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My Kids Are Amazing. (And I Am Tired.)

{If you are not so into drawn-out family vomit sagas, stop now.}

Maybe I was feeling extra vulnerable yesterday because I knew deep down that my entire family was about to be ravaged by the stomach flu that sidelined me on Monday?

Honestly, I thought we were in the clear. I got sick on Sunday night and was in recovery mode Monday and Tuesday. Husband and the girls were fine. How lucky, huh? Not so fast. While Big Girl and I were walking home from school (it was an unusually balmy January afternoon), Nanny sent the following text: Middle Girl is crying. Says her tummy hurts.

My (utterly eloquent) message back: Crap. Keep me posted.

Minutes later, from Nanny: She threw up!

As my eldest and I strolled home, we got several more texts and you know just what they said. When I arrived home, Middle Girl was in bed napping. That is, until I heard her vomiting her mac and cheese lunch into her hair over the sound monitor. A quick bath and change into ballerina pajamas and she was back on the couch, balled-up. Every twenty minutes or so, she grabbed for my arm and gave me that sweet and sad look with her blue eyes and I marched her off to the toilet. Rinse and repeat all afternoon and evening. She munched on a lonely Saltine and sipped some fancy water (Pedialyte) and curled up for bed on a blow-up mattress by the foot of our bed. During the whole ordeal? Barely a tear.

Husband was the next to fall. After dinner, my good man ran out to purchase the aforementioned Saltines and when he returned, he shot me a look that said, I am not okay. He melted into the couch, got sick fifteen or so minutes later, and then hopped over Middle Girl's mattress throughout the night to make it to that magic bowl.

But the saddest by far? Little Girl. At one point as we were all trying to fall asleep, we heard a few coughs and whimpers on her monitor. We heard this and turned on the video monitor and saw our baby squirming around, but then she settled, and appeared to be sleeping. Phew, I mumbled. Foolishly. Husband, thoughtful man even when wildly ill, said that maybe I should check and make sure she didn't get sick in her crib. Off I went.

When I opened the nursery door, I smelled it. I tiptoed to her crib and there she was, my sweet little girl, sleeping face down in a pool of cheery orange vomit. I plucked her from the nastiness. Her face was covered. The tips of her eyelashes were orange. Her blue eyes were red. I stripped her down and wrapped her in a towel. She played with a rubber ducky on the floor as I stripped her crib, changed the sheets, and threw all tainted items into the wash. Then there was bath. Though clearly miserable, she smiled a bit and splashed a bit. More pajamas. Another sleep sack. A bunch of cuddles on the rocking chair and I put her back in the crib (on a towel). She didn't cry.

And I curled up to sleep on the daybed in her room. The place where I spent so many nights during her first months. Though exhausted and disgusted, it felt like an odd privilege to be back there, curled up, inches from my babe, listening to her breathe, and sleep. The problem though? I couldn't. I couldn't sleep. But I stayed there for hours, waiting for her to cry, to get sick again. Mercifully, she didn't. Around 2:30am, I sneaked back into my own bed. The only issue was that Middle Girl had climbed in on my side and splayed herself like a starfish. I made it work.

At 5am, Little Girl cried again and so I went to her. This time, no smell, no sickness. Again, I curled up on that blue flowered bed and this time I slept. Goodness did I sleep. Until 7am when my sick hubby came to retrieve me to tend to the big girls who were awake.

So now? We are all up. PJ-clad, various levels of sicky. The baby is up t0o and seems to be on the mend. The wild card is Big Girl. She hasn't gotten sick yet. My overwhelming instinct is to keep her home from school today, that she is a ticking sick bomb. Or maybe, just maybe, she has an immune system of steel?

Okay, that's all folks. Sorry to regale you with the details of my brood's descent into stomach flu hell, but somehow it makes me feel better to acknowledge my current reality here, to realize that my kids, even when tested and twisted by terrible germs, are really quite amazing and resilient.

Okay, must go. Need to fix Middle Girl an "ice chip sundae," whip up a "fancy water bottle" for the baby, check on my man, and explain to my biggest that she will not be going to school because she might get sick at any minute. Alas.

Why do you think it can be helpful to record these stories despite their patent ick-factor and utter lack of profundity? Do you think it is the right call to keep Big Girl back from school? Seriously, I want your thoughts on this one. And what if she doesn't get sick today - Do I send her tomorrow then?

Misery & Family

Vulnerability Is a Good Thing