Note to Self: When your kid tells you his stomach hurts first thing in the morning, you shouldn't dismiss it as merely hunger.
Yesterday, during morning rush hour, I did just that. I didn't matter that Mrs. LIAYF and I had just fed Lukas a small bowl of Greek yogurt and a pancake, he seemed like he was doing fine so I dismissed his claim. I figured he was just misinterpreting his body. I told him that it was okay, and that he was probably still hungry. I then proceeded to hand him a granola bar over my shoulder while driving. He didn't take it, but just whimpered a bit.
Then I looked back, and saw that he was covered in vomit. COVERED. Copious amounts of it flowed down his coat, onto his pants, the car seat, and sadly also the prized Star Wars book he was reading.
We were 4 blocks from his school. I was already late for work. I had no change of clothes for him. I didn't even have anything on hand to wipe him down with. How FRUSTRATING was this?
Not very frustrating at all, actually.
I could have easily let events like this get the better of me, and I had a lot of people express sympathy about the morning I had after the fact, but there's something about seeing your child in such a vulnerable position which instantly alters your mindset as a parent. In this case, here was my 4-year-old son, looking at himself with a look of utter disappointment and defeat on his face, with his lap full of the previous contents of his stomach. I felt so bad for him. Me? I was fine.
I took a small breath, looked at him, and without hesitation said "It's going to be okay Buddy." before pulling the car to the side of the busy road. Once there I carefully unstrapped his seat harness and lifted my dripping boy out and set his feet down on the wet pavement. Like I said, there wasn't anything to wipe him down with in the car, so while assuring him it was an idea worthy of a superhero, I removed the cape he put on before leaving the house and used it to scrape and rub him down.
He seemed to calm down, and save for having to get back into the still wet and sticky car seat, he didn't protest too much. The great thing was, he trusted that I would take care of him. And I did, which felt good.
I called work to let them know I would be late, then I called Mrs. LIAYF and let her know that we were on our way home. Working from home, she had an extremely full schedule that day but once we arrived home, a bath and clean clothes were the first order of business. She took care of this while I scrubbed down the seat and washed the cover, his clothes, and also his cape.
The whole episode was of those moments where I felt like a pretty competent parent. I was able to make him feel both better and loved, under difficult circumstances.
And as I was about to finally leave for work Lukas turned to me and said "I'm sick, so I get to watch videos all day right?"
"I think that would be okay" I responded, running my hand through his hair. "I have to go to work now, but Mommy will take good care of you".
And with that I was off to work, where a lot of people, hearing why I was late, were about to express sympathy for the morning that I had had.