In the past, I’ve gotten some comments from disturbed readers about the fact that I often write about the bodily functions associated with motherhood, topics that some people, I am informed, find unpleasant.
Despite the very real possibility that these people are not parents of young children, and the even more probable possibility that these readers are not mothers of young children, I like to keep my readers happy. And so I wanted to write about something less physical this month, something less bodily functionary.
I wanted to. . .
But then my daughter started projectile vomiting. Again and again. What’s a mommy-writer to do?
It seems that my daughter caught a nasty virus at one of her playmates’ homes, or perhaps when visiting a nearby school. I never thought I’d care so much about the origin of an illness, but after holding a plastic bucket up to my sweet girl’s chin for the third and forth time, I wanted to know who to blame. As it happens, apparently everyone got this round of ick, even the parents, so it seems that all guilty parties paid dearly for their sins.
The most interesting thing to me about a child’s vomiting is, at least at this toddler age, that it doesn’t cause the dramatic overtures we adults often display when physically ill. My sweet girl simply frowns for a moment and then spatters the wall, myself, and the floor with impressive efficiency. She looks around and offers the most sincere “uh oh!” Sometimes she even frowns and says, “Mess!” No sooner have I cleaned off her hands than she is on her merry way, reciting her beloved “Ring Around the Rosie”(“ashes, ashes. . . down!”).
Of course my child’s fatigue does set in after several hours of similar gastronomical hydraulics (where does this stomach bug come from anyway?), but the little sweetheart’s mood doesn’t change much. And according to the other mothers I’ve spoken to, their children display similar fortitude. Despite this wretched flu visiting every third house in the neighborhood, the only real moaning and groaning seems to be coming from the parents and not the children.
I suppose my daughter’s ability to bounce back after such stomach upset is evidence of the old saying about children being surprisingly resilient. But I want to credit my kid for not begging for the kind of extra sympathy we adults often crave when ill. Truly, in this situation, which of us is more the baby? The grown one who adds a dramatic flare to every little cough and ache, or the little one who accepts sickness and moves on? I hope to remember my sweet pea’s strength the next time I starting feeling under the weather.
And as I have yet again failed to exclude bodily fluids from my writing, my sincerest apologies to you if this discussion leaves a sour taste in your mouth. I assure you, my daughter can relate. But somehow she resists the urge to complain about it.
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Oak Cliff.