"Why didn't anyone tell us that at some point as a parent, you could be pooping and throwing up at the same time and you'd still have to get up with your @%*&$@% kids at 5 a.m. the next morning to get them breakfast?"
This very graphic question posed by my wife recently begs for follow up, namely, um, are you OK? Do you need me to call a doctor?
But it's also a fantastic question because I can tell you with certainty that no one ever mentally prepared us for that side of parenthood. We had read lots of books. We had jokingly watched "What to Expect When You're Expecting." We had talked to friends. The diapers, the late nights, the calling other parents by their kid's name because that's as far as you got - "Hi Jill's dad!"
If you haven't ventured far into parenting yet, you need to know this side of having kids. The Dayquil commercial is spot on:
How bad can it be to have kids sick in the house?
I'm here to fill that knowledge void. You need to be aware in case you were blissfully thinking you:
- Never get sick the same time as your baby because you just "don't get sick."
- Have a spouse/partner who'd be there to pick up the slack so it's not a big deal.
- Can handle it. It's over in a day anyway.
- Have never pooped and thrown up at the same time.
- Think other parents are just being dramatic
To which I say:
- Hahahaha oh damn you're dumb. You are going to get sick as a new parent. You are going to get sick all the time. You will be wiping snot with your hands with such regularity that you'll have to remind yourself to use a Kleenex on yourself.
You will have your kid at daycare, which is where the Ebola virus, staph infections, and influenza have key parties. if you're like me, you'll start seeing all the -ologists and -iatrists to the point that you get one more hole punched, and the next appointment is free. I drink sanitizer on the off chance it'll disinfect my insides, where, to be frank, there is probably baby poop somewhere.
- That's super cute that you think your spouse won't get sick. Of COURSE they will. They aren't walking around in a Hazmat suit.
And I'm assuming you touch them at some point during the day and they don't keep your kids at arm's length like that Captain from Sound of Music. Can we take a second to all acknowledge the Captain was a real dick as a dad? #uninvolveddad
Let me paint a picture. When we just had our son as our only kid, he came down with a nasty flu, coming out both ends. P.S., if all of this poop and throw up talk make you queasy, I've got bad news for you, because you'll start using diarrhea in conversations like some people use "literally." OK, so my son gets sick, and he is slowly recovering and I've got him all ready for bed.
As I'm rocking him, I realize that, like Missy Elliott and music*, I'm about to lose control over my entire body. (* High five yourself for that reference)
I have to toss him in the crib — and I mean there could have been orange cones waving him in with the landing involved— and race over to the bathroom where I made it to the sink before losing it like a prequel to Bridesmaids. The trick, though, was my wife had ALREADY come down with the flu and had quarantined herself in our master bath, which I believe she later called a war zone. Thankfully, I had a few loving family members around that day who were able to clean up because we couldn't move.
And guess what? The next day, Elliott didn't wake up saying "Hey guys! Heard you had a rough one so I slept till 9 and I'll grab my own waffles." Nope. He still woke up throughout the night. He still expected waffles in the morning. You just figure out a way to make it work. (One thing that helps: Prepare as much as you can before you start getting sick yourself - prep some food, get outfits ready, whatever you know you won't want to do the next day.)
That was not the only time we had that scenario happen. When one of our kids get sick now, we start a mental countdown of how long all of us will continue wearing pants before it becomes not worth the effort. One by one, we fall. I could bathe in Z-Packs and it wouldn't matter. I spent half of January catching throw up in my hands.
- A day is a matter of perspective. Today? Pretty quick. But when you're crawling — actually crawling — to get to the nursery to help your baby because your legs worthless from Jackson Pollacking your toilet, a day can be pretty long.
You may make it through the first year of having a baby without both coming down with something bad. But the day will come. It's a badge of honor, but the badge is made of tears, ginger ale and crackers.
- I don't recommend it. You can't unsee yourself doing that.
- Right, just the same way other parents are being dramatic about how tired they get because how bad can it possible beohmygodicantkeepmyeyesopenwhenwillitend?!?!
Who has a crazy everyone-was-sick-in-my-house story to tell?