Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A day in the life: puke & possum

WARNING: If you are getting ready to eat, wait. If you are a community puker, be prepared because this is all about PUKE!
As soon as they give birth to their first children, most moms are baptized into the religion of bodily fluids, smells and other gross things humans do.
This isn’t a personal choice. It’s not something anybody wants or enjoys. It’s just a fact of life. A fact moms cannot avoid.
We moms spend the next 18 years of a child’s life learning to cope with these unpleasant things the little (and then bigger) creatures do.
One thing I’ve come to accept as a mom of four children is that my “new” role means I’m gonna clean up A LOT of puke!
Gone are the days when I can use the excuse, “Sorry, I’m a community puker.”
All kids want is Mom when they are sick. And when one is sick at my house, more times than not, everybody gets sick.
So, I’ve had to learn a few tricks to stay afloat when the puke flood hits the farm.
First off (and possibly the most important tip), I rarely (if ever) breathe through my nose — sickness or not. To me, it’s just a common sense part of motherhood and is absolutely essential if you want to make it out of a pukefest alive (or at least with your lunch).
When the first short person erupts, I go into survival mode. I make sure I keep all the laundry and dishes cleaned up. Lysol cans are strategically placed. Puke buckets (each puker gets his or her own) and bleach are lined up ready to go into battle. Gatorade and saltines stocked.
Bring on the sickness! Mom is ready (or not).
During one bout with the pukes, Matt had one kid in the bathroom getting sick. I had the other three sitting on the bottom of the stairs (waiting for the bathroom) passing the bucket among them. The flu is a good time to practice sharing!
Life with four kids sure can be fun. Especially during sickness.
Each child of mine has a very distinct personality. How they get sick is no different.
Kadence (the tallest) reminds me of a scene from “The Exorcist.” There’s screaming and flailing and a giant mess.
Rylan (the second tallest) is my best puker — by FAR. Just send him upstairs with a bucket and he’ll re-emerge periodically for a fresh one.
Bella and Masen (my babies) are both pretty easy-going when it comes to sickness. The first time Mae Mae had the flu, he puked all night. Never woke up once.
Bella doesn’t seem to mind getting sick, and she gives plenty of warning.
One thing I had never experienced was having the stomach flu, taking care of another sick child and then being in charge of three healthy other young children all at the same time.
I can say with absolute certainty, there’s not much worse.
This was the exact situation I found myself in a few Mondays ago. I took up residence on the couch while the other three (one was sick with me) ran wild. I only got up to clean up the other child’s sickness, and by the end of the day, the house looked like it.
One of my trips to clean out a bucket at the outside spigot brought me too close for comfort with an opossum.
Was I hallucinating? Nope, Patrick Star (resident feline) saw the slithering rodent, too.
And, of course, the durn chicken house was all open still. Do ’possums eat chicken? I didn’t know. (I know now they don’t.)
So, I made a call to my dad to warn him that if I’m not heard from again to put in my obituary: “death by ’possum.”
He laughed. I was serious.
I made my way through the night armed with a shovel to close up the poor, vulnerable chickens. Right as I entered the coop there was a rustle in the shadows.
My heart stopped as I prepared to defend myself in my puke-weakened state.
“Deep breaths, Ginia,” I consoled myself.
And then the shadowed attacker meowed.
I closed up the birds and retreated back to the house a survivor, in more ways the one.


  1. what IS it with your side of the family and possum?!! bahahaha!!

    i assume it's NOT a sin for me to be laughing hysterically at this, or you wouldn't have shared it. [at least that's the speech i've got typed and ready to hand to Paul at the pearly gate!]!!

    oh...just a few suggestions to add to your 'list of tips':

    1. dab a bit of vicks under your nose at 'first puke'; then breathe threw your nose! [the thot of an 'open mouth' w/all that projectile puking about did me in!!]!

    2. don't forget you COULD ask for help when you've got the FLU!!!

    3. use that shovel on "whoever" left the chicken house open [uhhhh, say hubby?], and didn't get out in the middle of the night when you had the flu to lock 'er up!! [or, if you left it unlocked...use it on him anyway...he'll do SOMETHING at SOME POINT]!!

  2. Funny stuff! That being sick taking care of other sick-os is rough.
    For future reference, 'possums do tear into chickens. We had one harrass ours up on their roosts one night. They all went into a full-on molt the next day!

  3. You are ALWAYS allowed to laugh with me! I think we are o'possum cursed! What did Grandpa Don do to bring this all on (one of my questions for the gate-keeper)????
    In Matt's defense, he worked until midnight that night and since it was a Monday, both of my parents were swamped. Dad did bring the kids supper. I kept reminding myself that if I lived in the "olden" days this would have been expected of me to survive. Kind of (only kind of) helped me.
    Michelle - Good to know about the chickens and possums!