A couple of nights ago Henry threw up, and it happened before he was entirely awake—with the result that if he, like a cat, had gone out of his way to barf in the worst possible location, he would have succeeded with high honors. If he’d thrown up in his bed, I could have coped just fine: that makes a big mess, but I am in my 19th year of parenting and I can handle a barfed-in bed. But he threw up over the side of his bed and onto the wall-to-wall carpeting, the installation of which is one of my top parenting regrets. (We were finishing an unfinished basement, and wall-to-wall seemed like the only way to avoid cold floors. The floors are not cold, no, but now they are covered by NON-REMOVABLE ABSORBENT FABRIC.)
After he threw up on the carpet, and into the workings of the control for his electric blanket, and all over a pile of books and toys, and down into the crevice between his mattress and the bedframe, Henry got himself to the bathroom and threw up again into the sink. In cleaning up the sink, I got bleach on one my favorite t-shirts, which I was sleeping in for reasons unknown: usually I sleep in a t-shirt that has gotten too battered for daytime, or in one of my new collection of political t-shirts, but I must have forgotten to change it. So right now I have that t-shirt laid out in the tub, where I have deliberately dribbled more bleach on it in an effort to salvage it, because when something is ruined it can sometimes be saved by MORE RUINING. But I believe in this case we are looking at a lost cause: the spray bottle was set to too fine a mist to start with, so it just looks weirdly and irregularly faded and stained. I will put it through the laundry just in case, but it may be time to say goodbye to this shirt. Or it can be a sleeping shirt now.
Anyway, you know how sometimes it takes a day or so for a muscle to let you know you overdid it? Apparently scrubbing a carpet on three separate occasions (I kept feeling as if it were not clean yet) was beyond what one of my thigh muscles thought should be asked of it at this pay grade. I think what actually did the damage wasn’t the scrubbing itself but the getting down onto and up off of the floor, again and again, as I kept stopping to rinse out the washcloth—or at least, it was when I was on my way down to the floor this morning to gather up some laundry that I really felt the burn. To be more accurate, I said “YIKES” and descended the remaining distance to the floor rather more rapidly than scheduled, luckily cushioned by the laundry. Thank you for your years of service, thigh muscle. Good luck with your apparent retirement.
It reminded me of an anecdote from the years when “getting down to the floor” and “getting back up again” were not activities I gave much thought to except when heavily pregnant. When Rob was a toddler and I was expecting William, we went to visit my grandparents; they were in their mid 80s then. My grandpa got down on the floor to play with Rob. When he was about to get back up, there was a moment when you could see him assessing his options and not finding a whole lot of them, and my grandmother said comfortably from her recliner, “Mm hm. I was wondering how you thought that was going to work.”