Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Joys of Parenting: projectile vomiting at the Pack'nSave

A friend one said, "The best part about being a parent is getting to learn how to live all over again."

We were at the Pak'nSave.  New Zealand grocery shopping can be a competitive sport, and we were doing our best to jostle our way through the bread/frozen food section.  Will-J was sitting in the cart - he still likes to ride up there.  He gave me about seven seconds' notice: "Dada, I'm feeling SIIIIICK."  I looked around.  We were in the middle of a big grocery store.  People were moving all around.  Suddenly, things seemed to me very slow.  Like an idiot, I just held out my hands below his mouth.  I should have grabbed one of the fruit bags.  Live and learn.

He vomited at least a liter of fluid.  It went all over himself, me, the shopping cart, and the concrete floor.  People didn't notice and were starting to slip in the vomit as they were trying to get their frozen vegetables.  I had to grab the arm of an older woman to keep her from falling as she was trying to grab some peas, but I had puke on my hand so now it was on her, too.  I was trying to block off a space, while trying to console Will-J at the same time.  The staff didn't know what to do.  Finally a deli employee came out with a sign, but it was the wrong kind of sign and she disappeared again.  Another customer had an idea that we could put out the bright yellow Pak'n Save bags to mark off an area.  This worked pretty well.  Finally a woman with a mop bucket appeared.  She was still trying to give me paper towels to clean ourselves off, but again we were there standing in puke, and it had been awhile and people just kept staring at us.  I told her we were getting out of the store, and she grimly nodded.  

In the parking lot, I made Will-J take off his clothes before getting in the car.  He was so happy.  First, he had gotten whatever that was bothering him out of his tummy.  Second, he got to drive home from the store naked - big fun.  I thought about something, and laughed.  He asked me why I was laughing.

I said, "I'm laughing because a long time ago, my Mama and Dada decided to take us to Germany.  I was seven.  I was much more scared of the big airplane than you, Will-J - you are much braver at flying than I was.  We were in a little town on the Rhine River, among the fog and rain and endless vineyards climbing up the hills.  I think we stayed in a fancy hotel.  At least I thought it was fancy because they served me a soft-boiled egg in a little ceramic cup.  I could crack the egg and take off little pieces of the shell before eating the delicious egg.  I had the egg, and toast, and juice - definitely orange juice, which was a huge treat.  

I didn't feel well, for some reason.  I told my Mama and Dada that I was sick to my stomach.  I made it out into the hallway, and threw up all over the stone floor.  I was very embarrassed.  I didn't want to do it, or understand why I did it, but there it was all over the floor.  The staff was coming, and I didn't understand what they were saying.  I felt much better, but worse at the same time because I had done something wrong.  But my family wasn't mad - they were worried that I was sick and consoled me.  I remember a lot of other stories from that trip, but nothing about the rest of the day.  So, Will-J, I was laughing because I was just like you when I was young, and I know how you feel about throwing up at the Pak'nSave.  Do you feel better?  [yes]  Are you going to try to not do that again? [yes].  Well then lets go home and you can read for awhile."

He liked my story, and was happy because he got to have toast for dinner.  Sometimes it really is like getting to learn how to live all over again.

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