Last night proved to be rather more exciting than I had originally hoped. I was downstairs clearing up before heading to bed for the night when suddenly, a thoroughly unpleasant wet and squelchy sound filled the air. It was a sound all mothers are unwillingly incredibly familiar with, a sound that fills maternal hearts with black dread…the unique splattering noise that can only be produced by a child’s vomit hitting freshly washed floors and walls. I raced up the stairs, laundry and kitchen mess temporarily forgotten. Puddin’ was hunched over the toilet, which provided me with a rather foolish false sense of security in thinking the noise I’d heard was actually vomit hitting porcelain. Striding confidently into the bathroom to aid my ailing princess, I suddenly slipped on something far too warm and chunky to be anything but that which I fear most.
Single parenting only fully reveals its joys when your child falls ill. Not only do you become the sole cleaner of vomit (regardless how many times doing so is going to make you get sick yourself) you are also elected doctor on call, nurse on staff, maid on duty and cook on demand. After spending the entire night awake, rubbing a little one’s back while she empties the last three sips of water she drank into the toilet, you are fully expected to be up with the sun to wait upon your wee patient hand and foot. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my daughter so much it hurts; somehow, however, I can’t muster that same sense of adoration for either her vomit or her diarrhea.
At the end of the day, I phoned the school to discuss with them possible causes for this sudden illness. I don’t really know what made me do it, beyond that Sally and I had been discussing the possibility that it could possibly have been an allergic reaction. Whatever prompted the call, I’m grateful because as it turns out, nearly thirty children experienced the same vomiting/ diarrhea/ fever my little dumpling has. Understandably, this concerned the school to the degree that they contacted the public health authority and had them come down to investigate. Though the officials involved had not yet discerned the cause of the illness at the time I spoke to the school, I was told that my daughter, along with all of the other children currently ill with this, was to be considered under quarantine. The timeframe for the quarantine is to be 48 hours after the last incident of vomiting. At the time, I imagined that would mean she would be released from quarantine on Saturday as she'd last upchucked early this morning. I further assumed I could sneak out of the house for a brief visit and perhaps a vodka orange with my neighbour on Saturday.
In thinking in this manner, I broke one of the fundamental laws of parenthood. You all know the one: Don’t ever make plans based upon your child’s illness, particularly if those plans involve you being able to enjoy yourself after a certain time period. Children hear plans of this nature, and will instantly instruct every molecule within their beings to revolt in order to ensure said plans are duly foiled. This is their job; just as scolding them for inserting their fingers into their nostrils will be forever ours.
I had no sooner envisioned myself sipping my delightful vodka orange on Saturday than I heard a moaning type noise escaping from the upstairs bath. There sat Puddin’, a puke bowl in her lap and her blue eyes enormous as she sat on the toilet looking miserable. “I don’t feel good, Mama.” The words came out in a rush. When, nanoseconds later, projectile vomit landed firmly upon my feet, I understood what those words were fleeing from. The 48 hour countdown has thus begun anew, as has my effort to cast the invasive smell of vomit from our abode. Meanwhile, I am still working on my list of possible reasons for elderly gentlemen to offer me Halloween candy, so keep your guesses coming. (Which I’m really only saying to one person, as she seems to be the only individual reading/responding to any of my posts. Due to my preference for deluding myself into believing I am rich and famous however, Lisa, you henceforth shall be referred to as "all of you." Other names you may go by include “all my loyal fans”, “my dear readers” and “the internet.” Please feel free to alter your driver’s license accordingly.)