There are a few things that make me wonder whether I could actually handle a second child. The stomach flu is one of them. Seriously? It took me 3 days to get the smell of vomit out of my nose. Amazing.
I was enjoying a bedtime cuddle with my 2-year-old when it happened. There was a gurgling from deep within her. She seemed to sway and lurch, and then there was barf everywhere.
Not knowing what to do I grabbed the soother that had been forcefully ejected from her mouth by the gush of puke, and tried to ‘cork’ her back up while I thought of a plan.
Think, Kat, think! Ok. Wow that smell..I know! The bathroom. The toilet? But she’s so small. Wait. What did my mom do that made me feel better? Put a hand on my forehead and hold my head while I threw up. Bingo!
As my stunned little girl continue to burble forth a stream of what used to be dinner, I picked her up like a football and dashed to the sink.
Now if I could only figure out the logistics of the next few steps.
The objective of course, was to give support to the teeny toddler while aiming the barf-stream into the sink. What happened instead was what I can only describe as a sad backfire.
My efforts to hold her comfortably ended with me handling her like somewhat of a large pepper mill while she craned her head every which way, occasionally pausing to deliver some cut-eye—I swear—and shake her fists.
The barf at this point had somehow managed to become airborne and covered my face, hands, and all exposed clothing.
Then as violently as it started, it was over. We both froze in a kind of spooked inertia and searched each other’s eyes for a clue as to what might happen next.
Not ready for episode 2 of the same show, I whipped off my shirt, washed everyone’s face, hands, etc., changed the sheets of what felt like 4 beds, and hunkered down waiting for an inevitable repeat performance.
While I stroked Baby Girl’s tummy and tried to whisper soothing ‘there, theres—which now I realize were also for my own benefit—a thought jumped into my head.
“Thank God I only have one kid right now.”
The second it formed in my head I felt a stab of guilt.
I want another kid, really I do, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed with just one.
I tried to imagine fitting in feedings or even the sound of a crying infant to the current flu fiasco. I couldn’t. I imagined being pulled in 2 or more different directions with my post-puke energy level. I couldn’t.
I felt so sad all of a sudden. Was this a sign that I shouldn’t be trying for more?
Nonsense, answered some voice of reason deep within me.
You adapt. You grow. You learn. Of course you can’t imagine having two kids. You never imagined all the adventures that being a mom of one could hold—why would you expect yourself to be prepared for two?
But I’m freaking out and it’s just puke. It’s not like this isn’t going to happen again. And if there are two...and what if they’re both puking...and what if Hubs is out, and what if I do something wrong, or I’m helping one barf and the other one barfs and starts to asphyxiate or falls off the bed...or what if one is hungry and I’m nursing and the other is puking and then they’re both crying...What then?
Little Girl’s voice shook me out of my insane reverie.
“Mummy. I love you so much.”
And just like that everything was alright with the world again.
I guess sometimes I forget that I’m not being ‘graded’ for my parenting. There is no panel of judges, no marks for technical or artistic merit. There is not just ‘one way’ to handle a situation. No one is watching my every move except my kid, so if I can still get a coveted ‘I love you’ even after ‘pepper-milling’ her over the bathroom sink, I guess I am doing something right. That, and she does air guitar. That’s definitely a sign that I’m doing something right.
As for adding one or two, I guess I have to stop thinking about the signs and just go with it. It is still my biggest dream no matter if I’m ready for it. In fact, I can safely say nothing will probably be able to prepare me for what lies ahead.
But I’m sure that along the way—somewhere between vomit, tantrums, and I love yous—I’ll get all the training I need.
Want a quick-fix soup recipe for your cold or flu? Check this out.