With an only (or an oldest) child, the first few years are a barrage of “firsts”, which is both exciting and exhausting at the same time. First solid food? Fun. First immunizations? Stressful. First fever? Horrifying.
Last night marked the beginning of The Who’s first stomach bug (and I am really hoping that tonight marks the end of it.) But, despite how much experience I’ve had caring for children, some things still catch me off-guard. Puking is one of them. It’s not that I’m particularly grossed out by it or that I am afraid it’s a symptom of something worse, but it just sort of — halts me. Yesterday, when The Who chucked it up all over m* as she lifted him from his crib, I walked down the hall, back to his bedroom, back down the hall, and back down to his bedroom before saying, meekly, “I don’t know what to do.” M* told me to get some towels and a bucket and then I was able to snap back into action as the competent adult that I am.
And then when it came time to decide whether to send him to daycare this morning or not, I felt a similar sense of complete befuddlement. Instinct, instinct, I reminded myself. Trust your instinct. And so I looked at him and he was happily drinking his cocoa and playing and chatting and I thought — well, ok. Clearly he’s ok. But then — he wasn’t and so, in the end, we kept him home. (And I’m keeping him home tomorrow, too, for the record because although it seems the gastro distress is over, he was still a warm, droopy rag at bedtime tonight.)
Sometimes this parenting thing feels like a piece of cake. Most of the time, actually. Sure, it’s exhausting and frustrating, but it doesn’t feel actually hard for the most part. We make it through most days without much actual strife. But some of these firsts really throw me for a loop.