The encore nobody asked for

When I was in 2nd grade, I puked so hard one day it left me traumatized about going back to school for a week. Though I was physically recovered, every time I tried to go to school my imagination insisted I would puke again the moment I entered the building. Eventually, dear old Jack, our bus driver, had to carry me over his shoulder into my classroom. I kicked and screamed, but I didn’t puke. Thus ended my nearest flirtation with dropping out of school.

I think the reason I was so affected by this puking incident was that it happened in the lunch line, which was about as embarrassing as a public vomit could be. At least I think it was in the lunch line. Memories get faded over the decades, but I know somebody puked in the lunch line. Maybe it was me; maybe it was another kid; it could have been that I, and one or more other kids, puked in the lunch line. Somebody did. When you must step around a chunky puddle to get to your egg salad sandwich, it sticks with you.

A doctor and nurse are a start, I suppose, but for the sake of the child I sure hope the guy in the back is a sturdy bus driver.

It’s been too long since we talked about vomit, hasn’t it? That’s my fault and I beg your pardon. What brings me back around to these thoughts is my 2nd grader’s recent bout with the gut bug. Big Man is much more composed about puking than I was, but to be fair, he had the advantage of puking in the privacy of his own home.

Even so, he’s remarkably composed about the upheaval. He dutifully pukes in his mop bucket, then asks for a washcloth in the same calm tone that he might ask, “Can I have an ice cream sandwich?” on a hot summer day. Between the tempests, he is apt to give a self-diagnosis of his medical situation: “I think it’s my waist that’s causing me to puke.” Close enough, in my book.

One strange phenomenon I have noticed in him, and his brother, is this: they have the pukes, get better, run around like normal for a day or more, then have one good final puke after the parents have let their guards down and put the bucket away.

I don’t know how common this is. I only found one mention of such a thing online. It was referred to as an encore vomit. I don’t know that we’ve ever cheered loudly enough over puke to make anyone think we wanted more of it, but there it is. The kids think they are back to normal, but their little tummies aren’t really, and there is some miscommunication about how much food can be tolerated. Hence the curtain call.

Maybe I wouldn’t have been so worried about puking again in school if it had been presented to me as an encore performance. That might have made it seem less humiliating. Of course, the cafeteria egg salad wasn’t exactly tempting me back either.


14 comments on “The encore nobody asked for

  1. Olivia says:

    Thank you for sharing!

  2. Linda Storoz says:

    Brings back memories of my 6’2″ son hurling from a standing position beside his bed through the doorway (mostly) into the hallway. Poor kid then moved to the bathroom where between “encores” he kept trying to apologize whilst I, gagging the whole time, sought bedding to temporarily cover the crime scene. Good times.

  3. churchmousie says:

    My kids never did the encore puke, but I am glad to know about it now that I have a grandson going into 2nd grade next fall.

  4. Tom W says:

    Were you suffering from a hangover in the lunch line? Egg salad and last night scotch-not a good combination.

  5. Never heard of that syndrome before.
    I’m glad I ate before I read this.

  6. CrankyPants says:

    Puking is my worst nightmare. Sorry you boy was sick. Sorry you had to deal with puke. I hope next time you get sick, you can puke at home.

  7. Just Joan says:

    Encore vomit, huh? If we felt like we might vomit, my mom covered our bedroom carpet with a dropcloth that came to be known as “the puke plastic” and set up a pink plastic wastebasket between the beds, just in case. My aunt made her kids carry around a big pot from the kitchen, the kind you use to cook spaghetti for a family of 8. It grossed me out to think about them using that pot to cook things, even though it was thoroughly scrubbed after any vomit incident.

    • My kids are always surprised to find themselves vomiting, sometimes right out of a deep sleep. There’s no time for drop cloths. We use the mop bucket. It was a little bit gross before they puked in it, so no big deal afterwards.

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