Friday, June 24, 2011


My son is sick. This will be his first time. Which isn't bad. He's had a cold and stuff like that, but he hadn't thrown up involuntarily until this morning. It made him sad. And it made my wife sad too that she couldn't stay home to look after him. But right now he's wombling around the living room with a tea pot filled with Cheerios trying to grab the cat's tail. I'm impressed he's taking it all so well.

My kids tend not to get sick. We know lots of people with kids that are genuinely always sick. Stomach bugs, ear infections, eye problems, horrible acid reflux - you name it. When I was a kid I was one of those problem kids - pick a body part and I can assure you it didn't work very well when I was little. But not my kids - they just don't get sick often. That coupled with the fact that we aren't the over-medicating type has stood them in good stead. And I know some who take their kids to the doctor once a week - they need the reassurance that their kid won't die and they aren't a bad parent. But my kids get colds and deal with it. I think we've had one family flu since my son was born, and I was the biggest whiner about that. Mostly because I had to go to work with it and it felt like my head was actually going to explode.

My daughter has had one real stomach bug in four years. Coming out of both ends it was. Actually my wife contracted some horrifying puking and shitting disease at a kids pool party. For a few days she spent most of her time emptying. She learned that everyone at that party spent the next week doing the same. Then I got sick. In the spirit of family we went to her parents house to get some help looking after the kids. One by one we all fell ill. The day we both felt better we strapped our little girl in the car, amazed that once again she just didn't get sick, and headed off for home. About two miles into the trip - even though asleep - she started projectile-vomiting watermelon all over the car.

That's pretty much it for sickness. A touch of diarrhea here and there. But nothing that needed bothering a doctor. I do know a few people who jump at the chance to squirt Calpol and Benadryl into their kids. The only time my daughter threw up was the one time we gave her Calpol - it came right back out. So we just skipped it. And it's made her as strong as an ox. But this morning at around four o'clock my son woke up vomiting. Not much but obviously enough. He kept heaving and retching until about 5.30. My daughter thought this would be a fantastic opportunity to get up early and see what it is that Daddy does downstairs at such a stupid time of day. So I had to lie in bed with her until she fell asleep again. She dropped off about 5.30 too. I got up the second she was out. I love my kids and will do anything for them. But lying in bed even though I'm awake? They owe me today now. My wife nearly blew it too. As I tip-toed out of the room she whispered to me to turn off the alarm clock. And by "whispered" I of course mean she yelled in a whispering voice. She's been alive for over three decades and has yet to learn that whispering is supposed to make what you say harder for people to hear, and not to sound like you've turned a hairdryer on.

Once my wife left for work at about 6.30 my son got up. He's clearly tired, has had a few half coughs/half-heaving moments but seems okay. He seems to know it's Friday and is demanding Fruitloops. Not a chance that's going to happen. Right now he's got the teapot spout in his mouth and is honking into it. Which sounds funnier because earlier this week he started to lose his voice - probably the start of whatever he has now. He sounds like a teenage boy who's voice was breaking. Actually scrub that - he sounds exactly like a cross between Bobby Hill and a goose. Whatever he's got he'll get over though. No drugs needed. Just lots to drink, cuddles and a visit to Grandma later today. He is developing just as fast as his sister. I know it's a polite thing for people to say, "oh they've gotten so big!" when they see your children, but my kids really are big. Not fat or anything - just very tall for their ages. Physically their development is way ahead of schedule. They appear to have figured out whatever it was Clifford The Big Red Dog did to get all massive and are following in his footsteps.

My daughter is still asleep. At 9.32am. Why can't she does this every day? She clearly gets too tired and is too old to nap (meaning she's too old to calm down) and at least once a week it catches up with her and manifests as unbridled rage. Today is Thrift Store day too and she might not even be awake when it opens! The shame!!

And if she does wake up soon she's not going anywhere until I hide whatever the smell is that she's exhibiting today. We all have our own smell. Some of us smell like daffodils. Some people smell like fox urine and milk. And some people, God help them, smell like a mixture of genitals and feet (a fine monthly magazine by the way). My daughter's natural smell is actually pretty nice, but she suffers from the same problem I do. When I fly on long journeys I start to smell like I've been dipped in iodine. It's not the nicest. But no matter how warm the air is overnight my daughter demands to be clothed in thick pajamas and wrapped under the duvet. Last night apparently was too much and when I lay in bed cuddling her I noticed the distinct tinge of iodine. I'll scrub her with coconut-smelling things - she likes those.

Lastly you may have read elsewhere on here that my daughter's overuse of the words Winkie and Whoopsie had become so chronic that I had actually contemplated just telling her to use the correct terminology from now on. At least that way when she starts blurting out random gibberish about her vagina other people will tell her it's inappropriate. I think one of our friends calls them, "bathroom words." Anyway, someone I know read that and told me their own experience with their child. A short while ago their three year old son asked them the challenging question, "Mummy, how do babies get in mummies' bellies?" At which point she told him, in simple clear terms. She had found a book in a Christian book store made for just such an occasion. It helpfully explained the whole thing - using all the proper grownup names for body parts - in really easy-to-understand language. Add that the book threw God in there as well, so surely it would be nice and pleasing for a child to understand. Apparently the boy liked the book because he requested it as one of his daily reads for a couple of weeks. Then out of the blue one day her son lovingly glanced up at her and said, "Mummy, I want to slide my penis into your vagina."

After more explaining and horrifying awkwardness (I'm sure) he apparently forgot the whole thing. Needless to say she did not. He was trying to express how much he loved his mother. And got it spectacularly off. Luckily I seem to have missed the oedipal stage with my own daughter. She skipped over the, "I want to marry Daddy" thing and chose one of my wife's friends kids. That was over a year ago and she's still determined. As soon as she learns to write I'm betting she drafts up a contract.

Okay - time to pick the Cheerios off the floor.

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