Adventures Of Fatherhood

There is nothing quite like the stomach virus sweeping through a house with kids.

Although it’s been about two weeks now since our boys have been clear of it, I still can’t shake that distinct and overwhelming smell of Lysol, which engulfed our house while the kids were down for the count.

When the stomach virus hits, there is no question what it is and what lies ahead for the child and the parents. That’s why when Carson vomited in his bed a couple weeks ago we knew exactly what was ahead of us, although we were hoping we were wrong.

There were bouts of vomiting and diarrhea that teamed to make for a messy situation at home and numerous loads of clothes being dumped routinely into the washer and dryer.

Whenever someone gets ill in the house, like most folks, the first thing we do is try to contain the germs, but it’s extremely difficult to do with much success.

Somehow, Pam and I escaped without getting the virus, but as soon as Carson was feeling better Beckett came down with the exact same symptoms.

In Carson’s case, we were awake when he first got sick, so we were able to take care of him.

With Beckett, he got sick in his bed in the middle of the night and snuck in bed with us without letting us know. It’s a common thing for him to hop in with us in the middle of the night, and I didn’t think anything of it at first. Pam just put him under the covers and that was that.

Unfortunately, we woke up to him vomiting in our bed. It was a little after 3 in the morning, and we exchanged looks that summed up a “here we go again” reaction.

We took turns hanging out with him in the bathroom that night because it was the best place to be if there was going to be any more accidents.

With both kids, keeping them hydrated was the problem, as both would almost immediately vomit after drinking anything for 24 hours or so. Again, a messy situation but also one where you just wish it was one of the parents rather than the kid dealing with that sort of bug.

With all kids, you can tell how they are feeling by looking in their eyes, and Carson and Beckett, in their various sicknesses, revealed immediately that they were down and out.

With our kids, 4 and 3, it’s quite obvious when they are not feeling well. Of course, you have the eyes to reveal, but also their energy levels are drastically different.

If my kids are awake, they are moving around, playing with this and that and generally high energy. At this young age, they are not much for laying around unless there is a computer game, television show or a book involved. Even then, the relaxing only lasts for 10 or 15 minutes.

That’s why when they are hanging on the couch and content to not be playing with anything or watching a movie we know they are bad off.

Fortunately, both were excellent, little sick patients and did next to nothing while they were down and out.

As was the case when they were sick, we knew immediately when they were feeling better. It was like a flick of a switch and all was back to normal.

They had reverted back to being too rough with each other. They were eating their breakfasts like they were starved and draining juice like champs. They were back to destroying their rooms. Listening returned to being a foreign subject at times, and their energy had been restored to a level that continues to amaze.

While it was nice to have them both feeling better again at the same time, at one particularly frustrating point the first day after both were back to normal, I wondered aloud how I missed how sweet and nice they were when they were sick.

Pam gave me a look that resembled a “now, now”, but I know she agreed, at least partially.

Football season may be over, but it’s still fresh in Beckett’s mind.

At Dick’s Sporting Goods on Sunday, I was trying out equipment sizes on my 4-year-old for his first foray into the sport of lacrosse. It was quite entertaining, as getting him to stay still in that kind of store was a larger challenge than I anticipated. He was particularly fascinated with the mannequins, or “weird people” as he called them, wondering why they didn’t have hands, leg hair and why their heads were cut off, among other keen observations about the male anatomy.

At one point, he took off for the baseball aisle, leaving me standing there alone with a lacrosse helmet on to demonstrate to him how it goes on. When I caught up to him, with helmet still on, of course, he grabbed a glove out of another boy’s hand and threw it to the ground.

When I tried to correct him, he said to the boy, “no, no, no — that’s a Steelers glove. See it’s black and gold. Where are the purple gloves? Daddy help me find him a purple glove.”

It was the wrong sport and certainly inappropriate to his new friend, but I have to admit I was holding back a laugh, smiling on the inside and having a proud dad moment.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.