Early last week I was happily trading parenting war stories with my friend at work and I can’t remember exactly what I said but it was something to the effect of how I hadn’t had to clean up anyone’s barf in, like, months. The moment the words left my mouth I realized my grievous error and I instantly rapped my knuckles on the wooden surface of my desk but it was too late: a vortex appeared in the ceiling, a swirling black cloud emerged, and as I spiraled into the darkness I dimly heard the hollow mirthless laughter of the damned echoing behind me.

Which is all to say that of course both children became sick that very same night and of course I eventually found myself using a paper towel to pick chunks of semi-digested god-knows-what out of the bathtub. And may I just add that while a bathtub is certainly a preferable receptacle for human vomit than, say, the living room carpet, being confronted with RINSED SOLID MATTER is sort of a profoundly repulsive experience all on its own.

On Friday morning Dylan looked so incredibly godawful, like something dredged from the bottom of the ocean and heated in the microwave for a good ten minutes, that I dragged him to the pediatrician’s office, where he enjoyed a miraculous transformation the instant we walked through the front doors and he saw the office fishtank. “A FISH!” he blared, clapping his little hands with robust healthy glee, his death-pallor replaced by a pink-cheeked glow, his crusted-over slimenose suddenly clear and dry as a summer afternoon. “An’ ANNUDDA fish!”

He howled lustfully and with great vigor when the doctor touched him with the stethoscope, he thrashed like a wild bull while I tried to hold him down for the ear-inspection, and when I foolishly attempted to pry his angry little jaws open with my hand so the doctor could get the tongue depressor into his mouth, he nearly took my finger off at the knuckle.

All in all, he was PERFECTLY FINE, other than being kind of a raging ASSHOLE.

Eighty thousand doses of Motrin and a few sleep-free nights later, both kids seem to generally be back to normal, except for Dylan’s temperament, which I can only describe as fractious, in the sense that he makes me want to fracture my own skull with a ballpeen hammer. I don’t know if he’s got some residual ear discomfort or if there is an actual rabies-infected badger lodged up his colon or what the deal is, but living with him right now is sort of what I imagine it must be like to hang out with that Leave Britney Alone guy, if that guy also maybe had a chainsaw and his head could spin 360 degrees on his neck.

The child is a little touchy, is what I’m saying. It’s very relaxing to be around.

So let me be a lesson to you—do not under any circumstances break the cardinal rule of parenting, which is that when it comes to good-luck streaks of health or sleep, you NEVER announce how good things are going. Unless of course it’s been a while since you’ve de-puked a tub and you’d like to see just how sharp those skills still are.


43 Responses to “Very superstitious”

  1. Jo on March 15th, 2010 10:31 pm

    I feel your pain, baby.

    My kids aren’t even considerate enough to come down with the same sickness – the baby has a vile gastro bug that gone through the family like the plague. The 2yo has a throat, ear thingy that has turned her somewhat “fractious”. The first post I ever read of yours described having a toddler as being like in an abusive relationship – one moment they’re screaming and hitting you and then the next they’re telling you they only do it cause they love you baby. That pretty much sums it up.

    The two are tag teaming the 2.30am, 3.30am, 4.30am wake ups so that I just drift off back to sleep then the other one wakes.

    Now… today the husband has come down with manflu – which is the WORST disease on earth – similar to the common cold in symptoms but renders the man completely incapacitated.


  2. Kirsten on March 15th, 2010 11:25 pm

    Okay, I actually got teary with laughter reading this one – I even made my hubby come read it with me. Your descriptions are RIGHT ON…especially considering we just got finished cleaning puke off the floor and crib rails of our boy’s crib – he even nailed his teddy bear, pillow, blanket, and everything in the vicinity. Seriously, you are a brilliant writer. I don’t know anyone else who could have described that so well!!!!

  3. Uccellina on March 15th, 2010 11:55 pm

    Oh, jesus, I just finished a nine hour workday at a new job and finally got both kids to sleep after nearly four hours and all of this is by way of saying I really needed the laugh you just gave me. Thank you. Also, ew, and sorry.

  4. NancyJ on March 16th, 2010 3:21 am

    I feel your pain….

    Everytime I make some grand announcement about my 19 year old son doing something wonderful, he turns around and does something totally insane.

    I have to learn to keep my mouth shut and be silently proud!

  5. Clueless But Hopeful Mama on March 16th, 2010 4:40 am

    (Am almost too scared to type….)

    We just got our carpets cleaned. How long do you think we’ve got until…. you know?

  6. Amanda on March 16th, 2010 4:53 am

    “an actual rabies-infected badger lodged up his colon”

    I just died from laughter. Dead.

  7. Laura on March 16th, 2010 4:56 am

    I think you have finally revealed the reason parents like to sit around and moan and tell war stories (myself included). Bragging or breathing a sigh of relief only brings trouble. On the other hand, never ever ask “What next, God? What the hell next?” It’s like walking a tightrope.

  8. Kaire on March 16th, 2010 5:18 am

    FYI it works the same with cats ….

  9. toni in florida on March 16th, 2010 5:18 am

    Thanks for the graphic (and hilarious) example of the reason I never called in sick to work and used my kids as the excuse. (You know, when no one was sick, but I just totally wanted a mental-health day off.) Not willing to tempt the parenting gods, who would surely smite me for my folly. That said, thank you again for the laughs!

  10. Christina on March 16th, 2010 5:34 am

    Ahh, here is the reason that I love to read your blog. The sense of sarcasm and humor that you bring to life.

    Also you nailed it – all true when it comes to parenting! Do not comment on the health and well being of the minions in your charge, EVA. The results are hellish!

  11. Emma on March 16th, 2010 5:38 am

    Cleaning chunks from the tub reminds me of pulling chunks from the washing machine. Knowing they are clean and smell springtime fresh doesn’t help. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm…gag

  12. Amanda on March 16th, 2010 6:00 am

    Oh the dreaded jinx. I have a coworker who, whenever I make it 30 days without mentioning a sick kid, will say “Gosh! Your kids haven’t been sick in *awhile*!” By the time I get home, at least one boy will be sprawled out on the couch with a fever and flu-like symptoms.

    Curse you, voodoo coworker!

  13. Claudia on March 16th, 2010 6:15 am

    Oh yes. Yes indeed. I never ever mention my children’s good health (and never utter the v word outloud) because that is guaranteed to put it to an end. Every. Single. Time.

  14. JennB on March 16th, 2010 6:36 am

    Love it. Thanks for putting it down for the rest of us to activate our “Freebird” app and hold up our iPhones in salute as we all pay homage to you and to parenting in general.

  15. Andrea (@shutterbitch) on March 16th, 2010 6:43 am

    Clueless but Hopeful Mama, you are totally screwed.

    Sundry, we seem to be living parallel lives, except for your general badassery and my decidedly Jabba the Hutt profile. Ahem.

    I took both my kids to the doctor yesterday and they spent the visit running around the exam room which effectively flushed their previously pale and sunken cheeks. They chattered to the nurse practitioner and the doctor about the sucker they were looking forward to receiving. My daughter (a month older than Dylan) showed the doctor her shoes and astounded us all by putting them on herself ON THE RIGHT FEET. As in, they were wrong and she SWITCHED them. I was shocked myself. My son, not to be outdone, decided to show off in his own astonishing ways and the visit was generally awesome. What I would hope every doctor’s visit would be. They were given a prescription to get rid of a nasty upper respiratory infection each, but we were no sooner out the door than my son fell asleep in the car and whined about being moved, touched, fed, watered, and in general bothered once we got home. He went to sleep at 6 pm for the night. His temperature, 97.6 at the doctor, shot up to 101.8. He’s home from school today. My daughter may be following in his footsteps.

    Parenting is such a crapshoot. I hope your kids are feeling better soon. I hope there is no more puke in your future. And I concur with the puke in the tub. It’s gross. So is puke in the bed. That your youngest did in the middle of the night. That you didn’t hear because you forgot to turn on the monitor. So when said child comes in to your room to tell you about it, you just pick her up and put her in bed with you like you have on countless nights. And she pukes in your bed. After that clean up, you finish your sleep for the night a few hours short of the norm, only to then find the dried and fermented pile of vomit in the child’s bed in the morning when you go to get her clothes for the day.

    On second thought, I’ll take the tub puke over the bed puke. Dried bed puke.

  16. Ris on March 16th, 2010 7:17 am

    This is simultaneously hilarious and very unfortunate. I hope everyone feels better soon and that it is many moons before you have to clean up barf again.

  17. Korinna on March 16th, 2010 7:22 am

    Clean chunks are the worst chunks. So, so grody.

  18. Marolyn on March 16th, 2010 9:07 am

    Rinsed Chunks. You so Funny! But lesson learned right?
    When I worked in ICU we NEVER said it was slow/quiet/nice because that was a sure sign that all hell would break loose. Never took a pillow from an empty bed or the bed would soon be occupied, never turned on/off a light above an empty bed for the same reason!!
    AND let me just mention… the Trololololo man… Bahahah ! I think Im going to facebook him!

  19. Katie on March 16th, 2010 9:27 am

    I just told my boss on Thursday that my son hadn’t been sick much this winter and it was some kind of minor miracle. I also knocked on wood the second it came out of my mouth and she admonished me for saying it. Cue Friday afternoon when I get a call from daycare that he’s got a temp of 102… Le sigh. At least his seems to just be some 2-year-molar action.

  20. Trenches of Mommyhood on March 16th, 2010 9:42 am

    You don’t have to tell me twice. It’s apparently going around (from the East to West coast, those dirty germs!) Read my blog today.

  21. Sonia on March 16th, 2010 10:45 am

    My generally happy, sweet natured 9 year old woke up with a WICKED case of The Bitchies this morning. He’s mostly non-verbal, so this is how our *conversation* went…..
    Me – “Good Morniiiing!”
    Him – “AAAEEEIIIIII!!!!! (Orca whales in Puget Sound could then be heard returning his call)
    Me – “Dude? What the hell is that noise about?”
    Him – “AAAAAEEEEEEIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!!” *eye roll*
    Me – “Oh. Okay. In that case?……”
    Him – *stomps out of room, climbs in my bed to watch TV and have his breakfast shake*
    Me – “Time to get dressed……”
    Him – “WAAAAAAAAAA……..!”
    Me – “……for school!!!”
    Him – “AAAAAAAAH!!!!”
    When the school bus got here, the bus driver looked like she had a rabid badger up HER ass, and said “Today, they are NOT tired.”
    LMAO!!! Of course I could laugh at her misery because she was about to free up my day by whisking His Bitchiness away to school.

  22. T on March 16th, 2010 10:53 am

    When asked how my children are doing I find myself telling people I don’t even want to talk about it. Those that are parents get it immediately and those that are not just give me a weird look.

    Oh and don’t ever, I repeat ever, buy bunk beds. The splatter from the top bunk is the worst!

  23. Christine on March 16th, 2010 11:01 am

    I’m sorry, but that was hilarious. These things obviously have to happen to you so that you can regale us so entertainingly later.

  24. telegirl@email.com on March 16th, 2010 11:30 am

    We’ve been sick with colds for almost a month and topped everything off last weekend with a stomach bug of some sort (me and the boy). It was horrible. My request: someone should invent a washing machine that has a garbage disposal in it. I learned the hard way that it just won’t “wash away”.

  25. MRW on March 16th, 2010 11:33 am

    Between a never-ending ear infection by daughter, various respiratory crap with son, and the fucking time change and attendant crabbiness, I’m starting to think that having a rabid badger up my ass would be less unpleasant…

  26. victoria on March 16th, 2010 11:59 am

    When I was a baby, my pediatrician prescribed phenobarbitol for me when I became fractious. NO LIE.

    I cannot of course condone the drinking-and-smoking-while-pregnant-then-using-powerful-sedatives-to-quell-normal-infant-behavior approach that my mother espoused, with the blessing of her obstetricians and pediatricians.

    But I have to admit, she had it easy, compared to you.

  27. Sarah on March 16th, 2010 1:17 pm

    This is funny. I’ve been wanting to post about how amazed I am by my 2.5 month old’s sleep habits, but have not done so for fear of RUINING EVERYTHING. Not that his sleep habits are good, no, no, nothing to see here, they’re just average. Ahem. I fear the day he comes down with his first co—never mind, I can’t even type that.

  28. Jess on March 16th, 2010 2:20 pm


    My 2 year old is POSSESSED, good to hear Im not alone

  29. amanda on March 16th, 2010 5:19 pm

    Yeah. I had the same experience this week. “Oh, we haven’t been to the doctor in a LOOONG TIME” – and on Friday night, the most terrifying case of croup EVER.

  30. Kami on March 16th, 2010 5:20 pm

    “All in all, he was PERFECTLY FINE, other than being kind of a raging ASSHOLE.” That’s my kinda kid. I mean literally that is my kind of kid. Like the kind I seem to birth. Great post!

  31. Danell on March 16th, 2010 7:10 pm

    Tub Puke is just about the most disgusting thing EVER. As soon as the puke hits the water…the puke MOLECULES, they are disseminated into the ENTIRE TUB and then the child/children submerged in the giant cauldron of Puke Soup must be immediately evacuated and somehow scrubbed clean of the Puke Soup Residue. Which usually involves cramming a feverish child into the SINK and scrubbing them with a WASHCLOTH and then there is still the ENTIRE TUB to clean out…and yes, the CHUNKS, the RINSED CHUNKS which DO NOT FIT DOWN THE DRAIN no matter how much you would LIKE them to…

  32. Sonia on March 16th, 2010 10:23 pm

    OMG! I’m laughing so hard I’m CRYING Danell!!!!! *snort* ‘Giant cauldron of puke soup’, EXACTLY.

  33. Deanan on March 17th, 2010 7:10 am

    You gonna put a link on the sidebar with your new writing gig? Loved the article, btw! Thumbs up!!

  34. 夜光粉 on March 17th, 2010 8:28 am





  35. Steph on March 17th, 2010 5:56 pm

    Yeah, I feeeeeeel ya on this one. Just two weeks ago, I was remarking to my mom how fabulous I thought it was that my 9 month old had NEVER had to be on antibiotics as of yet despite going to the germ farm (daycare) since he was 4 months old and had had zero ear infections. I, of course, attributed it all to stupendous parenting (ha!).

    Three days later he gets diagnosed with double ear infections and we get our first round of antibiotics. TWO DAYS BEFORE he finishes those antibiotics he spikes a fever of 103.4, we get sent home with the “it’s a virus” diagnosis and at our already scheduled well child (HAHAHAHAHA) visit less than 48 hours later, his temperature was 104.8. A chest xray, finger stick, blood draw from the foot and CATHETER later we get a diagnosis of pneumonia. PNEUMONIA. Never again will I remark upon his excellent health. Ever. Evereverevereverever again.

    I can commiserate with your sucky weekend (except you had double trouble, I just had the one sickly munchkin). Hope your house is feeling better…

  36. Casey on March 17th, 2010 7:56 pm

    I’m feeling your hell right now at my place and it was totally brought on by a jinx too. We talked about what a great sleeper my daughter is and BOOM, up all night ever since. Barrage of sicknesses brought on by one simple comment on how lucky we were that the stomach flu our friends had skipped over our kids. Screwed, I tell you.

    I hope your boys feel better soon and you can get on to business as usual.

  37. Amy on March 18th, 2010 2:00 pm

    Too funny…I had that same reaction last night! We are in hell week right now with the craziest schedule between work and the boys two different schedules. In the midst of all the craziness I made time to throw some corned beef in the crock pot and have the whole family over for my mom’s birthday. The conversation turned to my crazy schedule this week and my mom pops off with, “I am so amazed that none of you are sick right now.” I felt the vortex you speak of!!! I knocked the wood, crossed myself, threw salt, spit…whatever I could think of. Now I just wait and continue on the crazy ride of my life. Glad D is back up and driving you crazy!!

  38. kristylynne on March 18th, 2010 2:20 pm

    Damn you, Sundry, for I think that simply reading this post caused me to be sucked into the vortex with you. I was cleaning puke out of our VERY EXPENSIVE leather Crate and Barrel recliner yesterday, and off the upstairs carpet at 2 a.m. today. So yeah, thanks a lot.

    And I hope that all has returned to a nice, puke-free normal in your household. :-)

  39. Jen on March 18th, 2010 4:06 pm

    your post was hilarious!!! I’ve had a bout of vomiting from my daughter recently, and just when my husband says “well, we made it through that meal without a barf” ….. she barfs! such hard lessons learned!

  40. Karl on March 18th, 2010 5:15 pm

    I read the first sentence, and automatically jumped up out of my chair and shouted “No! I forgot! She puked in my cereal just yesterday! Really! It hasn’t been months! I never said that!”

    But it was too late.

    And then I remembered that they are all growed up and out of the house anyway. Some things just have you by the heartstrings and you are stuck with it. I started to write “What ever possessed you …” but never mind, we’ve all made mistakes. :-)

  41. M.Bailey on March 18th, 2010 7:47 pm

    One day you’ll remember these days – and … laugh? no? Well then, at least better days are ahead ;) (and at least there was no floating brown things in the tub along with the puke – now that’s a good time)

  42. Jennifer (Conversion Diary) on March 18th, 2010 8:05 pm

    Oh, no!! I am so sorry. We just got through with stomach bug hell here.

    I recently learned a similar rule of parenting, which is: never, ever, EVER laugh at another parent’s puke- or poop-related misfortune, lest ye bring down the ire of the poop fates: http://bit.ly/1JFNH

  43. Erin (Snarke) on March 18th, 2010 11:18 pm

    Jinxes abound! I have nothing to offer on the vomiticiousness of this post but I can assure you that Murphy has been having a giant roaring laugh at our expense as well lately.

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