“Just when I thought I was out . . . they pull me back in” - Al Pacino, The Godfather: Part III.
After she’d finished eating her mid-morning snack yesterday, I took Daughter Number Two to the grocery store. Between coughs, she laughed and giggled in her car seat, and all was well.
I pulled her out of the seat, plunked her in the yellow shopping cart, and we made our way up and down the aisles.
I’d just about finished, our cart was full of another week’s worth of survival supplies, and Daughter Number Two started hacking rather violently.
She leaned over the protective bar on the front of the cart and promptly threw up on the floor in the middle of the frozen food section.
Standing there – freezer door open, box of burgers in hand, half-twisting to check on her just in time to see her heave – I considered myself lucky she hadn’t turned the other way. That would’ve been an expensive, disgusting development.
It could have been worse.
But it wasn’t very good.
I tore open the box of facial tissues I was about to buy, stuffed the UPC coded lid in my pocket, and wiped her off as well as I could. Fellow parents offered support and encouragement:
I remember those days.
Oh, poor little thing.
I’ll go get someone to clean that up.
Teenage shoppers from the university just down the road – busily stockpiling on-sale frozen pizzas – watched in horror and immediately evacuated. I imagine they were in a hurry to get to the family planning section to also stockpile expensive name brand birth control products.
I stood in line to pay – surprisingly nobody lined up behind us – then packed everything into the trunk, and tucked her back into her car seat with a canvas grocery bag blanket wrapped around her. Somehow I convinced myself this would form a protective barrier should she decide to hold a repeat performance on the way home.
Luckily, she didn’t.
I got her in the house, fastened her in the high chair, and assembled a rather carefully considered lunch for her. She ate it all. Everything stayed in, and I made her drink a lot of water. She went down for her nap with no fuss, and slept quietly for its duration.
I put the groceries away and considered the morning’s events over and done with. She coughed, she’s little, she couldn’t take it. Isolated incident. End of story.
As the afternoon went on, she seemed okay, but when evening came, she got worse quickly. Dinner didn’t stay down. Grandma was immediately called in for backup. She arrived quickly, as usual.
There was more unpleasantness just before bedtime, and several coughing episodes throughout the night. My wife and I took turns trying to lull her to sleep with little to no effect.
Staring at the ceiling, merely a few days after my last nearly sleep-free night, the famous scene from the Godfather popped into my head.
Last Sunday, I was in the precisely the same position. And I arrived at work this morning with as much energy and feigned enthusiasm as I had last Monday.