Saturday, January 6, 2007

Huff, puff, and blow chunks

My apartment smells like puke. But it wasn’t me this time.

Yesterday, Audrey’s daycare decided to close early, something about in-service time or whatever, so that meant that I had to leave work early. My superior looked at me doubtfully when I told her, and I actually felt like I was leaving under false pretences. Isn’t it weird how we can make ourselves guilty for things totally above board? Or is it just me, the neurotic one.

Anyway, so I had to leave work early, and what do you know, Seattle was having another of its wannabe-Florida-but-with-hurricane-force-winds-rather-than-
sunshine-and-tanned-bikini-bodies storms. What is up with that? I walked as quickly as possible south from Belltown. I’d given up on my umbrella, for it was no good despite the pounding rain. I pushed down the street, laughing at those around me fighting their bumbershoots in the wind. Others pointed out how smart I was for carrying mine rather than trying to make it work. We all smiled at each other, marveling at the strenth of the system and mused at the way people's clothing was plastered against their bodies by the gusts. Nice how such things induce eye contact between strangers that would ordinarily deny the existence of each other’s presence. And even as the rain streamed down upon my uncovered head, like every good Seattle pedestrian, I waited at the crosswalks for the little white guy to appear before crossing the road. I felt like one of those reporters in a wind machine to demonstrate how this mph wind feels, except I was really in it. Each step was a workout, and I could actually lean into it at a forty-five degree angle and the wind held me up. I envied those with hoods and hats and was soaked by the time I reached Audrey’s daycare, thanking God that Steve had coincidentally needed to drive into Seattle to pick something up simultaneous to my need for a ride home.

When we arrived back at the apartment, Audrey and I set about drying off, and then had dinner before I noticed her looking a little peaked. She began burping A LOT, and went to bed early.

Steve came home hours later, and we cuddled on the couch together to watch an episode of “Are You Being Served?” to which I paid no attention. The sound of Audrey crying jumped me from my comfy position, and I burst into her room to find her standing in her closet – throwing up. Oh God! I grabbed her shoulders and guided her through the living room to the restroom as she threw up across the rug and the linoleum and then into the toilet again and again. My gag reflex went into overdrive, and I rubbed her back all the while wishing that the Swine had gotten this instead, since he probably gave her the blasted bug. I can’t remember when was the last time Audrey puked. Neither of us really knew what to do. She left strings of bile hanging from her mouth rather than spitting it out, and I was trying to comfort her without getting any on me, cause YUCK, and then I realized, I’m the mom, I’m supposed to get sick on me. So yeah, I smelled like puke, she smelled like puke, the bathroom, living room, kitchen and her room smelled like puke. I then ran screaming from the house vowing never to return until the putrid scent was gone, gone, gone. Either that or I drew Audrey a hot bath and marveled as Steve set about cleaning up the trail of puke and the dumpage in the closet.

As he scrubbed away, I went up to him and supervised for a moment before feeling a wave of emotion. A tear welled up in my eye, as I watched him gag a little. This wasn’t his kid, and yet there he was scraping up half-digested peanut butter and jelly. And then? He drove to the store to pick up some Febreeze even though he’d worked until 8, gotten home at 9, and was really, really tired. He totally wins. What I don’t know, but he definitely wins it. And I win too, because oh he’s the best.

After Steve Febreezed the crap out of everything, Audrey got hugs and pampering before we tucked her back into bed with a bowl and the instructions not to use the closet as her puking grounds next time. But she had no recollection of puking into the closet. Seems she was sleep puking, and the closet just happened to be the place to do it. Hmmm. I think tonight I’ll go whisper to her sleeping self that sleep puking should only be done in approved bowls and toilets that’s an order.

This morning, I smelled puke, but not fresh puke, 6 hours old puke, and I groaned, and then I groaned again and again. Oh my stomach. Ugh. It was horrible. Audrey’s came out the mouth, mine didn’t. I haven’t decided which is worse. So Steve went to work and we sick girls did fun things like watch stuff on the DVR all day, Meet Me in St. Louis and the Little Women with Katherine Hepburn were on the menu.

Tonight as I was tucking her into bed, I sang our favorite nighttime song, "Summertime," and she cringed, "You have bad breath, Momma." I slapped my hand over my mouth and she giggled, then sobered. Audrey wrapped her arms around my neck tightly and said, "I wish that I could be with you always."

"Me too, sweetheart," I said, smoothing her hair gently, and then I blew my breath in her face, and we crumpled together in laughter. It's an old parenting trick - deflecting pain with humor. I bid her goodnight, then promptly brushed my teeth. Twice.

She came into my room a little while ago. The burps were back, but I sent her back to bed hoping it was just a tad psychosomatic. However, my gut is still a'rumbling. Ugh. This sucks because I have a birthday party and candle party to attend tomorrow, but I don’t want to spread stomach rot. Guess we’ll just have to veg out with E.T. and the Little Women with Elizabeth Taylor.