I’ll admit there were times this past winter that I semi-smugly thought we Johnsons must have superior genes because we’d somehow escaped the drama of the barfing flu without the magic of vaccinations. I’d see Facebook friends bemoan the horror of sick children and sick parents and, quietly, thank my lucky stars that we had not had the same privilege.
But our time finally came. As it turns out, we do not have superior genes.
We have latent, sneaky genes that tricked us into thinking we’d escaped the nastiness. But we didn’t. Which means my awesome ‘break’ from my ‘demanding’ blogging schedule….was spent cleaning up mouth matter.
It turns out if ‘you’ (i.e. the Hen) insist on hovering beside a kid tainted with the barfing flu (i.e. older brother), there’s a good chance you will also get the barfing flu. Of course, this being ‘life’, there’s also a good chance the barfing flu will wait exactly 48 hours to rear its ugly head. Minutes after your mother tells you on the phone that you are in the clear.
It was Saturday afternoon. Around one or two. The Hen had taken a nap. I picked him up from his nap. He seemed completely fine, asking about his oldest brother and whatnot. I plopped him down in the kitchen. ‘Do you want pizza?’ I asked in a chirpy voice. ‘I made you some pizza for lunch, do you want some’ I singsonged. Obliviously.
The word ‘pizza’ had scarcely left my mouth when I noticed he was h-u-r-l-i-n-g all over the kitchen floor. Repeatedly. Once, twice….three times (a) baby. I could hear the professor hiding in the living room, as if to say ‘I’ve done my time, you’re on your own for this one.’
Poor kid never did have that pizza.
So I did my time; cleaning biohazard that only janitors with very high hourly wages should have to clean. While trying to reassure my bewildered two and a half year old, and trying to keep my own cookies from making an appearance.
I cheerfully bathed the little tyke who has not yet developed the skill of tossing his cookies away from his person. I fetched the same (laundered!) bowl and blanket and towels that we’d used for the Gort. I began a load of puke laundry. I changed the little man into clean, comfortable clothes. Placated him with Gatorade and saltines.
And then ‘it’ happened again. And…again. And, in the matter of three hours I did three loads of laundry. His ‘comfortable’ outfits grew progressively uglier as the pukefest continued. By the end he was wearing some very random shorts with palm trees that belonged to his brother (‘where did those shorts come from’, the professor asked) and the ugliest shirt I could find.
My only hope was that the baby would escape a similar fate. But it is honestly not possible to keep small children away from a baby without turning into some sort of ogre. ‘Stop touching your brother,’ I barked more often than I liked. ‘Give him some space!’ I ordered with the hopes of protecting my youngest, littlest cub.
But it didn’t matter. At 12.30am on Monday (technically, Tuesday) the kid awoke in a pile of mouth matter. Which means I was giving him a bath and doing puke laundry in the wee hours of dawn. The professor held the poor babe on his lap until 4.30am, while trying to finish a presentation for the same day.
And by dinner time on Tuesday the professor had succumbed as well. The boys and I ate flank steak tacos while a truly horrific soundtrack played in the background. I sent Mr. Johnson senior to convalesce in the basement afterwards. ‘The boys got to watch a movie and you sat by them and patted their heads,’ he moped. I guess that ‘Poor little bunny‘ video clip had it right. Men really do want to be babied when they’re sick.
I washed my hands constantly, so much that the skin began to crack and bleed at the knuckles. Is it possible that one person can escape a barfing flu epidemic in a household of five?
Time will tell.
I stole the title from the professor who emailed me early in the week to ask how things were at pukapalooza. He’s clever like that.