Well, Larry, apparently desperate for some R and R, hightailed it out of here last week to go to some sort of "working retreat." Yeah, right...one of these days I'm going to go on a working retreat...with all my girlfriends. We'll get together at some nice hotel and talk about our favorite brand of diapers and where to get the cheapest toilet paper and how does one get vomit stains out of comforters, for all of 5 minutes, maybe...and then we'll goof off for the next 3 days.
All I can say is thank heaven for teenage boys. While Larry was gone, Theo managed to catch no less than 3 mice (and one, um, extra(?) tail...yuck), including the obviously stupid mouse that decided to run around our livingroom one evening. That incident only exacerbated my feelings of spousal abandonment, of course. But we got Larry back for his desertion - Rachel started throwing up almost the minute he walked in the door. (Warning: non-parents may want to exit now - graphic descriptions follow) For some reason, despite my battle-hardened attitude to all forms of vomit, this incident was particularly gross. I don't think we'll ever have salisbury steak again. Rachel threw up again later, in her sleep, while we were downstairs watching a movie (we were rather desperately searching for some comic relief). The movie was , as a matter of fact. Theo and Anna had never seen it, so it was fun watching it again with them. Of course, Larry and I found ourselves explaining a lot of items that were rendered confusing by the passage of 20-plus years. Remember the opening scene, where the librarian is spooked by the cards flying from the card catalogs? We had to explain what those were. We also noted, among other things, an "old-fashioned" computer on the secretary's desk, an old-fashioned phone (touchtone with a cord), and the weirdness of the protagonists' lack of cellphones. I thought I would end up reliving my youth by watching the movie; instead, I went to bed feeling a hundred years old.
Where was I? Oh, yes - Rachel threw up in her sleep. I went upstairs to check on her and found her slumbering soundly in a pool of vomit. It was so disgusting (how disgusting was it, Karen?)...it was so disgusting that I had to get a pair of scissors and cut her out of her pajama shirt, rather than pull it over her head. Isn't that nice? Just what she needed - more scissor ideas...anyway, I stripped her, stripped her bed, showered the puke out of her hair, remade the bed, dressed her in fresh jammies, tucked her in, gave her a few sips of flat ginger ale (all the while thinking, you know, that you can't pay anyone enough to do these things), and then...she threw up again. As I said, you can't pay anyone enough....
Susie barfed all over our bed soon after we finally got to sleep. By this point, Larry was looking so miserable that he was dismissed to go to bed wherever he could find a vomit-free place to lay his head. Misery loves company, but he did have to get up in the morning and go to his Naval Reserve drill. I sat up and held the baby by the computer until she fell asleep. Just when it looked safe to try to put her in her crib (no way she was going in my bed again), she woke up and threw up all over me. By this time, for those of you keeping track, I had approximately 16000 loads of puke-soaked bed linens and clothes stacked up in front of the washer, no clean pajamas left for me or baby and no spare clean blankets. The weekend wasn't shaping up too well, it was clear. I spent all of Saturday just trying to catch up on the laundry - and need I mention that by then I was also suffering from this lovely ailment? And can you believe Larry didn't even call me during the day to check up on us? Coward.
So - Larry got home from work Saturday evening and I convinced him that we needed to go out for a short, refreshing date (obviously, a trademark of parents of large families is irrational optimism). We told Anna to watch the baby for an hour and a half, and she immediately blew up and said she had too much to do and we had no right to make her babysit. Opting for a tactical retreat, we took the baby with us and fed her french fries (this was a dumb idea) and tried to pretend we were not too tired to enjoy each other's company. Then baby threw up and we had to beat a hasty retreat (a lot of retreating that evening); I vaguely remember Larry throwing a bunch of money at the waiter and grabbing the puke-covered baby and dashing out the door, while I was still messing around trying to soak up the vomit on the table with a stack of paper napkins.
We didn't let Anna get away with her mutiny, of course. She actually told Theo after we left, "See? Mom knew I was right," and then she sat down and played a computer game for a while. Funny how the next morning, when she wanted to go out and get away from us, she couldn't find her shoes. It's my version of house arrest, that missing-shoes trick. She threatened to stay in bed all day and I told her to go ahead. At least I don't have to see her glaring at me all day that way.
There! I'm sure by now I've convinced any of you who are childless (and still reading) to remain happily unblessed by offspring. See? Even though I have six children, I'm still doing my part to keep the total world population from skyrocketing out of control. So you can stop begrudging me that $6,000 child tax credit, all right? I've earned it, dammit.
You know, maybe it's time to get to bed before someone else gets sick - that way, I can pretend to be asleep and Larry will have to deal with it. Yes, an excellent idea - good night!