homeward with heaven above me, old road behind me, a door up ahead

If you've ever wondered what it would be like for your child to projectile vomit all over the grocery store bakery, allow me to tell you how the worst moment in, oh, my parenting career so far went. Ethan was fine. He was great. Monday mornings are our grocery shopping days, a routine we've created happily after compromising on a mandatory park visit beforehand and a cookie and a balloon once we get to the grocery store. It works. I pushed the cart into the bakery area in the center of the store to get Ethan his free cookie and then it happened. Everywhere. And then it kept happening. He was screaming, I was crying and trying to cup my hands around the vomit pouring all over the place, filling up the cart and splattering across the bakery floor. Just about every shopper within eyesight tore off running in other directions while giving me some fearful look of death in the process. Eventually a male manager came over with a roll of paper towels that he handed to me and walked away swiftly while I stood there trying to figure out where to begin: the floor? The bakery display? My child who was still screaming at the top of his lungs? The shopping cart which was filled with puke? It was horrible. Eventually another female manager came over and assured me it was okay, we all had children, it happens, the main priority is getting Ethan cleaned up and comfortable and to make sure he was okay. I don't think I uttered anything other than "I'm so sorry" in between sobs but she just kept insisting it was okay, to take him home and get him cleaned up and leave the mess for her. Leave the mess for her. In case I needed another knife through my heart. I insisted I would mop it all up but she wouldn't even hear it, probably because my kid was still shrieking and drawing attention to the whole messy debacle. Eventually I grabbed Ethan, stripped him of everything but a diaper, and ran out of the store with us both sobbing.

And then, you know, I made mental plans to find a new grocery store because I am in no way ever stepping foot into that one, our usual one, again. Ever.

We got home, had a bath and he continued to seem fine. He begged for food, he begged for water, and then promptly puked up his water and Saltines. The puke kept on coming but no other symptoms followed suit. No fever, no change in personality, no loss of appetite or desire to run and play. He slept just fine except for waking up to ask for water -- which he kept down all night -- and woke up this morning completely fine. Again.

At this point, I'm not convinced he has a stomach bug and it wasn't just something he ate, since we did go out to eat on Sunday. Or it could be some mild strain of a stomach bug that has hopefully run it's course since today he's easily kept down his homemade Gatorade and Pedialyte popsicles, water and Saltines. Either way, I've been chugging a ton of grape juice in hopes that it actually works to keep the stomach bug at bay. Not that there is ever a good time for the stomach bug to hit, but this has got to be the worst time. For months, Ethan has been counting down the days for my aunt to visit from Pennsylvania. The two of them have been Facetime chatting and bonding in preparation for this epic day that Ethan has been waiting for since she last came to visit around the time he turned two. That day, of course, was today and instead of picking up my aunt with my mom as planned, we're spending it muttering prayers of Please Don't Vomit.

But -- deep breaths -- silver lining, right? I've been stressed to the core thinking about how close Ethan is to reaching the rear facing weight limit of his Radian and, well, he just bought us some time. (Kidding! Sort of.)


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