|Mikias minutes after his first stomach bug (and a fresh change of clothes).|
"What is to throw up?"
"Sometimes if you get sick, food, drinks and other liquid in your stomach, come out of your mouth in a big gush."
He looked at me funny. He kind of laughed and said, "No, really, what is to throw up?"
Apparently, my explanation sounded so ridiculous, that he thought I was joking. Since Mikias came home, he rarely has gotten sick. When he does have a cough or sniffle, he is over it in hours. He had never vomited but had heard about it at school.
This past December, we were driving to a holiday party. Mikias told me that his stomach hurt. He had only eaten a banana, so I thought he might be hungry. We were passing a Dunkin Donuts, so I got him a plain donut. He felt better for about 10 minutes and then I heard what I had never heard from him before. Vomiting. He threw up. All over himself and his seat.
He said, "So, that what it's like to throw up!"
Meanwhile in the seat next to him, Jemberu was gagging (in true Noyce fashion-we are a family of gaggers) and demanding an explanation. "What is WRONG with Mikias? (gag) Is he going to be okay!? (more gagging) What is coming out of him!?"
I told him, "It's vomit. Mikias is vomiting. You know, throwing up?" It dawned on me, that the day Jemberu came home from school in first grade because he "threw up" on the playground was now in question. He had clearly never done this himself.
"Is is VOMIT or BOMB IT?" Jemberu demanded "It sounded like you said VOMIT but I think it probably is called BOMB IT! Look at him! He is a mess! It looks like he has been bombed!"
Mikias was saying, "Why are you talking with Jemby! I need a little help here. I have never done this before. I don't know what to do next!"
"How's your belly feeling, Miki?"
"Totally fine! Can we go to the party?"
That was the entire duration of Mikias's stomach bug. Not too bad.
I was amazed by how well he handled it. I have always been a real baby about throwing up. As a girl, when I threw up, I would sob afterwards. It was just so traumatic! I would fall into my mother's arms in a blubbering heap. She would rub my back and tell me that the worst was over.
As an adult , I have always been just as pathetic as I was as a kid. On the rare times I vomited, I would still cry afterward. Then I would call my mother. She would always give me what I needed, lots of sympathy and the usual comforting advice, to sip ginger ale and take it easy. It didn't matter that I was a nurse. If she didn't tell me what to do, I would feel lost. She knew that no one hated to throw up the way I did.
It has been almost five years since my mother died. For the first time since she has been gone, I threw up today. I woke up with a horrible stomach bug. A weird thing happened. I didn't cry. At 48, I handled being sick without falling apart. I took it easy, I sipped ginger ale. I'm kind of proud of myself.
Maybe I wasn't such a baby after all. I suppose, I just liked having a reason to have my mother comfort me. It doesn't matter how grown up we are, or how capable. It feels good to be mothered. So, I did end up crying a little today, but not because I threw up.