In 2008, when I joined the elite club of smug parents, I was bequeathed with a super power that I never knew existed. When I say super power, I am not referring to anything hokey like the ‘ability to unconditionally love someone in an unwavering, beautiful way’. *tear*
No, I am referring to the ability to sense impending disaster. Because when you’re an obligated child sponsor, (government name: parent) there’s a disaster lurking around every corner.
Let me clarify that I am not thinking of bad influences, bad weather, bad grammar, or bad children’s programming; I am talking about my new psychic ability to be able to predict when my child is about to secrete something in an unpleasant manner.
Alright, STOP! (Collaborate, and listen.)
No, really, stop. I know what you’re thinking. And it’s not going to happen. Don’t worry, I am not about to go on some sort of detailed tangent about textures, types, colors, or frequencies. Because some things just need to remain sacred between a mother and her child. Sacred, that is, until she brings home her first date about a decade from now, and then I amuse him with all sorts of funny little quips of how adorable Eliza* was when she projectile vomited all over the back seat of her aunt’s new S.U.V. last summer.
(*my child’s name is not Eliza. However, since she’s not of age to consent to me revealing her actual name, she’s going to be your Batman to my Bruce Wayne.)
How did I become aware of this super power, you ask? About a month ago, poor Eliza was the recipient of her first stomach flu. Concerned, I popped the thermometer scanner into her ear for two seconds until I got a reading. I resisted the urge to tell her that back in my day, I had to hold perfectly still with a damn glass gag stick stuffed under my tongue for three whole minutes. And if that didn’t work..the thermometer would then be inserted under the armpit, in the nostril, through the ear canal, basically wherever there was a socially acceptable portal of entry. Back in the nineties, things were primitive!
I stopped my daydreaming, and saw that Eliza did, indeed, have a fever. I gave her some Ibuprofen, as per usual when she spiked a fever, I then studied Eliza’s expression as said she felt a little funny. Suddenly, Eliza was ill. And I do mean ill. I stared, horrified, as she brought up anything and everything. I’m pretty sure I even saw and old shoe and a piece of the Titanic in there.
The next six hours were spent intermittently between cleaning the floor, the bed, the couch, or whatever else Eliza christened, and rubbing her back and holding back her hair over the toilet. It was about three in the morning, when Eliza stared up at me with large, sad eyes as we both sat on the bathroom floor. “Sing me a song, Mommy.” My fuzzy brain tried to produce a song. Finally, I melodiously croaked “Relax……don’t do it…….when you want to go to it……relax, don’t do it…..when you want to vom.”
Eliza leaned back against me, exhausted. “Mommy, have you ever been sick like this before?”
I chuckled. “Oh, yeah. About two months ago, I had a date with a bottle of wedding cake vodka at Steph’s bachelorette party, and I was one sick girl.”
Eliza’s face turned from exhausted, to puzzled. “Is that what happened to me, Mommy? Did I have a date with wedding cake vods-ka?”
“Haha, no honey, you just caught a little bug.”
Eliza shrieked, and began to sob. “Nooooo! Mommy! I don’t want a bug inside me!”
“You don’t have an actual bug inside, child, it’s just an expression. It just means your tummy is a little upset. We all go through it, and we all have to puke at some point or another. We throw up when we’re babies, then when we’re your age, then when we go to prom and someone tells us to try the funny smelling fruit punch, then a lot during college, and then at our thirtieth birthday. It’s the circle of life. It’s beautiful.”
That night, I gained a lot of experience in predicting Eliza’s forthcoming illness just based on the lift of her brow and widening of her eyes right before show time.
Yesterday we were going for a drive, when Eliza fell asleep in the back seat. She was resting peacefully, until she began to cough excessively in her sleep. It occurred to me that the coughing was due to the drainage that was taking place when her head was titled back in sleep, so I pulled over the car in order to prop her head up. Just as I was reaching in the backseat to get her pillow, I saw that Eliza had awakened mid-cough, and her brow was lifted and her eyes were widening. “Oh, no.” I blurted. “Wait!”
For some reason, whenever Eliza is about to be sick in any vehicle, Wayne’s World pops in my head. I see Dana Carvey as Garth pulling out a Dixie cup, and handing it to his friend saying “If you’re going to spew…spew in this.” But I was not in Wayne’s World, Bohemian Rhapsody was not playing on my stereo, and Eliza was about to turn my car’s leather interior into abstract art.
I frantically searched around the backseat, and by some miracle, managed to procure a Walmart shopping bag. “HERE!” I screamed as I dumped the garbage out of the bag and shove it to Eliza.
But it was too late.
I deeply sighed, as I watched Eliza’s lunch come back with a vengeance on her brand new coat, pants, and seat belt. I then spent the next fifteen minutes playing roadside worst case scenario survival game as I scrambled to make some kind of cleaning system out of a dog towel, dried up car interior wipes, and a bottle of spring water. Jemma, the dog who was also in the backseat, offered her own cleaning assistance in a more natural manner by ingesting it herself, but I declined.
I redressed Eliza in a pair of pajamas two sizes too small for her that I found in the trunk that I had intended to take to a resale shop. I wrapped her soiled clothes in a canvas bag also exhumed from the trunk that normally held my jumping cables.
Eliza settled back down in her booster seat with her high water pajama pants.
“Mommy,” she said, “I’m ehz-hausted.”
“That makes two of us,” I said
Later that night, I was able to relax and get on the computer for some quality
screwing around time research, as Eliza serenely slept on the sofa
with Jemma at her feet curled up in a ball of puppy fur.
Without warning, the puppy suddenly jumped down from the sofa, and meandered down the hall. Although I normally do not let her go anywhere unsupervised, she had been doing well with her potty training, so I figured she must be getting a drink. Then the dreaded silence crept in a like a fog. I mentally attempted to calculate the math in how many seconds it should take for Jemma to get a drink and walk back down the hall, in hopes that what was going on was nothing but puppy obedience. I gave up, and hurried down the hall to her water dish. No dog. The silence had become all-encompassing and terrifying as I knew that a very quiet puppy or a very quiet child never turn out to be anything good. I finally found her in Eliza’s room, half way crouched down by Eliza’s dollhouse, and I took a wild guess that the puppy wasn’t attempting to play dolls.
“ACK!” I shouted as I saw the yellow puddle spreading beside and under Eliza’s pink pristine dollhouse. “Damn it, dog, this dollhouse did not require lakeside property!”
I grabbed the puppy by the collar as I firmly said, “No, no, no. Bad Jemma. We do pee-pee outside! That is a no.”
I’m sure the puppy was thinking, “What do you mean by this ‘we’ shit? I don’t see you out in the snow trying to find a place to squat and pee.”
Eliza appeared in the hall, and began to cry because I was ‘being mean to the puppy!’ I explained to Eliza why Jemma was being punished as I carried Jemma down the stairs and put her into her crate. I had been pretty proud of myself when I discovered the crate at Walmart. It was far more cost efficient than a Pet Taxi. It was a large, rectangular crate made out of the same material as those collapsible laundry baskets. I ordered Jemma into it, and Eliza then stood outside of the crate and lectured the puppy on peeing in the house. I reminded Eliza that it wasn’t too long ago that she herself had been peeing on the floor, therefore had no room to lecture the dog. Eliza cheerfully suggested we diaper the dog.
I returned to the puppy pee, and stared at the ridiculous volume of urine spread placidly on the hardwood floor. I silently wonder if Jemma had done a keg stand earlier in the evening without my knowledge. Eliza watched as I cleaned it, and then we both returned to our prior positions respectively on the sofa, and computer.
Suddenly, I began to hear scuffling from the basement. Then whining. Then more scuffling and scraping, then more whining. I really didn’t want to get up and deal with her. I knew she was pretty offended since I had separated her from Eliza and myself. But I was exhausted, and just wanted my happy computer time after dealing with preschooler puke and puppy piddle.
However, Jemma was not taking her exile lightly. Upon entering the basement, I saw that Jemma had somehow rolled herself in her flexible cloth crate all the way from my bedroom, down the hall, through the living room, and had landed, crate upside down at the foot of the stairs. The crate began to jump excitedly as I approached it. I could see through the mesh door that Jemma had also tangled herself up in her blanket, and looked like an Arabian princess dog, with only her eyes visible.
“Oh, Jemma!” I exclaimed, shaking my head.
I took Jemma out, unwrapped the dog mummy, fixed her bent up crate, relocated the dog and the crate into my bedroom, crawled into the crate to straighten out Jemma’s blanket, coerced Jemma back into her crate, tucked Eliza into my bed and told her stories until she fell asleep, and quietly made my way back up the stairs. I had given up on having any computer time to myself, but I now had to pee.
“Oh, well.” I thought, “At least everyone is either in a crate, or tucked in so I don’t have to be concerned about any impending disasters.”
I entered the bathroom sleepily, and went to shut the door behind me.
“ERRRROOOOOWRRRRRRRRRAAAWR!” came a painful cry at my feet. I about jumped out of my skin as I looked down and saw the black cat with her paw extended and trapped in between the door and door frame.
“You scared me half to death, Selena!” I mumbled as I bent down and picked up the pissed off, but relatively uninjured feline.
Just as I picked her up, I heard the bark and whine of an unhappy Jemma as she attempted to again roll her crate out of my bedroom, and the crying of Eliza who had been again startled awake, and unhappy to find herself alone.
I groaned, and set the cat back down on the ground and shook my head Eliza’s and Jemma’s unhappy duet echoed through the house.
“Well, at least it’s never dull around here.”
The cat meowed in response, and then began to cough up a hairball.