My husband recently discovered an undated bottle of homebrew stashed at the back of the laundry cupboard.
“She’ll be right!” he exclaimed with great joie de vivre before swiftly chugging the lot.
The next morning, after a busy overnight schedule of vomiting and diahrrea, he was a little less certain of his convictions. His brazen “She’ll be right!” was more a pathetic “She’ll strip the lining of my stomach” and I almost got a callus on my tongue from tutting so much.
CUT TO: several days later when Tiddles McGee lay quiet and pale on the beanbag all afternoon, running the kind of fever that made me feel I could literally fry an egg on him. Which might be an activity smiled upon by many an energy-saving lobbyist, but not by the Department of Social Services. Trust me on this.
In any case, I duly administered him with a dose of Children’s Panadol, only to find the other two children queuing behind him, their mouths open in readiness.
“I feel sick!” Mr Justice exclaimed.
“I feel sick too!!” said The Pixie.
Which made me wonder – not for the first time – what exactly is in Children’s Panadol that makes my children crave it so. The bottle cheerfully claims it is “Sugar Free!” but evidently it’s not opiate-free.
Still, while I may have many failings as a parent, wantonly overmedicating them is not one of them. So I turned them both away.
CUT TO: Bed time and Mr Justice was still claiming he had a stomach ache. My husband fobbed him off by pointing at the digital clock and saying he would bring in a sick bucket by 10:04pm.
At 12:02pm, Mr Justice woke and shouted out for his well-overdue sick bucket. My husband, bleary-eyed with sleep, went and grabbed him the smallest saucepan in the world – one that was perhaps only suitable for itsy-bitsy faery folk to warm up a single drop of milk in – and put it on the floor next to Mr Justice’s bed.
At 12:25pm, we were woken by the sickening splash of vomit completely missing the smallest saucepan in the world and hitting the floorboards with that sickening “splurt” that strikes deep in the heart of slumbering parents.
I leapt up out of bed and went straight into automated cleaning mode: stripping and changing bedding and pyjamas, etc etc ETC. I’ve done it so often that I could do it in my sleep. In fact, I probably still was asleep.
All the while, Mr Justice cheerfully recited the entire litany of injustices inflicted against his person: when he’d first alerted us to his stomach pains, how I’d refused him life-giving medicines, how he’d been denied a sick bucket at the time agreed and how he’d told us so.
The poor lad. I decided to cut him a bit of slack and not reply with a list of times he’d begged for a bandaid to cover a scratch evidently inflicted upon him by one of those itsy-bitsy faery folk, or had told me his leg was definitely BROKEN, MUM and that he would NEVER WALK AGAIN, or those many many (MANY) nights he had demanded a sick bucket to be placed by his bed AND NOTHING HAD HAPPENED.
As for my husband, he stood by holding the world’s smallest saucepan “just in case” and looking almost chipper. He even dared to say “Oh! Looks like it wasn’t the homebrew after all!”.
At which point, I must have given him The Look because he visibly flinched and stepped right back. The point being that if it had been the homebrew, I wouldn’t be on all fours, mopping up the Ghost of Dinner Past with a hand towel, now would I?
Stupid home brew.