When our kids were little

20 May

Cheryl has never been a morning person, but she has always been a sound sleeper. I’ve always been a very light sleeper.

We were both sound sleep when Tyler crawled into bed with us. “Mommy, I can’t sleep.”

“Hmmpf” was all he could get out of Cheryl.

“And my throat hurts,” he whined.

“Hmmpf, stoobad, honey.”

“My tummy hurts.”

“Ooh, mmpf, snort, asoooobad.”

“And I feel like I’m gonna throw up.”

Suddenly I wasn’t sleeping with my wife; I was in bed with a human dynamo. I wasn’t even in bed. As soon as the magic phrase, “throw up,” was uttered, I was tossed into the air and half out of bed. My nose was buried in the carpet, my legs were in the bed, and a little baboon with bony heels was using my body as a bridge.The dynamo pursued him, shouting, “Not in my bed, you don’t”.

The three of us formed a procession headed toward the bathroom. Tyler was in the lead, holding his mouth and churning his little knees like a cartoon character taking off. Cheryl was right behind him, making sure he didn’t stop and trying to boost him along a little faster. I followed, mostly out of curiosity. I wanted to check in the mirror to see if my face had any permanent baboon prints on it.

The parade came to a halt at the bathroom door. Ariana, about 3 years old, stood in the doorway, blocking it.
“Mommy, Tyler’s sick,” she announced. “I think he’s gonna frow up. Yup, he’s gonna frow up.”

At any other time, say had there been a plate of cookies behind her, Tyler would have straight armed his little sister and dashed past her. Tonight, he ran in place with his hands over his mouth and made gurgling sounds.

Ariana held her ground. “Oh look, he did frow up. He frew up allll over the carpet. Will you hafta clean the carpet, Mommy? Did you know Tyler’s sick, Daddy? Will he stop frow’in up soon? Oh look, there’s more.”
Cheryl picked Ariana up and moved her aside so Tyler, now a little geyser of undigested dinner, could move to the toilet. Ariana stayed at the edge of the sour pool that marked Tyler’s progress from the bedroom door to the toilet and continued her play-by-play from that vantage point.

Ariana wasn’t hustled off to bed until she started critiquing the cleaning, pointing out areas Cheryl had missed and spots that needed more work. I was going to thank her for her advice, but the look in Cheryl’s eyes warned me that this wasn’t a time for humor. Fortunately for Ariana, she was at that wonderful age when she was old enough to describe what she saw but too young to help and too innocent for anyone to question her motives. I was not at that golden age, and for once kept my mouth shut and stayed out of trouble.

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