3 A.M., Tuesday:
Ben has woken up and is vomiting repeatedly. He's 1. In his mind, he is a victim of some uncontrollable biological crime being committed deep inside his body. He's crying. He thrashes. The thought of putting his head in a bowl to catch the vomit means absolutely nothing to him. So, we muscle our way through the rest of the night in the living room. Virtually all soft surfaces are draped in towels to expedite the cleaning process. I think we went through 10 pairs of pajamas. By the time 6:30 rolls around, I have a fat, bloodied lip (see thrashing mention above), and Ben's vomiting has joined forces with the most foul smelling diarheea since Freddy died.
He just couldn't stop spewing. I would change a diaper only to see him squat and squirt not two minutes later. I was double bagging faster than Peter at Hannaford, bringing them outside, lighting candles. It was beyond gross. I remember while I was pregnant a number of people told me a very common lie. "When it's your child it's not as bad". FALSE. It's completely disgusting to clean shit. Period. Yours, your kids', your pets', or (please God don't do this to me) your parents'. Heaven forbid if you have a job where cleaning other people's shit is in the description.
I'm an experienced enough mom to know that really there was nothing we could do but ride it out. We put him on a diet of Pedialyte, water, Jello, popsicles, toast and ran our washer and dryer virtually non-stop. Of course, he eventually stopped throwing up.
I even felt comfortable enough today to bring Will to school and go to work for a few hours while Eva (my favorite Mennonite) looked after the boys. I can't say that I was surprised when she came to get me at work with the news I had been dreading all day. "Sam just threw up all over his crib." I hurried back home (about 15 feet from work) and set to work stripping his crib sheets while Eva got Sam cleaned up. As he started to barf a second time, I grabbed him, in an attempt to spare her. He managed to puke directly down my shirt, vomit pooling in my underwire. I tried to difuse the situation with a little humor, usually lost on the Mennonites. "Well, that will teach me to wear a low cut shirt. Maybe you're on to something." She thought that quite funny. I wonder if she would think it's funny that I own exactly TWO bras that fit, thank you to that miracle called childbirth. Fuck it. Into the wash it goes.
So where are we now? Will is sound asleep. Ben, also sleeping, has recuperated almost fully. He may, however, be permanently stained red from eating so much Jello. Sam is exhausted and sleeping; thankfully he doesn't seem to have gotten as sick as Benny. Brett and I are so over cleaning puke, wiping shit, and folding laundry. My lip is healing, but now looks like some sort of STD/ battered wife injury combo.
Through it all, though, I will say that it been really rewarding to see my boys bonding and being so empathetic towards one another. Will, who has been virtually neglected for the past two days, has become quite the nurse around here. Bringing a little Tupperware to Ben or Sam (just in case). Getting water, and trying his best to keep them happy. Today, when Sammy was at his sickest, laying on the couch, Ben came over and rubbed his hair and gave him a little kiss.
I always thought that I wanted daughters, and, I don't know what the future will hold for me. But for right now, shit, puke, and all, I love that I have 3 sons. I read a great book about raising sons, and my favorite passage was, "Boys will boys" is not said when a little boy brings a present to his teacher or gives his crying mother a hug, or spends time with a dying parent in the hospital. I cry every time I read it. I hope these guys continue being the wonderful boys I know they are and stop shitting and puking all over me.