The sound of Ariel’s singing soars boldly out of our living room television. Her voice is angelic and I can see why Sophie is constantly attempting to mimic those sweet lyrical sounds.
Not today, however. Today, she is lying lethargically on the couch and just listening to her beloved undersea princess.
My darling daughter is sick and it makes me sad. This particular bug has been a bit stubborn — it is sticking around with persistence. One day, she will be feeling OK; the next, however, she is down for the count. We are having a down day.
It is quite the undertaking to have a sick child. Especially when juggling extracurricular activities, play dates and other various motherly duties. Talk about no rest for the weary. It doesn’t help that I’ve also completely and utterly fell out of the routine of having sick kids around. The children and I managed to endure the entire winter without so much as a runny nose — well, perhaps a few sniffles, but overall it was a pretty bug-free season for the Browns.
So now, with this last week of high fevers and restless nights, I am feeling a tad overwhelmed.
As you may remember, Jamie has recently installed new floors in our living room and like any obsessive compulsive mother, I’ve been a bit over protective of them. We have yet to purchase an area rug for the space so I’ve been going as far as making the kids lay down a blanket to play with their toys on so as not to scratch my new flooring.
I’m sure this anal retentive behaviour will wear off eventually, but that day is not today. Nor was it the day we first discovered Soph may be coming down with something.
I am in the kitchen making dinner when I hear a gut wrenching sound. It’s like one of those sounds you know you’ve heard before but cannot quite put your finger on.
Lars decides to assist in refreshing my memory when he begins squealing in a high pitched voice, “OH MY GOD SOPHIE IS PUKING ALL OVER MOM’S FLOOR!” (You see this is how much I’ve drilled the importance of the floor into my poor children’s heads.)
I make my way towards the sound to assess the damage and find a sad, sad story waiting for me. There is Sophie attempting to cup the vomit in her tiny hands in fear I will get angry (once again) about, you guessed it, the floor. Crocodile tears stream down her face. Meanwhile, a myriad of half digested lunch is strewn across the medium dark laminate and half of my striped loveseat.
I push down the panic that is quickly rising from the pit of my stomach. “It’s just a floor, it’s just a floor.” This is the aphorism I am repeating to myself over and over again. Because really, it is just a floor.
I grab Sophie and carry her to the bathroom where I run a bath, all the while thinking about the tiny cracks between the floorboards that will harbour miniscule pieces of puke until the end of days. I make sure she is feeling OK and relaxing nicely in the bath before going back into the danger zone.
Upon arrival, I remember how long it actually has been since I’ve cleaned up this particular bodily excrete as I begin gagging violently. I end up holding my breath to remove the entirety of it from the floor and couch. The cushions were due for a wash anyway, I tell myself.
I debate using a toothpick to dig out any remnants that may have got caught between those blasted cracks but feel that attempt number one has done a sufficient job … that is, until the thought of stewing morsels of miniature muck begin to eat away at me so badly that I am forced to go back in with a small pointed object.
Thankfully, that day has yet to come.
That night as I sat on a cushion-less couch and drank a glass of wine, I revelled in the unpredictability of kids.
For years, we told ourselves we wouldn’t do the upgrades to our home until the kids were older and more responsible. Now that they are and we’ve begun our journey in home renovations, I’ve realized that regardless of how old they get, accidents will always happen.
A house is meant to get messed. A floor is a floor. And what I know for sure is that the continued happiness and growth of my family will be the most worthwhile improvement my home ever receives.
Lindsay Brown is a Sylvan Lake mother of two and freelance columnist.