Kathleen Norton

Man’s worst friend: The kiddy stomach bug

Posted on: May 20, 2014


Men are courageous souls who bravely face broken septic systems, wheedling mothers-in-law and wives with hormonal swings bigger than the Batman ride at Six Flags.


Man facing sick kid

Man facing sick kid

But unleash a kid with a stomach bug on some men and they seem to go – for lack of a better word – a little girly on you.


This is a phenomenon that I have witnessed and confirmed with other women during scientific surveys conducted on line at Stop & Shop.


“He took off like a bat out of you-know-where,’’ one griped as a flu bounced around our kids like a tennis ball at Wimbledon.


Her husband was as valiant as a Green Beret – except when the kids’ heads were hanging over the toilet. We felt her pain.


Maybe it was just our neighborhood, but I suspect not.


The first time it happened to me was so long ago that we were trying to fix our VCR. As we puzzled over the thing, hoping we could figure out how to tape “Twin Peaks,’’ I heard a strange cough and gag from a bedroom above.


“Check on the kids?’’ I said. “One of them is up.’’


My man, being the good dad he is, went up only to run back down, hand over his mouth, saying: “Air! I need air!’’


This from someone who had manned up to every icky household situation, including the day the entire septic system went kaput beneath the feet of the kids playing in the yard.


Up I went to sanitize an entire room and a small child. Then I sat down and had a sandwich.


“You can eat after that? I owe you big time! What can I do?’’ he said, which explains why to this day when small rodents make their presence known in the garage or elsewhere, I leave and let him take over.


I run screaming if I see a mouse, but a kid with the stomach flu isn’t a big deal. Maybe childbirth rewires mothers’ brains this way.


Who knows?


Anyway, the “cleanup’’ scene replayed itself over the years until finally, the little gaggers were grown and out.


Enter the grandchildren, and the opportunity for history to repeat itself, which it did last week.


The man involved was a stranger, not my spouse, who was miles away and safely out of range of the 2-year-old who erupted like a volcano as we sat in a parked car while her mom was in a doctor’s office.


Right about then a man getting into another car noticed the hoopla, knocked on the window and asked if we needed help.


When I rolled it down a crack he got a picture, not to mention a whiff, of what was going on in our vehicle. He turned green and backed away, which I took to mean his offer was rescinded.


The toddler looked at me as if to say: “What’s up with that guy, Grandma?’’


There was only one answer.


“Oh, honey,’’ I said, wiping her sticky face. “Welcome to the Girls’ Club.’’


1 Response to "Man’s worst friend: The kiddy stomach bug"

At one time in my life, I was so, so sensitive I couldn’t clean a chicken without a surgical mask. Then I had kids. Having babies changes everything.

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