Monday, July 17, 2006

Day Three

Mondays are never easy. They never have been. It's the only day that all of us are in the "office," with both Denver Mom and I going to work, and Chunk getting dropped off at day care.

When we first started taking him to day care, we thought we were very clever in putting together this particular schedule. Mondays he would get the socialization benefits of being in day care and the rest of the week he'd be home with either mom or dad, spoiling him with attention. It made things much more affordable and we thought we were getting the best of both worlds, but we didn't anticipate the separation freak out whenever we drop him off.

When he was a baby, he didn't care. We could sneak away without so much as a glance up from whatever toy he found. As he's gotten older, he's started clinging more, crying more, desperate for us not to leave him. When we go to pick him up, it starts all over again, with big, fat tears and strong, needy hugs.

The part that makes it so hard is that he has a good time when he's there. Occasionally I can sneak in while he's playing and watch him having a good time. He's no different than when he's at home, every bit as busy, every bit as engaged in whatever task he has set for himself. But, when he sees me, the dam breaks and the tears come fast and hot. With Denver Mom gone, he was especially desperate not to be left at day care this morning. And, given his fragile state, I felt especially bad about abandoning him.

Speaking of fragile, we had a minor emergency last night, that basically boils down to his father being almost criminally stupid. My little guy got a little too hot and not enough fluids, which resulted in some vomiting. The on-call nurse at Children's Hospital thought it was a virus that has been going around, instead of a little heat exhaustion, but the result was the same.

The great thing about a child's vomit is that it’s a great communicator. With Chunk, it comes fast and often, just to drive the point home.

For example, we had a few terrible, wildly arcing "sessions" last night. Kicking and cursing myself for being so stupid (I didn't realize the pulp in his juice had clogged his sippy cup holes), I cleaned him and the carpet up, then after I was sure we were out of the worst of it, ran to the store to get him some Pedialyte.

I don't know about you, but I find the Pedialyte section of the store a little nerve-wracking. There are a hundred different flavors, various ways to give it to him (liquid, popsicles, etc), and then there's the issue of official Pedialyte versus the cheaper store brand. While I was standing there, studying the different paths towards hydration and trying to figure out what we should get, I was holding Chunk in my arms. He had his little arms wrapped around my neck and then let out a little whimper.

"Are you okay, buddy?" I asked.

He nodded, but wore an expression that told otherwise.

"It's okay, buddy, we're going home right after this."

Then, it came. A torrent of juice-colored vomit, like some horrific geyser of warm, frothy gross. Since I was holding my young son to me, trying to keep him comforted and happy, there was only one place for the vomit to go and that was on me. Hadn't we already done this vomiting thing? Where the heck did all of this liquid come from?

So, not knowing what else to do, I grabbed a bottle of Pedialyte and wandered over to the check-out counter, covered in toddler ooze.

Chunk was on the verge of tears.

"It's okay, buddy, it's daddy's fault. You're fine. You don't have to feel bad."

That seemed to cheer him up. He liked being able to vomit on his father and have his father feel bad about it.

There was a long line at the express check-out and no one in line with me seemed to care or notice that I was covered in vomit. I was wearing a white t-shirt that was now pink and frothy, so it's not like it was subtle. Chunk was blubbering a little. That should have been a clue that something was up, but it was business as usual as far as everyone else was concerned.

The good news is that he's back to normal. We had several drinks of water throughout the night and some much needed sleep, and now he's back to his typical, happy self. The Pedialyte I bought? He refused to drink it.

1 comment:

Pickle's Papa said...

Pedialyte is nasty. A couple of years ago I had a horrible stomach flu, and it was my wife's answer to my well being. I swore the only way I would ever do that to a child of mine is if they were a teenager and were dehydrated from drinking - because then it would be fair.