I’ll never forget the look of terror on my three year old’s face.
He sat up fast, “Daddy, I don’t feel so…” BLECH BLARGH BLARGH. He was scared, he’d never puked before and right now he was doing an incredible impression of the exorcist.
The truth is, we knew it was coming. All the signs were there: he’d been lethargic all that day with a low fever & no appetite. We prepped the bedroom accordingly, towels in bed, trash can at the ready. I’d slept next to him just to be extra vigilant. And then it happened. Of course, it never happens when you want or how you want — it’s almost always at 3:45am — too early to get on with your day, too late to go back to bed. Inevitably the trash can is almost always an inch too far away to make a real difference. We rushed to the bathroom, now the hallway would need cleaning up too.
He was petrified, literally, clinging to the toilet, grabbing the seconds between heaves to cry. I was there helplessly, coaching him through it, patting him on the back — “It’s okay– you’re okay. This is just part of being sick…”
Honestly, I was truly surprised at the volume evacuating his little body. I was a bit freaked out myself, just witnessing it. And then finally it stops. He’s shaking and scared, tired and tense. His little body limp, resting on the cool tile floor. And then the stench of it finally hit. He finally caught a moment to look around, mortified.
It’s really quite a cruel trick your mind plays on you replaying the grotesque nature of your sickness — the heaving starts again. He can’t breath. Now he’s really freaking out. Finally, his shoes come out of his mouth. The storm has passed. There’s no fight left. He’s thirsty and sitting in a personal hell. Telling him to sip the water slowly never works. Gulp. Gulp. BLARGH BLECH. BLARGH.
Meanwhile, my wife and I are taking turns rushing around the house cleaning up the trail of devastation. We’ve got a great system down now. Fresh towels, washing machine, extra blankets at the ready, rags under the sink — all to get ready for the almost inevitable third act in what will ultimately seem at least as long as War and Peace.
The next day, when the crackers finally started to stay down, he said — “I was scared, I thought I wouldn’t breath again.” I really felt for him and told him, “I know… it’s scary to daddy too sometimes.”
It was almost a proud moment for me as a dad, we got through it together– my son had now been indoctrinated into the process of puking.
And, now he also understands how the markets work.