. And when I was sick for a few days on end, I have no idea what my mother did besides pop in and out to wake me up, deliver the previously mentioned items, put her hand on my forehead and shove a mercury thermometer under my tongue. 

In Tina Fey's book Bossy Pants she has a great chapter about her 90 hour a week babysitter, who she refuses to call a nanny. Her experiences with her babysitter lead to her firmly held belief that "every good woman needs a wife." I don't work 90 hours a week and I have a wonderful babysitter for the days I do work. In my previous life I was mostly my own wife, but back then I also had my mother. 

At the end of today I have cleaned up 1 bed full and 5 pink buckets of puke. Thankfully nothing projectile. This vomit game is new to me. I haven't thrown up 5 times in my living memory. In one day, my five year old has trampled my personal barf record.

Today I did everything I should have. The toast and the applesauce came back up. The crackers and gatorade came back up. Bananas came back up. Then water, back up. At the end of the day her stomach was empty but her sweet little heart was full. She went to bed quickly and has been sleeping for almost four hours. I didn't look back on my day with any regrets about the actions I took. I got the kids in bed, I did my millionth load of laundry, I cleaned up dinner, I disassembled the sick kid parking spot on the couch. I sat down. I got up. I wondered what to do if she keeps throwing up tomorrow. I had no personal reference point. 

One of my mother's best qualities was her refusal to ever acknowledge that she did not have an answer to every problem. Even when her answer was some of the most obvious bullshit you've ever heard, she always had an answer. At the end of today I needed a few things. I had already eaten half a box of girl scout cookies so that wiped out any wine or chocolate caloric allotment I had in mind. I needed a little confirmation that I had done things right. Turns out I might be a millennial after all. Someone pat me on the back, fast! I needed to have some sort of game plan for the chance of vomit tomorrow. More than anything I needed someone who knew that all of the above was exactly what I needed. 

A year ago, on a day like today, I would have probably called my mom early on to talk sick kids because my husband was working late and I was running a solo parent show. I would have called her even though I have the kind of husband who can easily imagine how hard it is to stay home with a puking kid. My mom wouldn't have had to imagine it, because she would have known. I probably wouldn't have called her at the end of the day because she would have been sure to call me and check in. She would have made sure I tried the toast. Suggested I make a bland scrambled egg. I would have told her that I thought it was probably a 24 hour bug and asked her what she thought I should do if my daughter still couldn't keep food down tomorrow. To be clear, and this again is one of my favorite things about her, she would have had NO IDEA what to do about long term vomiting. My brother and I do not throw up. Still, she would have told me something along the lines of warm honey and lemon water first thing in the morning, let it settle and follow it with some toast. If that didn't stay down, keep pushing fluids. And if nothing was staying down by mid day, leave a message for the doctor. She would have told me this with the certainty of a pediatric nurse. And even though I would know that she was winging it, it would make me feel better. She would tell me to get some rest. I would lie and tell her I would. She would call me in the morning. 

More to come.

Part 2