The great thing about excessive vomiting is that it gives you the chance to reinforce lessons about gravity. My daughter stayed home sick from preschool recently. We kicked off the day watching The Little Mermaid. She was lying on the couch and asked me to lie down beside her on the floor. I obliged because I’m always looking for an excuse to take a nap, but I told her to let me know if she was going to throw up so I could move.
“I don’t want you throwing up on my face,” I said.
“Okay,” she said. Then she had a light bulb moment. “Hey, throw up doesn’t float because of gravity!”
I was so proud. We went into a five-minute rant about how weird it would be if throw up could float. Like, if the rest of the world was bound by the laws of gravity, but not vomit. You’d have people regurgitating all kinds of things just to make them float. We decided it would be cool. Disgusting, but cool.
Because I’m a dad, I was proud that I had the opportunity to use her sickness as a way to reinforce the basic laws of physics that we’re all bound by. You never want to let a teaching opportunity slip through your fingers. My father knew this better than anyone. At any given moment, he could go all Father Knows Best and break out some sage advice, using our surroundings to teach his kids the importance of never buying cheap batteries, or how the key to frying a proper egg was patience. Those were his two main nuggets of wisdom that he wanted to pass on to his children. Buy good batteries and use low heat when frying an egg. They’re solid pieces of advice, but they didn’t always apply to the situation at hand, like in the dugout during a baseball game, or when I was getting ready for prom.
My daughter also understands the importance of teaching lessons. In the afternoon of her sick day, she started feeling better so she decided we should play school. I’d be the student, she’d be the teacher. She grabbed a ruler, tapped it on the table and said, “every time I do this, you have to listen.”
She tapped the ruler on the table a lot, then dropped nuggets of wisdom like, “if there’s a giant spider crawling over your house, you should tell an adult.” Then we started trading off lessons. She’d say, “When you’re in love, you get married.” And I’d say, “In the United States, you’re not allowed to get married until after you go to college. In some states, you have to go to graduate school first.”
I think we both came out of that sick day a little wiser.
Sometimes I wish it floated; then I would never have the reflex action to try and catch it when my little one throws up while directly in front of me.
Trying to catch vomit in opened hands doesn’t work very well. I suspect you already know this, though.
I know this all too well, and yet, when the occasion arises, I still try.
It’s weird – my wife’s impulsive reaction is to jump back; mine is to hold my hands out and catch it.
I’m trying not to contemplate what that says about me…
Graduate school, really? You’re encouraging grad school? That’s a 1-way ticket to a grown up kid in the basement. Oh, I hope that didn’t hit too close to home.