We made a little spot on the floor—a make-shift bed of towels, in case she throws up more.
I’ve worried about her since she started getting sick around five this morning. In between carrying her to the bathtub more times than I can count, and marathons of kid shows on Netflix, and more puke, and syringes of Pedialyte to—for the love of God—avoid the hospital, we rest and care for her.
It was just me, her mama, until she puked all underneath the tv stand, and I had to call my husband to come home from work. I had been doing this cleaning of the carpets, washing more towels, bathing the vomit-covered child, and steering the baby away from it all, for hours, and then I finally just broke. I called him and said I did not have enough hands.
He came home and helped move the television, and the stand beneath it, and cleaned the carpet. He helped me care for our children, and then he went back to work. She threw up again right after I saw him pull out of the driveway.
I called him again and begged him to come home early. He said he did have to return to work, but he assured me that he would be there as soon as possible.
She fell asleep, and I was grateful—until she woke up to be sick, again. And then she fell asleep for real. And then my husband came home.
Her little sister was pretty good through all of it, considering that she’d been woken up too early as well, with all of this commotion.
Somewhere within this afternoon I cancelled her bus and called in her absence for the following day as well. I called her pediatrician. I ran to the store for items I hoped she could manage to eat the next day.
At one point, she was resting on her side, on this bed of my last clean towels (we ran out of both blankets and towels; the washing machine running all day). She took her tiny fingertips, and she held my hand and wiggled them in my palm, saying in this silly, soft voice, “Tickle, tickle, tickle.” It reminded me suddenly, shockingly, abrasively, like holding her newborn hand through her NICU isolet. I felt a bone-level reaction—the kind of emotion that makes your stomach feel like it’s filled with un-shed tears.
I looked into her eyes, and they were purple around them from her poor, long day. I smiled into her eyes with my own, and she did her cute “tickle, tickle, tickle” thing again. I felt thankful beyond capable expression for her general health, and for our access to physicians, and things like Pedialyte, and even thermometers and Tylenol. I felt grateful that she had my hand to hold, and for a baby sister who was concerned all day if big sister was okay.
I felt thankful for these things that my family usually takes for granted; things that too many kids don’t have.