Yes, I know we are only two weeks into 2011 but I would like to nominate my Dad for the Grandfather of the Year Award right now because I don't think there is anyone out there who will top him.
Thank god for my Dad. I have always know that he was special to me and the boys and to my Other Half but this weekend he went above and beyond the call of duty. He is a grandfather extraordinaire.
It all started on Wednesday night at about 10:30pm as I was talking to my Other Half. He was staying in the city for 10 days during the boat show and I was about turn out the lights when I heard something. I hung up abruptly and ran out to find Number Three Son emptying the contents of his stomach somewhere between the hall and the bathroom. He had tried to make it to the toilet, he really did, but there was no point in getting there now since we'd have to wade through his dinner of spaghetti and meat sauce which now coated every surface. I lifted him right into the tub and went in search of my decontamination kit. Set him back into bed with a bucket and towel nearby and went in search of stray bits of pasta which had somehow found their was into every corner of the upstairs landing, coupled with bits of tomato and peppers. I may never eat Italian again.
The poor guys threw up every hour that night even though there was nothing left in him by 1am. He is such a trouper - just rolls over to be sick then rolls back to sleep. In the morning I settled him with the bucket and towels in my bed to watch TV and got Number Two Son up for school expecting a fight as Number One was staying at a friend's house and would be missing school to ski for three days while training for a race. But Number Two surprised me and got up and ate a little breakfast then, while I was checking on his brother, I heard him say, "Mum, I'm going to be sick." And so it began. They were both down for the count. I kept them separated at first but then I was going crazy running up and down the stairs so I gave up and put them both in my bed with their buckets. Number Three was exhausted but over the vomiting. Number Two continued and they both had it coming out both ends at one point (and we wonder why people shake their heads at the whole "Mommy Blogger" phenomenon?) I continued to load and unload the washing machine all day and scoured every surface the boys had come into contact with.
By Thursday night both had calmed down and I actually got a good night sleep. Friday morning everyone (sans Number One who I had told to stay put at his friend's so as not to enter the Plague House) was up and seemed to be okay. I tried to convince them to stay at home but as it was a P.D. Day there was no way they were going to miss out on skiing. We headed to the hill and as I ran back and forth between race courses we seemed to be back on track until it was time to go home. The boys (Two & Three) wanted to go to their grandfather's house to hang out while I went to a memorial service for a friend's father, Number One was still AWOL and apparently going paint balling. So we headed to my Dad's where I decided to have a bath and relax with a copy of People magazine. About 20 minutes later I knew something was wrong. I had openly defied the gods and said, whenever anyone asked how I was doing, "I'm a mother, I don't get sick."
I left my Dad in charge and made a dash for home where the rest of the night disappeared in a haze of fevered runs to the bathroom. The worst part about hanging over the toilet in this situation is you can't even make any promises that you'll never drink again. And no one deserves this after spending 24 hours cleaning up after sick kids.
But back to my Dad, as my sister said, "He woke up Saturday morning with purpose." He had the three boys Friday night, got them up and to the ski hill the next day, took them their lunch, cheered Number Two on from the bottom of the race course, took Number Three over to a friend's for a play date, came home and helped Number One sharpen and wax his skis. Brought me ginger ale and magazines and kept them for a second night.
But to top it all off, Number Two decided to sleep over at a friend's house and in the middle of the night felt sick again and ended up being driven to my Dad's. As the mother who took him home said, "Waking anyone up in the middle of the night to bring home their child is bad enough but bringing him home to his 70 year old grandfather's? Let's just say, if it was anyone other than your Dad he would have had to tough it out." So my Dad continued on, got the other two up this morning and to the hill in time for Number One Son's race, drove number Two home to me and then will go back to the hill in time to get Number One to his hockey game this afternoon.
Late tonight their father will be home and I'm not sure whether I will tell him what has been going on (he still doesn't read this) because I know he will feel so guilty for being away through it all. There aren't very many women I know who can call on their fathers for this kind of support. Last weekend he drove three hours to watch Number One's hockey game and standing at the bottom of a ski hill to watch a 45 second race is tough on him in particular as he has Peripheral Neuropathy which is an incredibly painful condition and makes walking and standing hell. The physical pain is bad enough but my Dad climbed Everest and wrote a book and gives speeches about his experience so it is even harder on him to admit that he is becoming more and more disabled by it.
My Mum, who is also wonderful but lives an hour and a half away would have come to help but would probably have thrown up her hands at the ski/hockey schedule and said they should all just stay home and watch TV. (That's one of the reasons why I never excelled in competitive sports. Well, that and lack of talent.)
So I hope we are through the worst of this bug and that my Other Half and Number One Son won't succumb. I have disinfected, laundered and even thrown out some clothes which I couldn't bear to put in the wash. We are normally a very healthy family, my boys never miss school because they are sick. My only wish after all this is that my Dad doesn't get hit with it but he swears he hasn't thrown up since his fraternity days in the early 1960's.