Okay, so you can probably tell this already by the title, but this post is not for the squeamish....
If you've been wondering where I've been the last few days, my daughter has been sick. It's mainly been fever, but with a little stomach upset thrown in here and there for good measure. Which leads me to the subject of this post.
Night before last, we were all up at about 3:00 am. Liv had woken up earlier with her fever and was having a hard time getting settled back in. In the bed, out of bed, calling for us, crying, etc. It was in the middle of all of this that we hear her hacking and coughing, and then crying. Tony goes in her room to check on her, and a few seconds later he calls to me, "Mama, we need some help in here!"
I get up and head down the hallway, only to see my husband running across the hall to the bathroom with his hands cupped. I pop my head in to see him dumping the contents of his hands into the toilet. Guessing what had just happened (and amazed at the resourcefulness of my husband), I grab a wet wipe and go into Liv's room to clean her up. I dab at her cheek with the wipe, only to see her heaving again. This time it's my turn to assume the position. I cup my hands in front of her, and she fills them up. Now I'm running to the bathroom, while my husband is going in to check on her.
We did this bizarre little relay race a few times before her stomach was completely emptied. I'm proud to say that the sheets and the stuffed animals surrounding her all came through the ordeal unscathed.
I don't know that there is any book that could have prepared me for think-on-your-feet, suck-it-up moments like this. I'm the girl who can't pick up a bug carcass to throw it away, even with all the wads of toilet paper in the world. (That's what vacuums are for...) I'm the girl whose stomach gets weak at the thought of another child's dirty diaper. But with my own child, that's not an issue. Especially when she's sick and feeling so vulnerable, and needing the comfort of someone bigger and more in control than she is. And so we cup our hands in front of her and tell her it's okay, to do what she needs to do. It's not the cuddle-on-the-couch, Hallmark greeting style tenderness that one thinks about when they think of parenting. But it's tenderness nonetheless.