I love Nicholas, and he will always be my little guy, but holy guacamole, is that kid acting like a total turd. Of course, I blame myself. I’m Catholic and a mom, a lethal powerhouse of guilt, so I feel confident I can shoulder this albatross. I am not confident I can shoulder Nicholas. In fact, I’m one whiny outburst away from putting him out with the recycling on Friday.
It started two weeks ago, when Nico tackled head-on his first bout of the stomach flu. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: nothing good comes out of puking.
Second children are, by birth order, the wilder and woollier ones. Nicholas is no different. He has far more scrapes, scars and bruises than Mikey has yet to achieve in five years of first-born cautious living. Naturally, Nico took to vomiting with equal passion. No, he couldn’t puke a few times, maybe 3, and call it nap time. Nicholas had to unhinge his pyloric valve in the middle of the night and unleash a fury heretofore seen only in exorcisms, frat parties, and cholera pandemics.
Eighteen times. That’s how many times he threw up on me in the course of 8 hours. It was The Perfect Storm in my very own living room, only instead of spume and seaweed, Mother Nature tried to drown me under 35 foot waves of apple-flavored pedialyte and saltine crackers.
Midway through Puke Watch 2009.
After the storm, there was nothing left. Not even a scrap of clothing. Nico was left sleeping in a chair wearing nothing but a diaper, a bib, and two old towels. I was in the corner rocking and muttering softly. The next few days after that were just as rough for him, what with the appearance of explosive diarrhea (how I wish it was strong enough to launch me into another continent!), so I cut him some slack and fed him whatever seemed to interest him, which wasn’t much.
One week later, Nicholas awoke with a clean diaper and a dirty disposition. It’s been a battle ground ever since.
He cries when he’s hungry. He cries when he’s done eating. He cries to get in the high chair, and cries to get out. He cries when Mikey is touching the Star Wars figures. He cries when he can’t figure out how to make cars travel vertically up a wall. He cries just to hear himself cry. Except there is no real crying. Oh, sure, he sprung a few tears that one time Mikey knocked him seven ways to Sunday during The Star Wars Battle of June 24 , but everything else? A total faker. Eyes and mouth wide, lungs loud and uvula vibrating like a punching bag, yes. Tears, no.
I ignore him when he is acting up, for the most part, as do The Mister and Mikey. This sort of behavior is unacceptable. The headstrong attitude, the manipulating, the refusal to accept any position other than his own…it’s like me as a child, only different. In my case I was totally innocent, and any bratty behavior on my part was clearly my mother’s fault.