Wilson and I were invited to two cocktail parties Saturday night, and were looking forward to seeing friends at the adults-only affairs. We got all gussied up (40 minutes for me, 5 for him) and hit the town.
We’re at the point now where we can skip a sitter if we stay local and our 14-year-old, Jacob, watches his brothers, Aden 10, and Eli, 8. The downside is they never get to bed at a decent hour and the house is a mess, the upside is it’s free.
Eli had a sleepover party so if Jacob wanted to hang with his friends at home or elsewhere, the plan was that Aden would be ok to stay alone for the evening.
But as we all know, mom plans and the universe laughs.
Eli came home from school Friday with a temperature and a sore throat. When we took him to the doctor Saturday he had strep throat and laid on the couch all day. Plan B had bitter Jacob staying home with no friends, playing nursemaid to his brother. Part of that job was giving Eli his liquid antibiotic before bed.
I was one and a half glasses into a Sauvignon Blanc, having a lovely conversation about music with friends when we got the first call. Jacob could not get the medicine bottle open. Apparently child-proof tops only work when you wish they wouldn’t.
We tried to verbally explain how to get the thing open but after a few minutes, Wilson hopped in the car and drove 5 minutes to the house to open it for him.
He was back in a jiffy and we chatted some more before leaving for our next stop. In my old age, I find wine makes me tired if I sip it all night so I switched to a special vodka party punch that was so tasty I downed two glasses in an hour. I wasn’t driving so what the hell, right?
We checked in with the boys around 10pm. Eli and Aden were in bed and Jacob was watching basketball. We could finally relax. The parties were filled with people we love, the catered food was yummy and the candlelit homes were beautiful. It was turning out to be a stellar night.
Then the second call came in around 11pm.
It was Jacob saying Aden had woken up with stomach pains and puked all over his rug. Wilson could hear Aden in the background pleading with us to come home.
I was munching on a mini cupcake when Wilson yelled at me from across the room with his serious face that we had to go immediately because Aden threw up. Wilson is very mature and take-charge in these situations.
My first thought should have been, “Oh no, my baby’s sick!” but instead it was “Damn, I’m having a good time and I don’t want to go home!”
It was probably the cocktails talking.
Wilson had car keys in hand and was glaring at me from the front door. I was still in shock and went to get my coat and purse. A few people asked why we were leaving so early (it’s not like us) and I told them about the puke. My friend Mike wondered why we both had to go home to help. One of us should be able to stay and have fun, he said.
For about 3 seconds I thought about tossing down my coat and staying, but a ball of guilt was gnawing at my insides and I knew it wouldn’t be worth it. Like a petulant child, I pouted all the way home.
But once we got there, any resentment or regret was pushed aside by my sympathy for Aden– who was doubled over in the bathroom– and the helpless look on Jacob’s face.
I was where I needed to be.
Wilson and I worked as a special ops team for the next 3 hours, taking turns between soothing encouragement in the bathroom, cleaning up the mess in the bedroom, and rubbing Aden’s back as he lay in bed waiting for the next bout of nausea to overcome him. He was heaving every 20 minutes or so until about 2am.
I had to slip out of my cocktail dress and heels so I could get on hands and knees to rid his room of the smell of puke, which is like kryptonite for Wilson. (I highly recommend rose-water from the GNC to neutralize odors after you clean up.)
One extra special moment was when we had to shoo our puppy, Brady, away from going to town on Aden’s spew.
At about 1230am, Eli woke up moaning and crying. He was congested and hot and his throat hurt. I left Aden’s side to lay with Eli and rub his back to try to get him to sleep.
At this point, all that vodka punch and the kids’ wailing was starting to give me a headache. I needed sleep. Somewhere around 315am, Eli’s kicking and sniffling woke me up again and I crept from his room into my bed. When I looked at the clock in my room, it read 415am.
What a perfect night to lose an hour of sleep for daylight savings.
Everyone woke up feeling much better the next day. Brady even let us sleep late before barking to come out of his crate. The events of the night truly felt like a dream in the bright morning light.
As I picked up my dress in a heap on the floor and smelled the rose-water from Aden’s room I smiled. We had survived another sucky night of parenting.
Take that, universe.