Wednesday, August 08, 2007

barf bay

Our weekend camping at Crap Creek was, oh, I shudder just recalling it. How did the Miller Family Philosphy fail so pathetically? By not factoring in the possibility of vomit. Hamish threw up four times. All over Bryan mostly, thank God, but the last time was in a tin bucket while my mother-in-law)\ rocked him and stroked his hair in a picture of intimacy so complete that the addition of cartoon bluebirds would only cheapen it. I get weird about this. Weirder about it still by being hot, tired, bug-bitten, away from home and in perpetual discomfort. And what mom is ever chipper when her kid’s sick? Still, I confess this to you because I cling to the belief that I’m not alone in my filthy tornado of conflict. Feel free to let me know. For as much as I depend on Ry’s grandparents to watch him I get insanely jealous when he’s sick and is comforted by his grandmother instead of by me, when I’m right there. This happened once before, when I took him to the pediatrician when he was feverish, and his grandmom came along. Hamish insisted that she hold him instead of me, and I just stood there in the examining room, swallowing my tears of furious impotence while the two of them clutched each other.

Back at the campsite, Stella had just rolled off my nipple, I was starting to doze and from his grandparents’ tent where he’d decided to park his sleeping bag, I heard Hamish cry out. I rushed to be by his side, instead finding myself cursing, struggling to unzip my tent, only to be greeted by a sight that pronounced me me wholly irrelevant and excessive, like a superfluous thumb. Granted the kid was puking his guts out after midnight in a hot tent. I told myself, or at least the relentless judgmental voices in my head me that I should be grateful I don’t have to nurse Stella in one arm and tend to Hamish’s gastrointestinal issues with the other. I should thank my lucky stars that my son has such a wealth of safety and security in his life. But I watched them in mute defeat.

My judges called me selfish. “You’re worried about yourself when he’s sick? What kind of monster are you?” They mocked my insecurity. “You’re his mother for God’s sake. Why should you be threatened by anyone else taking your place?” And they went on, like a frenemy you have who never shuts up. “She’d never let him eat cereal for dinner… She’d never let him stay inside all day, naked and watching television… You never take him to the zoo…” Then, as instructed by an outside voice, hers, I washed out the bucket, spilling a couple of symbolic chunky pink drops on my feet in the process, and brought him cold water to sip. And I loathed us all. I could not win. No one could. And in cooler temperatures, I really dig this woman. I do. We laugh together and everything.

The humidity was smothering. My victimy attitude cloyed at me worse than the lingering smell of puke. No one could do right by me, especially when they admonished me to look on the bright side, or were accomodating in any way. I growled at everyone. Sleep, when it finally came, didn’t offer any salvation either. I’d arranged the sleeping bags inside our tent so at least when we slid down the hill we’d slide down to six o’clock, as if our bedding were recliners of some funky sort. Sliding toward nine or three o’clock would have been unacceptable, but six sucked muddy rocks, especially when Stella cried out to be nursed from beside my knees, which were buckled from being smashed up against our suitcase, which I’d carefully placed at the foot of our sleeping bags. And our new sleeping mats somehow made the roots underneath my spine more pronounced.

My respite came in the form of a cabin recently built on the campsite’s land. I spent Saturday afternoon in the cabin, on a bed, with fans whirring frantically to cool my moody head, even though when I re-entered the campsite, the gnawing guilt that I'd "cheated" clung to me. Hamish napped with me for a few hours and if it weren’t for that nap, I can only think I’d have scores of apologies to recite for my bitchiness. I’m still sorry though. Sorry I didn’t know better. I would have stayed home. Even Hamish admitted he didn’t like Crap Creek, or what I now refer to as “Barf Bay.” He said he didn’t like sleeping in a tent. I cheered inside, but to him I only said, “You don’t, huh?” I promised Bryan that I wouldn’t try to persuade Hamish to defer from the yearly outings, as it brought him summers of sweaty rapture in his youth. He could see the gleam of trickery in my eye, but I reassured him I’d keep my mouth shut.

The upside to Hamish’s upchucks was that we left early. We left for the Poconos Saturday evening just in time for Stella, who caught Hamish’s illness, to projectile vomit from her carseat into the front of the car and all over me. I got to field this mess, and maybe it was the A/C blasting, but I actually laughed. After a massive wipedown, we arrived three hours later, greeted by four walls, a roof, and cool mountain air. I felt like a sweepstakes winner. 


Amanda said...

Oh boy, do I ever hate camping! I totally get the MIL thing (I feel the same about mine at times) but granny can totally have the puking sick kiddo anyday in my book.

And I totally let my kid eat cereal for dinner (and birthday cake for breakfast) so don't beat yourself up.

hubby said...

He puked 5 times. The one in the bucket was the last one of that night. The 5th time was on me again the next day. It was the one that said "time to go!"

This was one extreme year at crap creek what with the heat and the puke. I just hope I haven't lost you forever to the whole experience but I guess I can understand it if I do. I'll love you even if you don't embrace the mosquito infested rocks in the backness of turtle turd baby.