Saturday, 29 March 2014

And Then He Vomited All Over the Floor

I saw the grossest thing last night. We were shopping at the Central Market and a little boy just stopped in the middle of the packed aisle, just in front of the Smelly Cheese shop and VOMITED all over the floor. Then he walked a bit further and VOMITED again. But that wasn’t enough. No, he went for the trifecta. This kid vomited 3 fucking times, right where he stood. People were in disbelief, shaking their heads and a couple of women even shrieked. It was like a movie scene and I would’ve given the mother, who allowed her child to chuck up his just-ingested chinese dinner all over the ground, a look of pure reproach if that mother wasn’t ME.

You know that feeling you get when you’re totally panicking and don’t know if you want to cry or scream for help and you are trembling from sheer adrenaline but you have to stay totally and utterly calm?

No? Well lucky you.

I find the Adelaide Central Market stressful at the best of times. Yes, it’s cultural and full of life and colour and sound and smells. Yes, the produce is fresh and often times cheaper than the supermarkets. Yes, the kids love it. All the freedom and sampling and different languages. But I’ve always found having kids at the market a bit stressful. There’s so much activity and noise that it’s easy to lose track of where they are and what they’re doing… and what they’re eating.

We were half way through my vague, yet gourmet, shopping list which said only – fruit, cheese, weekend bread, meats, dutch licorice – when Stefan [you knew it would be him, right?] starts wimpering by my side. I can’t stand wimpering. It’s right up there with whingeing and whining. Just speak properly and tell me what’s wrong, for fuck’s sake. So he’s wimpering and scrambling through my bag for his water bottle, which also annoys me because my bag is on my shoulder and he’s pulling on it as he’s rummaging through. I’m trying to select my cheese for the weekend and I’m just about to let my rapidly intensifying feelings known when I see the look of fear in his eyes. By now he’s managed to get his water bottle out and he’s sucking on that thing like his life depends on it. Which as it turns out, it sort of did.

He had a whole Dutch licorice coin, about the size of a 20 cent piece lodged in his throat and it was precisely at the point that I realized he was choking that the world around us slipped away. And the sound of my accelerated heart beating filled my head.

It’s a terrifying feeling to be rendered useless as your love struggles before you. I COULD NOT let him know that I was terrified though… because he was. And one thing I knew, was that if he panicked, we would be in a world of trouble. So, against a rising wave of hysteria, I dropped everything I was holding, got down on my knees in front of him and told him ‘it’s ok baby’.

And he said ‘no Mum, it’s not. It hurts so much – what do I do?’

And I didn’t know what to tell him! Oh, the mother-guilt of not having the answers for my boy in trouble. But I said that the fact he was talking was a good sign and the fact that he could drink was a good sign… without actually knowing if any of that was true. And then, because I was scrambling for something to hold on to that would get us out of this because by this stage he was bright red and sweating and the wimpering was on its way to wailing and I was wondering how long an ambulance would take to get there I asked him ‘what do YOU feel like you need to do?’ and he said ‘I have to get it out of my throat Mum but I’m scared!!’ 

Then he drank and drank and then he gagged. Oh fuck, shit was about to get real. Stefan HATES vomiting. It freaks him out. So his emotions have now kicked into DEFCON 1 as he prepares for the assault which is imminent. And I went into full ‘protect my cub’ mode and, still on my kneews, held him, rubbed his back and gave him permission to hurl his cookies all over the market floor. Not once. Not twice. But three powerful times until I saw that black fucker come out. At which point, the adrenalin was too much for my boy and his knees buckled from all the shaking and I picked him up and took him away. Leaving the spew, the judgement and the disapproving stares behind me without a second glance.

What would you have done?

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