Those are all the places Benjamin threw up today. Let's take a minute to appreciate how many times he managed to either make it to the toilet or remembered to use the throw up bucket. That's real evidence that he's growing up.
You'd think that with how sick he was he'd, I dunno, slow down a little or something. But no. Not Benjamin. He's determined to be running full steam ahead 100% of the time.
I think I've mentioned this before, that Rachel was a difficult toddler...until she got sick...and then she was a dream. She was content to sleep it off—hardly complained, took it all lying down.
Miriam, on the other hand, was a fairly easy toddler. She was calm and quiet and a joy to be around...until she got sick...and then melodrama would start bubbling out of her. She'd get demanding and weepy and restless.
Benjamin's always on. All the time. He's hard when he's sick. He's hard when he's not.
So today, in addition to finding time to throw up nine different times, he was also bouncing off the walls.
While I was cleaning up his mess from the kitchen floor he ran to throw up in the toilet. He emerged from the bathroom wiping his mouth on his arm.
"Well, I feel better!" he chirped. "Let's play outside!"
We actually went on a walk, in lieu of lunch, to collect leaves so we could make a craft. He was racing up and down the street in front of me, searching for the best leaves. He even had a little race with the mail truck (I don't know that the mail truck knew it was involved in the race, but it was). We collected a nice bunch of leaves and made some leaf rubbings when we got home, which Benjamin seemed to enjoy.
I eventually convinced him to watch a show and he, much to my relief, zoned out in front of the television. I left him sitting on the couch watching Little Einsteins for a couple of hours before he finally zonked out.
The fleece blanket balled up under him was supposed to be spread out over the couch as a throw up barrier...but (honey) Benjamin don't care. My girls are pretty good at leave throw up barriers intact. Benjamin...not so much. Oh, well. He's really been pretty good at getting his throw up in an acceptable receptacle.
And yet we're still struggling with potty training.
I made the girls clean their room before going to bed, just so they could have a clear path to the bathroom, should they need one in the middle of the night (I put some of Benjamin's energy to use this afternoon when we cleaned his room). This got Rachel rather worried.
"If we have to throw up in the middle of the night, should we wake you up first?" she asked.
"You should probably just throw up first," I said.
"In the toilet, hopefully."
"What if I have to turn the light on?"
"What if I have to turn the hallway light on?"
"Should I wake you up when I'm finished throwing up, then, since I'm not waking you up before?"
"If you need to."
"How do I know if I need to? Like, if I throw up a lot...do I wake you up then? Or does it have to be..."
"If you throw up and want to go back to bed, that's fine. You're a big, capable girl now. But if you feel like you need to wake me up, that's fine, too. But don't plan on throwing up. You'll probably be fine. You've hardly seen Benjamin today."
"Good point. One more question—what do I do if I throw up at school?"
"Call me. I'll pick you up."
I think we have a contingency plan for every throw up scenario imaginable, aside from vomiting while floating in outer space. What then?!
But enough about vomit. Let's return to our lovely, energetic walk this afternoon. We were skipping merrily along our way when a concerned neighbour pulled his truck alongside us.
"Boy!" he called out in a thick southern drawl (so it came out sounding more like "boa" to me than "boy"). "Boy! You come here! Imma tell you to stay out of the road since your momma doesn't seem to tell you that. Boy, you stay out of the road, d'ya hear me?" Then he turned to me. "You need to keep your boy out of the road. I always see him running around in the road. He's a wild thing."
"He sure is," I agreed. "Believe it or not he has the stomach flu today, and yet he's been bouncing off the walls all day!"
"You gotta get him under control," our concerned neighbour said. "God bless you."
Thanks for that, concerned neighbour.
First of all, while playing in the street might pose risks, I also believe that it heightens my children's sense of mortality. My children know cars are dangerous and they are pretty darn good at getting off the street when they need to. I grew up playing on the street as well. We'd all just yell out, "Car!" and in a snap the road would be clear of children. We all survived.
Second, we live on a cul-de-sac so it's not like it's a high-traffic area. Our immediate neighbours are well-aware that we're the crazy family with four children in the small house. They know our kids play outside a lot. They happen to love our children's chalk drawings so much that they spontaneously gift us boxes of sidewalk chalk (which we use on the road because, if you haven't noticed, our neighbourhood doesn't have sidewalks). So there's that.
Third, are you sure it's my little boy you see running around in the road? Because there's another little boy kitty-corner from us and he actually lives on your street (which is the thoroughfare of our neighbourhood and thus sees much heavier traffic than our lil cul-de-sac) and he does dart out into the road. I've seen him do it, but I also know he's a headstrong four-year-old, so I'll forgive him. Furthermore, my little boy is rarely outside without being accompanied by a whole passel of young ladies (his big sisters, the girls across the street, me and Zoë (there are so many women in his life)) so I really don't know when he's ever just been running around in the street unsupervised.
He's three. I'm not daft.
Fourth, I'm frankly more than a little concerned about your smoking habits, concerned neighbour—you need to get that under control before y'all die of lung cancer (if liver failure doesn't do you in first because I know y'all go in for dialysis (so perhaps you should cut out all the beer I see you enjoying on your front porch, just saying)).
Thanks for looking out for us, but I'm going to follow the advice of our chalk-gifting neighbours—I'm going to hand him some chalk, pat him on the head, and tell him to watch for cars.
I truthfully don't know if our neighbour was actually upset or not. He often makes comments when we walk by his house...wondering where the "rest" of the kids are, commenting on how big the baby's getting, saying "What'cha got there?" when Benjamin's carrying a stick or whatever. Quite often our interaction with this neighbour is positive; today felt different.
At any rate, today was not a good day to question my parenting skills. I'd spent my entire day cleaning up vomit and trying to get my sick little boy to rest. I was not feeling very open to constructive criticism. Hopefully by tomorrow we'll be back up and running, vomit-free, past your house, in the road—because, no sidewalk, remember?—to the park to play. Y'all can give me pointers then.
In the meantime, perhaps I'll print out some anti-tobacco brochures for you.