Keeping Our Priorities Straight

I woke up to J hacking up a storm in the middle of the night.  Strange how I’m excellent at ignoring lawn mowers and chatter and random noise every morning, but sickness and distress get me up and at ’em lickety-split.  J was hot and miserable, and I was just asking her to catalog her symptoms when she dramatically symptomed all over her bed. Awesome-sauce. Just so we’re clear, this is sarcasm: the sauce was not awesome.

My kids are not big pukers (knock on wood), but it’s funny how timing can be. For this little episode, I gritted my teeth, thinking about how she’d spent the entire evening at a friend’s house, no doubt spreading infection hither and yon, and the morning hours ahead were packed with a busier-than-usual agenda. In fact, I was mentally assessing and dismissing agenda items even as I bundled up the fitted sheet. By this time Cute W had called out weakly, did we need help? That would be great, I called, as I scooped up sheets and J blearily wiped her mouth while clutching the plastic trash can I’d handed her.

Cute W’s correct speed should have been immediately, but although he sparks to life with the sun’s first rays or an errant floor board squeak, utter chaos rouses him more slowly. He stumbled into the hallway, blinked in the bright light and pawed ineffectually at the linen closet in a futile manner while I fumed. Which was ridiculous, because I was just being almost as incompetent as him, and I had a good four minutes of wakefulness on him.

When it comes to these episodes, the priorities should always be 1. the kid, 2. the stuff that’s hard to clean, and then 3. the stuff that’s easy to clean. I’d already blown off J to save the mattress (prioritizing #2 over #1) and Cute W started to get working on the laundry load (prioritizing #3). This was not a surprise, really: Cute W’s favorite thing to do in a crisis is to start a load of laundry.

But of course, we both had our priorities all out of whack, which means that the Barf Gods had to punish it. That’s right, our little #1 priority had sensed our inattention and set aside the waste can just long enough to barf all over her shaggy area rug.  Ah, well.

J was soothed, the room was tidied, and by the time it was done I was wide awake. I ended up pulling out a book, and then I read for far  too long, but since my busy agenda had been wiped clean, it didn’t really matter.

We weren’t up for much, but I tried to make the time useful. We’d all been meaning to tidy up Madison-the-Fish’s tank, and cleaning the pebbles and accessories and arranging them just so was a perfect job for J:


It was such a beautiful day that I decided to do my best  impression of a late 19th-century tuberculosis cure with an open-air lounging spot for the invalid to convalesce.


Eventually the day degenerated into way too much tv. But it was a good effort. She’s doing a bit better now, but we’ll see what the night brings.

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