Last Thursday, Ben came home complaining of a stomachache. Considering the quality of school’s lunches combined with the sheer quantity of food my husband can consume, I really thought nothing about it…until, come mid-night, he was bolting to the bathroom like an Olympic runner.
Fast forward to Saturday, when hubby was feeling better and the girls and I had enjoyed an afternoon Valentine’s tea with my mom and sister (which would have been a lot better, had I not had my first-ever altercation with another adult. All because the owner insisted on charging me full-price for Mya…$15 for a one-year-old! Grrrr….And then, she walked away from me when I demanded if she wanted to charge for the other baby who had also enjoyed the dry cucumber sandwiches. Granted, I may have crossed the line with that one, but I did, I repeat, I did not flash my belly at her like she insisted…).
Anyways, so I chalked the whole experience up to food poisoning on Ben’s part and tried to nap for my night shift (I was on call, meaning I have to go in if they need me). That is, until the girls woke up from naps. Until they complained their stomachs hurt. Until Mya threw up all over Ben and the couch, vomit seeping into those tiny cracks and springs that will never be the same again. Until she repeated the cycle as I tried to run her to the sink, only succeeding in literally filling every drawer in my kitchen with puke.
At one point, Ben and I were passing off children like they were footballs, frantically trying to clean up one kid before the next one started in, in between sprinting up and down the stairs, throwing loads of laundry in and out.
When I started to feel a little queasy sometime around 8 pm, I told myself it was just pregnancy, not eating, and the smell of vomit infiltrating every pore of our bodies. Nothing more, nothing less.
Until I held Mya for the 100th time as she threw up, while I simultaneously heard my phone start ringing to call me in and realized that I was retching above her head, competing for precious space in an all-too full barf bucket.
Still, I told myself it was nothing. I could still go in.
And then into the bathroom I ran, putting my husband’s midnight sprint to shame with my pregnant dash to the toilet.
Needless to say, I didn’t work that night. Nor the next, as we embarked on hellacious, exorcist-style weekend of every parent’s nightmare: the stomach flu. Countless sheets were changed, floors scrubbed, and surfaces bleached. I’m proud to say we even reached a milestone in our parenting by actually breaking down the washing machine from over-use.
This morning, I had hoped for some relief. Woke up praying that the storm had passed. Until both kids woke up screaming, crabby from sore stomachs, still feeling queasy and unable to eat. I sighed, disappointed that my plans for the day would come to a stand-still.
Mya fell asleep, curled up next to me on the couch as we watched Peter Pan, her long eyelashes shadowing her face as I memorized every detail of her chubby, reddened cheeks and soft hair sticking out in every direction.
After I laid Mya down in her crib, Ada let me rock her, my first-born baby girl, now almost four years old. I treasure the times I can still rock her, as her long limbs tuck into the rocking chair, arranging and re-arranging, settling into a comfortable position. Throwing a big, poofy comforter over both of us, I rocked us gently, feeling the weight of her on my chest, remembering the hours I spent holding her as a newborn. We rocked the morning away, just me and my girl.
Me, thanking God for this time I can be home with my babies.