Monday, March 16, 2015

How to Induce Bright Pink Vomiting and Other Genius Parenting Skills You Won't Find Anywhere Else

This is the time of year when Dave works an insane number of hours to get ready for our church youth group's musical. Our family is grateful to have the opportunity to support this production, but... we miss Daddy a lot. And despite the newly beautiful weather and the chance to be outdoors more lately, we were feeling a little cooped up today. Since yesterday Esme woke up with a painful muscle spasm in her neck and it rendered her immobile, we weren't able to make it to church. So today I wanted to plan a small but fun outing for the kids. Cheer all of us up, get us out and about, bring smiles, make memories.

We drove over to one of our favorite playgrounds and enjoyed the swings, the slides, and the sunshine. Then, all sneaky Mama, I drove toward home but passed right by our neighborhood. "Where are we going??" the kids demanded, instantly on to me. Minutes later, we arrived at Baskin Robbins, where we had a gift card. Ice cream for Meg, Matthew and Esme, iced black coffee for me, and a smoothie for Graham.

Graham is our allergic baby. Meg has celiac and can have no gluten, but Graham is basically allergic to everything else, including dairy. Now, I know that they put frozen yogurt in the smoothies at these places. I know that. "But," I reason, "he's always been ok with smoothies in the past." We used to get him smoothies at Panera while traveling (before I realized they contained dairy), and the worst that ever happened was a little rash around his mouth. So come today, a smoothie totally seemed like a better option than ice cream. And Graham loved it. "Maybe he's grown out of his dairy allergy, as people keep saying he will," I thought.

Fast forward 30 minutes. We're home, we're getting the mail and opening it, some neighbors drop by to sell us Girl Scout cookies. Graham goes upstairs to get his pajamas on. (Probably his fourth set of clothes today--boy still loves his clothes with a passion.) The next time I see him, he's standing at the top of the stairs clad only in a diaper and swim goggles and looking bewildered. There's some kind of gooey pink stuff dripping from his hand. And... wait. It's on his diaper too. It's sprayed on the walls on either side of him. It's bright pink smoothie-puke. Graham has projectile vomited all the way down our carpeted stairs, right to the very bottom step.

It is at this moment that I remember in vivid detail the last time we got Graham a smoothie while on the road. He threw up all over himself and his car seat, and we had to clean it up with baby wipes. I remember exactly where we pulled off and how long it took us to find the highway again after the stop. I even remember the huge Panera with the cool loft where we got that smoothie and how someone complimented me on my dress as I went up the stairs. I remember how patient the cashier was as I placed our complicated order, requesting gluten-free prep on this and no mayo on that. In short, I now remember everything about this incident that I needed to remember--that I really, really should have remembered--an hour ago.

I rinse my boy's hands, pop him in the bathtub, and dose him with Benadryl. I spend the next hour scrubbing carpet, checking to see how Graham's allergic reaction is progressing, and feeling like a terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad Mama. Here I wanted to bless my kids and I end up making one of them sick. I should have known better; I did know better! I even thought about having him try the one dairy-free ice cream option they had, but I thought the flavor sounded nasty. Bad Mama! Bad! Bad!

There is no moral to this story. I'm not really a bad Mama... usually. I am a fallible creature who is prone to lapses in judgment (among other failings). Today I made a mistake. I will surely make many more. God was very merciful and helped Graham through his allergic reaction. We didn't have to to use the EpiPen. We didn't have to go the ER.

But I won't get any more smoothies for Graham. And I hope never again to have to scrub every single tread of my carpeted stairs.

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