Oct 252012

Imagine it…that blissful first morning when BOTH of your kids are in school.  The elation, the freedom, the…sick kid vomiting all over your carefully laid plans??  This happened to my sweet friend Kari, and I’m honored she is sharing her story here today.  She truly has a gift with words.  I always look forward to what Kari has to say, and to read more of what she writes, head on over to her very classy blog, Once Upon a House.  There she shares stories about home renovation projects, her family and as well as some crafts, decor ideas and recipes.  It’s a really neat place to check in for some inspiration for your own house and home.  

Join me now in welcoming her here and enjoy this true tale of how the first day of school didn’t go exactly as planned.  You will laugh, you will relate, and in the end, you will rejoice with Jake that he already scored such a huge accomplishment so early into the school year.  Go Jake, and go Mommy for handling it all with such grace!

Step aside sickness, the grocery shopping is HAPPENING

It was my first official morning off as a mother of a 1st grader and preschooler. Two kids in school with no one to attend to but myself (this only happens for a few hours one morning a week, and I’ll gladly take it).

And on this morning, I’d already booked my “time off” to the brim. Drop one kid off at the bus stop, the next off at preschool, quick jaunt to the grocery, squeeze in some allergy shots, then off to coffee and scrumptious scones with a friend. With kids dressed, lunches made, book bags at the ready, and even a shower and make-up for mama, we were ready to roll, with even a few minutes to spare. “Let’s get this day under way!” I inwardly cheered as I rushed down the stairs and headed for the door.

And then, just like that, I was stopped in my tracks with one little sentence: “Mom, I don’t feel well.” It was Jake. “Oh no, not this morning,” I thought. He’d been coughing, and a bit congested, but colds are pretty run of the mill this time of year. Really, a few sniffles are no reason to stay home from school. He’d watched cartoons, eaten breakfast, played Wii, and this was the first complaint I’d heard all morning. Right when we were ready to leave for school.

I tried to brush off his comment. “I’m sure he’s fine,” I thought. “He just doesn’t want to go to school.” But he persisted and the words of his principle from Parent Night rang in my ears, “If your child isn’t feeling well, please keep him or her home from school.” And Jake had never resisted going to school before. “But this is my morning off. And I’ve got plans!,” I thought as my mind played tug-of-war with the options at hand.

“Ok,” I surrendered, “but if you stay home from school we’re not having any fun.” I definitely wasn’t winning any sympathy awards that morning. “Mommy has errands to run and you’ll have to come with me,” I said, testing his resolve.

“Well, I guess I’ll go to school…” Jake said meekly.

But I checked myself. No, if he was really sick, I’d feel terrible sending him to school.

So I canceled my plans with my friend (although I’d debated how I could still fit them in), then we dropped off Cole at preschool and Jake and I headed to the grocery (Jake seemed well enough, after all, to at least handle that and a trip to my allergist).

At the grocery store, I wheeled around my cart while Jake sat in the basket, surrounded by groceries, pointing out various items that we passed. “Look Mom, granola bars!” {Giggle, Giggle}, “Look Mom, spaghetti sauce!” {Giggle, Giggle}. He clearly seemed to be having too much fun. I began doubting even further the validity of his illness. And perhaps it was just me, but I could swear I caught a few shoppers looking at Jake in the cart, as if to say “Why isn’t that child in school?” I felt like spatting back, in spite of my own doubts, “Look, he might not seem sick, but he is. Really.”

When we reached the check-out line and I began bagging our rung-up groceries, Jake pitched in to help, but quickly gave up. “Mom, I don’t feel very good,” he sighed. It seemed more to me that he just didn’t feel like bagging groceries, but I didn’t force the issue. After I finished getting the last of the groceries bagged and in the cart the dreaded words came. Those words that make every parent stop and take notice: “Mom, I think I need to throw up…”

I still hadn’t signed for my credit card and, of course, the receipt machine decided this was an opportune time to ran out of receipt tape. What’s a mom to do? I quickly assessed the situation. I had a cart full of unpaid groceries, there was a customer in line behind us waiting to check out, and my son was about to toss his cookies. I grabbed an empty grocery bag (conveniently placed right there at the register for moments such as these – and groceries, of course, but that was irrelevant at the moment). Seconds seemed to turn into torturous minutes as the cashier continued to fiddle with the cash register tape (is it me, or does this stuff always run out at the most INCONVENIENT times?). I helplessly stood there with a bag under Jake’s face, silently screaming at the oblivious cashier, “Would you just hurry up and give me the receipt before my son hurls all over your register?!”). Finally, the receipt was printed and signed (the printed ink was smudged and pink and half-missing, but at this point I didn’t care what I was signing my life away to). In one motion I shoved the pen and receipt into the cashier’s hands, saying a hurried “I’ve got to go!” while starting a sprint in the opposite direction, cart leading and Jake following.

“Ma’am, your receipt,” the cashier called after me. And for some insane reason, I actually turned back and got it (since a grocery receipt is so essential to have in hand while your son is about to puke….).

I got two strides away from the check-out when the tell-tale signs made it clear we weren’t making it to the bathroom. The emergency brake had been pulled. With the empty grocery sack still in hand, I turned to Jake, and let go of the cart, which now un-maned, went sailing into the nearest wall. Luckily Jake’s aim was good. Luckily we’d been blessed with a holefree bag. Yes, there we were, in full view of countless check-out lines and who knows how many shoppers and store employees, as my son evidenced full proof that he was indeed sick. All my previous doubts of his illness being wiped away in a single moment.

After Jake seemed finished expelling the contents of his stomach, we hurried toward the nearest bathroom for precautions sake. But it turned out what seemed to be the logical location for a bathroom, led only to a mystery staircase and an emergency exit (actually, an emergency exit seemed even more appealing than a bathroom right then…). So when the bathroom search came up empty, we emerged into the public eye again to retrieve our abandoned cart.

“Are you looking for the bathroom?,” asked a store employee who was bagging groceries at one of the check out lines (obviously a witness to the whole scene that just went down).

“Um, yes,” I sheepishly responded.

“It’s in the back of the store,” she said, pointing to the furthest, darkest corner of the store. (Why is it that whenever you’re in a store, the bathroom, without fail, is located in the most out-of-the-way spot conceivable to man? I can just envision a bunch of stuffed suits at corporate around a fancy conference table discussing bathroom placement in their retail establishments. “I know,” one of the senior executives chimes in, “let’s have a little fun with this and hide the bathroom in the most remote part of our store. That way, when emergency situations arise and our customers actually need to use it, we’ll have some great laughable footage on the surveillance cams!”

Bag of vomit still in hand, I replied to the bagger, “I think we’re okay now” and did my best to keep my head up as Jake and I made our “dignified” exit from the store.

Once in the parking lot and headed to the car, Jake finally spoke up:

“I’ve never thrown up in the grocery store before, Mom.”

Very true.

Yessiree, right along with starting first grade, scoring his first soccer goal, and losing his first tooth, Jake can now add “throwing up in a grocery store” to his list of accomplishments for the year.

Needless to say, I decided to skip my appointment with the allergist that day. Jake had truly earned a day of vegging out with some ‘toons on the couch.

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Meredith blogs at The Mom of the Year, dedicatedly earning her title one epic parenting fail at a time. When her kids aren't busy pummeling each other with Legos or requiring their 16th sippy cup refill of the day, she tries to offer quick, relatable laughs for fellow parents of the world and all their empathizers. She remains entirely terrified by crafts, promises to never share any useful household tips, and is fully committed to a less serious look at the world of parenting.

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  10 Responses to “Mom vs. the Sick Day”


    Why does this sound like something that would happen to me? Probably because I am sure one of my kids would indeed do something like this. With two kids 16 months apart, I have learned that just about anything is possible, so reading your tale didn’t even faze me and scary I could just about relate and my heart went out to you as you were relaying the inevitable.


      That’s why I’m so thankful Kari shared this–something that I think we can all relate too! Just cringing in anticipation of “the inevitable” indeed!


    OMG. Awesome post, but horrible experience, I’m sure! An old co-worker of mine has a child who gets VERY motion sick. And one day, after driving to the grocery store and doing a full shop, her child turned around and threw up all over the card of groceries. Can you imagine? Another woman actually stopped and helped her clean it all up. I can’t even imagine…


      Ack! That is horrible! This is also conviction that I am SO not a good person–God bless that sweet woman who helped her clean it up. I probably would have been the schmuck who ran away in fear!


    Aw. Poor baby. And poor Mommy. But smart thinking with the plastic bag. I hope you get your “Mommy Time” next week. Scones with a friend on a weekday morning sounds like pure heaven.


      She was so on the ball with that bag! And yes, hoping a morning of scones soon finds its way back around to her after surviving a day like this :)


    I will never forget being 8 years old, the Saturday before Christmas, my dad waking me up in the morning so we could go Christmas shopping for my mom. Through breakfast: “Dad, I don’t feel well”, while getting dressed and ready “Dad, I really feel kind of sick”, in the car: “Dad, I’m not feeling good”. All the while, he pretty much ignored me, saying that we were out of time so we had to get this done today. And then, in the middle of the crowded department store (Marshall Field’s? Carson Pirie Scott?), in front of a rack of all-white blouses, I threw up. And then I burst into tears. My dad grabbed my hand, used my scarf to wipe my mouth, and led me out of the store straight back to the car and back home, where he told my mom “I guess she wasn’t making it up”, leaving me on the couch under a blanket while he returned to the store to get my mom’s gift. It was the last year he waited until the last minute to buy my mom’s present, and the only time she ever got a gift card for Christmas.


      Oh, the things we never forget, huh? Poor you and your poor dad too. He must have felt so bad! And great reminder to always take an extra scarf? 😉 Thanks for sharing your story.


    You know how you can fold grocery sacks up into those little triangles? I had hyperemesis during both my pregnancies and would keep a few of those folded-up triangles with me at all times. I have thrown in up grocery sacks EVERYWHERE. In stores, naturally, but also at work, in the car, at the doctor’s office. You are right about the blessing of a hole-free bag.
    Anyway… he’s in good company.


      Oh POOR you, Robin! That sounds awful…but go you for being so prepared. Definitely, thank goodness for hole-free bags!

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