Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My Hands, My Children, My Job

*I'm setting a mark for myself to blog on here at least once a week. So many happenings are going unrecorded, and though I'm doing it entirely for myself, I know there are a couple of readers still out there that miss me. So let's see how this goes.*

During late December, my hands finally succumbed to the cracking and dryness that often happens during the winter months. My right thumb had a significant, painful crack on it and no matter how much lotion/ointment I applied, it wouldn't heal. I dealt with it for a few days, and was hopeful that a week in the Caribbean humidity would cure it. That Caribbean humidity worked a miracle on my skin, although a havoc on my hair. (It's rare I can empathize with my mother-in-law about hair issues.) My thumb healed perfectly, and my hands spent a glorious 8 days rarely needing lotion.

Despite going on our cruise earlier than usual this year, I returned home optimistic that the softness of my skin would last throughout the rest of the cold, dry weeks of winter we have yet to endure, as it has the past couple of years post-cruise.

My visions of smooth skin for the rest of the winter didn't take into account the fact I'd be washing my hands 4,073 times for a couple of days last week, and now this week.

You see.
We have a new identity (hobby?) around here.

The Sowby Family is perhaps now better known as Public Vomiters.

Meet Joshua, third grader that spewed his breakfast, including a red berry smoothie (TMI?) across his third grade classroom last week.

And this is Drew. 1st Grader who five days after big brother's debut, decided to match him by throwing up on the school bus yesterday afternoon.

And this is Ellie. 6th grader who I kept home thinking she had a mild case of I'm-sort-of-sick-but-really-I-just-want-a-day-home-from-school. But the fact a few hours later, a bathroom rug was thrown away instead of washed, confirmed my earlier ambivalent feelings of keeping her home had in fact been the right choice.

Despite Ellie being home sick yesterday (her throwing up didn't start until after lunchtime), I decided to do Cookie Day. Every so often, I greet the children at the bus stop with a container of cookies, and I hear reports of children spying me from a few houses down as the bus approaches with chants and cheers of, "Cookie Day! Cookie Day!" I love the enthusiasm and cheers that greet me as I stand there with my blue lid container full of cookies.

Except yesterday, as I stood by while the bus doors opened, intermixed with chants of "Yay! It's Cookie Day!" and "Cookie Day! Cookie Day!" were more loud and overpowering voices yelling, "Drew threw up on the bus!" and "Drew just barfed!"

Rarely am I at the bus stop to greet my children, but the bus driver knew I was Drew's mother, so I didn't really  have an escape. I wanted to stand there passing out cookies like normal, or even run home to help Drew, but more accurately, I daydreamed for just a moment of running home, hopping in my car and escaping to a hotel for an undetermined amount of time.

I didn't.

Instead, I passed the cookies to a neighbor boy to give out, and turned to the bus driver (who had just retrieved the emergency 'Body Fluid Cleanup Kit') and I said, "I am so sorry." And then quite insincerely added, "Can I help you clean it up?"

(For the record, I asked GENUINELY at the elementary school if I could help clean up Joshua's and they told me, "Oh, the janitor's got it taken care of.")

A part of me thought the bus driver would say, "Oh no. It's part of the job, go home and take care of your child." or even, "Oh, it's no big deal. Keep passing out cookies." Instead, I somewhat stumbled into the bus as he said, "Yes. I think I will let you."

I have cleaned up a lot of throw up in my life. I'll spare you the details of some of the worst (my BFF's teenage brother throughout his whole bedroom, mere weeks after their mother died is likely still at the top), but the floor of a school bus, mixed with my child's lunch remnants come in as a close second.

Wondering how my soft hands relate to all this?

Ellie and Drew threw up more times yesterday afternoon and evening than I can count. I washed my hands more times yesterday than I have in my entire life combined.

By yesterday evening, I could feel the annual crack on the side of my thumb beginning to make a second appearance of the season.

So last night, when a child started spewing in their bucket as they walked to the bathroom, and Mike continued eating his dinner, I said, "That's fine, I'll help AGAIN. But don't be surprised when I HAVE to go alone to the Caribbean next week for medical reasons."

I'm a nice, compassionate, serving mother and wife like that.


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