“Daddy, I had to puke in the night,” he told me.
Of course, my first feeling was one of concern; Mommy gets a tad bit grouchy when she has to add an extra sheet-washing to the schedule, and I have to live with her.
The boy was lying on the couch, watching cartoons instead of getting dressed. We had already determined that he was too ill for school. I knew he had a belly ache and a little fever, but I didn’t know about the puking.
Mommy didn’t know about it either. We didn’t know because there was no sign of vomit in his bedroom, which meant that he had made it to the toilet. That’s not so amazing; he’s a practiced puker who’s been well-schooled on the drill of running to the bowl.
What is amazing is that he did it without waking anybody up. This boy, who bellows about every little scratch and had already made sure I knew all about his upset tummy and aching head with repeated updates before 8 a.m., had gone about his puking quietly and climbed back into bed without anyone knowing about his midnight troubles.
We would not have been upset if he’d woken us for so worthy a reason, and maybe he should have, but there’s part of me is proud of him for being stoic about his business and not making a big deal of it.
This is a kid who will get out of bed and call for help on the flimsiest of pretexts. Aside from the normal crises of illness, bad dreams, and dire thirst, this child has risen from his bed to complain about the following list of late night circumstances:
- His nightlight was in the wrong outlet.
- His blanket was upside down.
- His blanket was wrong side up.
- His sheets were kicked all the way to the bottom of the bed and he couldn’t find them under the blankets.
- He needed a fingernail trimmed.
- He needed a BAND-AID for an infinitesimal, bloodless scratch.
- He had needed to examine his scratch by the glow of his nightlight and couldn’t get the BAND-AID to stick anymore; hence he needed a new one.
- His nose itched.
- He was too hot, sleeping under three blankets and a comforter.
- He wanted his radio on.
- He wanted his radio off.
- What he really wanted was a kids’ BAND-AID. One with Spiderman on it, which we don’t have.
After all of these dubious disturbances to our nighttime peace, this boy gets up in the middle of the night, goes to the toilet, pukes, cleans himself up, and goes back to bed without so much as a Guess what I just did.
Remarkable? Responsible? Grown-up? Maybe, but once he’s feeling himself again, I have no doubt he’ll burst forth from his room at night to alert us all to the emergency situation caused by his incorrect arrangement of dirty clothes in his hamper or about how his hair hurts.