Mom Off the Cuff: Hey Murphy, This One’s for You!

You know Murphy’s Law? “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong?” Sound familiar?

That guy’s a dick.

As any military spouse – or indeed, any spouse of someone who travels frequently for work – will tell you, the shit always hits the fan once there’s only one adult around to hold down the fort.

My kids have recently been struck with pukey-itis. That’s a very scientific term, coined by a friend’s son; I co-opted it because it is succinct. You see, aside from the random bouts of near-projectile vomiting, my kids have been basically fine. It was the youngest one who fell first.  I made plans with a friend to come over Friday afternoon for lunch. So, of course, Friday morning, D pukes like a gloriously disgusting fountain all over the dining room floor. Sigh. Vomit AND mopping floors before I even got my morning coffee brewing.

But, it was tricksy, you see. It was mostly mucus; he had been suffering a nasty turn with allergies (as had I), so I thought it was just too much mucus in the stomach. I canceled lunch because I didn’t want to take a chance (she was SUPER pregnant – so much so that she gave birth two days later), even though I thought he’d maybe throw up once more and then be done.

He proceeded to throw up ten more times over the course of Friday and Saturday. I finally got some probiotics into him, and then, late Saturday afternoon, he collapsed on his little Mickey Mouse couch, curled up in his Mickey Mouse blanket, and watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He woke early Saturday evening, seemingly better.

I was not fooled. Jaded woman that I am, I knew I was being lured into a false sense of security. Cautious optimism. I’ve read enough novels, seen enough movies. I wasn’t taking the bait. I walked a razor’s edge that night, flying out of bed at the drop of a hat to go check on every little noise. When I woke up Sunday morning, I could have made Medusa look like Miss America by comparison. Mind you, this is Mother’s Day.

There was no more pukey-itis from the little one. He was better. HOORAY! And the bigger one didn’t show any signs of succumbing. Could it be? Just to be sure, I plied them both with probiotics again. We had a relatively uneventful Mother’s Day. The neighbor family invited us over because they felt bad for me having to cook for myself and the boys on Mother’s Day, so had us share theirs. It was unbelievably sweet (mental note: send a thank you card!), and it really did make my night. Plus their youngest daughter is our regular sitter, so the boys felt free to monopolize her and I actually got to have some adult conversation. Score!

Monday morning came, and I forgot to give my oldest his probiotics. I’m convinced this was my downfall. He went to preschool, and was a little irritable there, but he was up later than normal the night before. I just thought he was tired.

He complained about dinner (as is typical), but he ate, which is more than I can say for the youngest, who turned his nose up at all of it. But when it came time for bedtime, the W said that his stomach hurt. He had been ripping off some decidedly noxious farts, so I let him stay up a bit, sure he was going to be running to the bathroom any minute anyway.

He was watching some cartoons on Netflix, and I began my nightly ritual of checking Facebook and all the other sites I indulge in at night when my husband is gone. I think I was engulfed in a list featuring cat gifs when he came over to see what I was doing. And then it was all I could do to yank my leg out of the way when he started to spew.

It was like a movie: it was slow motion, and I could see it splatter the floor, narrowly missing the adapter for my laptop, the antique silverware we keep stored under the couch because this house has no damn storage, and my sandals.

I exhorted him to STAY PUT, DON’T MOVE. The last thing I wanted was to be cleaning vomit from the entire first floor of the house. I ran upstairs and grabbed some extra towels and threw them down on the floor, one for him to step onto and the other to start soaking up the worst of the mess, and carried him upstairs to the master bathroom. I stripped him down and stuck him in the shower to hose off his legs and feet.

My boys have bunk beds, and W sleeps on the top bunk, so I made the executive decision to have him sleep in the guest room (which is just a regular bed, much easier to dive out of on a mad dash to the bathroom for a surprise puke in the middle of the night). I also gave him a clean bucket, just in case. To be on the safe side, I decided to stay up a while, in case he got sick again. This is Monday night.

Friends, it is now Wednesday night, as I sit writing this, and the poor boy is still throwing up. We’re going to the doctor in the morning, and I swear to you, I will hold that man hostage if he doesn’t give me some anti-emetics for the boy. He hasn’t kept a single damn thing down since he had lunch on Monday. Everything that goes down, must come back up. See, Newtonian laws do not apply to sick children.

But the point is that this happens only when my husband is gone. Only when there’s no one else to  clean up the kid while I clean up the mess. No one else to hug me and tell me it’s going to be okay. No one to stay with the kids while I run to the store for more cleaning supplies and just a few minutes by my ever-loving self.

I’m just tapped out. My patience is worn thin. My sympathetic-vomiting reflex is rearing it’s ugly head again. And I’m tired. I’m tired of mopping, and scrubbing, and washing the damn sheets. It’s the middle of May, and the season for this is long past. So, if you’ve got any spare patience you care to share with me, I’d gladly take it off your hands.

As it is, I see a vodka and lemonade in my future tonight. Please keep your fingers crossed we’re at the end of the pukey-itis. And I’ll keep mine crossed that your house stays pukey-itis free.


Christine Madigan
Christine is currently the HBIC of W and D Enterprises, aka a stay-at-home mom to two handsome and lovable tyrants. Before that, she worked tirelessly in the thankless job of teaching high school students. She's married to a hot and helpful man and can't believe she's 30 because she thought she'd be way more mature by the time she turned 30.