We’ve been wrestling with a stomach bug for the past two weeks, and by “wrestling,” I mean throwing a couple weak punches and then curling up in submission on bathroom floor while succumbing to my body’s will to empty my stomach contents in anyway possible. It wasn’t a fair fight.
My three year old son was the first victim. I can’t be positive, but there is a good chance he acquired the illness after making it his life’s mission to touch every single candy bar he could find at CVS. He concluded that shopping trip like he concludes most outings, with shoving his germ-ridden hands into every available facial orifice. So in retrospect, we should really be thanking our lucky stars he didn’t catch the Zika virus or Polio.
14 hours later, we were all regretting the trip to the drug store. The wonderful thing about sick toddlers is that it’s the only time they will sit still enough to cuddle. The horrible thing about a sick, cuddling toddler is that they have no concept for proper vomit recepticals. So seven hours of surprise vomit sessions and three loads of laundry later, big guy was on the mend. It was violent, but short. I gave myself a high-five, sprayed some Lysol in my mouth, and started the process of sanitizing any surface the other two kids might have access to. I had survived toddler norovirus, and I didn’t need to see the sequel.
Fast forward four days later, when I’d convinced myself that he was no longer contagious and that the other two kiddos must have gotten lucky, having escaped the wrath of the stomach flu despite their shockingly unsanitary personal habits. Then the unthinkable happens: The mothership goes down.
If you think peeing in the company of all your children is unpleasant (and it is.) then I’m sure you can imagine how unpleasant vomiting in their company is. Toddlers don’t have the same sense of disgust that most adults do. I find myself trying not to vomit when my kids do. When it’s my turn, they’re frantically trying to sneak a peak while spewing a constant dialogue of observations and questions.
“Are you frowin’ up, mommy? Why is you doing that? What made you frow up? Why you makin’ that noise? Why is it green? Why you frowin’ up in the toilet? Why are you not talkin’?”
Never mind the fact that you feel completely terrible because YOU HAVE THE STOMACH FLU, but now you’re tasked with desperately trying to keep them away from whatever germs have infested your body. For only the second time in my At Home Parent career, I called in Daddy Daycare.
Dad took over while I had the first stretch of alone time I’ve experienced months. Unfortunately, it was spent dry heaving alone in my bed. There was no sleeping involved either, since my kids were playing what I can only assume was a loud and spirited game of rugby right outside my bedroom door.
I had to rebound quickly, since we had a funeral to attend the next day and my house was in desperate need of a bleach bath. I sprayed my kids down with vinegar, every kind of essential oil, put them in full-body bubble suits and crossed my fingers.
A week later, Valentine’s Day, everyone was all clear. I was finally feeling well enough to make good on our Valentine’s Day plans to order Chinese, drink wine and rent a movie. This, of course, was the most convenient time for my husband to start vomiting. My Valentine’s Day present was solo parenting to the sound track of violent wretching. Romance.
So, we are infected. It’s taking us down, one at a time, like a long drawn out game of dominos. She’s a devious virus with an extended dormant phase tricking you into a false sense of healthful confidence. In two months, when it’s finally gone through the whole lot of us, I’m sure it will have mutated enough that I’ll get it again. You messed with the wrong Mothership, norovirus. I’m armed with Lysol, vitamin water, and adult diapers, and I’m coming for you.