My son was sick on Saturday. We woke early. Earlier than usual. I told him I’ll get up, but I’m just going to sleep on the couch. I’m not happy about this. We got down to the kitchen and before I could turn on any lights he said, Dad, my stomach hurts. My first thought was – Is he hungry, or does he have to shit? I asked, what does it feel like? He said, like this. Then he threw up on the kitchen floor. I quickly picked him up out of the encircling puddle. Set him down. He threw up again. I moved him again. It’s okay, I said rubbing his back as he looked dazed and surprised. I don’t know why I did that, he said confused. We went to the bathroom to clean him up, wash his body and face. New clothes. Then on the couch watching Dora while I cleaned the kitchen floor.

Two hours later and he threw up on the couch. Then the carpet. And then my hands as I tried to catch the dark bile to keep it from staining.

He swung between wanting to play – building towers, Batman, falling in the water – and curling up next to me and sadly saying I’m tired.

Four hours later while he curled next to me as we watched Team Umizoomi he said Dad, I have to go to the bathroom. He looked at me with the look. I carried him and ran to the bathroom, setting him on the floor in front of the toilet.

Instinct takes over
clutch toilet seat sides
heave chest and stomach convulse
vomit all
vomit all
It’s okay soothe
rub back and shoulders
It’s okay
pause and repeat
then hug and clean up

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