January 25 11

Somebody needs to take away my parenting license, I think.

At work yesterday, my ears started burning. I ask Carol what this means and she’s all, “yeah, it probably means you are getting sick,” which I sort of scoffed at because I figured she just wanted to share the wealth since her two girls are just getting over the flu. Like, the real flu…the kind that knocks you for a total loop for an entire week. Yeah, so, she went through that twice. So, I laughed at was all…”but we have all been so healthy!”

And I knew.

I knew right then and there, as the word healthy fell from my mouth. I tried desperately to shove it back in, but, alas, there it was. What was I thinking?

As I was getting dinner ready last night – which, incidentally, was supposed to be taco night, but instead turned into a total free-for-all because something about the ground meat I bought looked notright and I turn into an absolute lunatic when it comes to meat (and chicken and milk products too) so make-your-pizza! on leftover pitas! and frozen tater tots! it was. And then, right before we were about to eat, Josh says…”My tummy feels kind of funny.”

And I knew.

I knew right then and there, as the words tumbled out of his mouth.

But I still allowed him to eat his dinner and chocolate milk (OMG. Chocolate milk.)

And then I heard the giant burp and the “OH MY GOD, MOMMY!”

And I knew.

3,000 square feet of HARDWOOD FLOORING.

One white family room rug.

That, as you can probably figure out, is no longer white.

And then I started hyperventilating. The panic attack, unsurprisingly, came on very suddenly. When you suffer from emetophobia, this is pretty typical. Because all I can think is that *I* am going to get it. Did I share any utensils with Josh today? Did he kiss me? Did he breathe near me? Does he have food poisoning? Does he have something gastro-related? My saint of a husband took control and quarantined me to my room. He cleaned. He cleaned some more. And then he cleaned even more. He took care of Josh. Took him to the basement where they watched movies and cuddled surrounded by buckets and blankets.

Because I couldn’t. Because I can’t.

I cannot cuddle and coddle a barfy child. I never could. I never will. I cannot even breathe. I can’t stop shaking. I can’t stop crying. And my kids, they know. They know that I am crippled by a phobia that makes no sense to them. I mean, it makes no sense to me. They know that I have to see a therapist to help me deal with this. They know that they come to Mommy with asthma attacks and headaches and all things that require band-aids.

And they know that they go to Daddy with the pukes.

I got into bed.

And Emily swooped in and brought me three blankets. She covered me. She brought me my flannel pants and warmer socks. She brought me my phone. She brought me a cup of water and some tums. She crawled into bed with me and stroked my face and told me that she loved me.


She held my hand all night and stayed up to make sure I fell asleep. I couldn’t have made it through the night without her.

She took care of me. Because I couldn’t take care of me.

I am way too lucky.

  1. Dude. I get it. You ARE lucky!!

    Chocolate milk. OMG nooooooooooo…! (So sorry, friend.)


    Comment by Grumble Girl on January 25, 2011
  2. I’m so sorry you have to endure all that, Ali. I’m so glad you have such a wonderful family, though. Ya got some good peeps there, mama.


    Comment by Nanette on January 25, 2011
  3. You are an amazing parent Ali. It’s part of why your kids are so amazing.

    Emily is amazing. You are so lucky. You shouldn’t feel bad about last night. Really. She’s ten. I doubt she feels bad about it at all. In fact I’m sure she felt good about being able to support you.

    We are raising our kids to be good adults. You have to try and remember that Emily isn’t just your baby. She’s becoming a woman. Slowly. Over time. Last night, she showed you complete compassion. She’s going to make an amazing woman one day.


    Comment by Issa on January 25, 2011
  4. Issa.
    Your comment just made me cry. You are so right. She really WILL make an amazing woman one day.


    Comment by ali on January 25, 2011
  5. Oh man, Emily is amazing. This post actually made me a little teary–partly from the chocolate milk on the white rug, but mostly (85% at least) from that wonderful girl of yours.



    Comment by heidikins on January 25, 2011
  6. okay. I am actually crying. Dang you, Ali Martell!


    Comment by Rae Ann on January 25, 2011
  7. I love your family.

    Hope Josh is feeling better. And I hope you’re feeling better, too.



    Comment by Meghan on January 25, 2011
  8. I love Emily.


    Comment by heather... on January 25, 2011
  9. I love that girl so hard. You are clearly a spectacular parent as evidence by her actions. You should be proud of yourself for raising her so well.


    Comment by Jen on January 25, 2011
  10. OMG. I didn’t even know a phobia to vomit was a *real* thing, but I am so relieved to hear I am not the only one like this! I have panic attacks if I even suspect someone might be sick around me and when my kids get sick I run the other way. I feel horrible and guilty but I can not deal with it. I cry and shake and act like a complete lunatic! How do we get better?

    Also, your daughter? The best. You are both so lucky.


    Comment by Jana on January 25, 2011
  11. I am with you 100%—I cannot do vomiting. And then I dwell on it for at least one week…long enough to know I’m in the clear.

    So proud of Emily and hoping Josh feels better soon. Also hoping that no one else in the family gets that plague!


    Comment by alison on January 25, 2011
  12. your daughter is amazing. and don’t feel bad about something that isn’t your fault.



    Comment by AngieM. on January 26, 2011
  13. So glad to know that I am not alone with this phobia. My 3 year old threw up a couple of months ago in the middle of the night from strep, and she only wanted me there, not my husband. She fell asleep on the bathroom rug and I lay outside in the hallway for three hours, shaking and not sleeping. Now every time my kids have a fever, I worry that they will throw up. People tell me to get over it but I just CAN’T. (One of my most vivid memories from elementary school is a girl throwing up in class- I was not able to be friends with her until we were in college because I was so scared she would throw up again).


    Comment by es on January 26, 2011
  14. She really is incredible. I’d be right there huddled in bed too away from the pukes. I hope it doesn’t last long and no one else gets it. Hang in there!


    Comment by Kathy on January 26, 2011
  15. You are lucky and THEY are lucky to have you. :)


    Comment by Angella on January 26, 2011
  16. Such a sweet kid. Takes after her mom, for sure. Hope you and Josh are feeling better!


    Comment by AmazingGreis on January 26, 2011
  17. This post makes me cry, because I don’t have kids yet, but I know I’ll be the same way, unable to cuddle and care for a child with a stomach ailment.

    I think it’s such a testament to your parenting and the compassion your kids have seen demonstrated by you that Emily was able to care for you so well.


    Comment by Amy --- Just A Titch on January 26, 2011
  18. [...] So, my fears are mostly manageable, unless, of course, someone in the house gets sick. And then, well, I can’t take care of my sick child; I can’t even take care of myself. [...]

    Pingback by » Mind Over Matter or, um, Vomiting Clowns. Cheaper Than Therapy on July 7, 2011

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