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Thursday, April 01, 2004

Great Mysteries Vol. I

The Discovery Channel and National Geographic are chock full of amazing stories about herds of elephants and zebras making instinctive migrations across the Serengeti generation after generation. We all know about the inexplicable ability of salmon to return to their spawning grounds year after year, and the uncanny ability of seals and walruses to return to the same arctic cliffs and ledges to bear their young without benefit of OnStar® or GPS.

So why am I baffled about how all children seem to instinctively know that vomit is a problem they can only bring to daddy?

This morning, around 5:00AM (has any kid in the history of the world ever thrown up in the afternoon???) my daughter Ariella nudged me awake to inform me she wasn’t feeling well.

Now for all you non-fathers out there… nothing, but nothing will yank you out of a sound sleep faster than a moaning kid complaining of ‘not feeling well’ six inches from your ear. As I vaulted out of bed and started ‘guiding her briskly’ (translation: giving her the bum’s rush) towards our bathroom (carefully pointing the moaning part away from me) she tearfully informed me that this morning’s revelry had been underway for some time…that is, she had already redecorated the floor in the upstairs hallway and guestroom in the festive colors of last night’s dinner.

Now, mothers may wear the badge of labor and delivery on their sleeves like combat medals, but where are those brave souls when the vomit hits the floor? Nowhere to be found, I can assure you!

After getting Ari settled comfortably in front of a movie in the living room, I did the ‘condemned man’ walk up the stairs to survey the damage. No matter how many times a father has cleaned up his children’s messes, he is never fully prepared for the next one. Suffice it to say, if a spot ever opens up in one of the NYPD Homicide Squads, I can point proudly to my own resume of grisly crime scenes.

The funny part is, I have crystal clear recollections of waking my father with plenty of early morning emergencies. It would never have occurred to me to go to my mom…the ‘on-call’ light was only lit on dad’s side of the bed. I can also remember plenty of times when I waited a little too long for the rumbling in my stomach to reach critical mass, or took a wrong turn on the way to the bathroom. Yeah, you got it… “Dad, I’m not feeling well”.

You might be asking, ‘why didn’t you wake up your wife for help?’ The simple answer is I didn’t want to clean up two messes. Just as there are housekeepers that ‘don’t do windows’…my lovely wife ‘doesn’t do vomit’. Fair enough.

I guess if our lives were ever made into an Animal Kingdom special, the announcer (in hushed tones) would point out to the viewers ‘the instinctive division of labor in the typical human family’: “Notice how the mother human births and feeds the young while the father human intuitively takes responsibility for cleaning up the unspeakable mess the kids make when they are sick…”.

All I can say is, it’s a good thing our kids are cute…otherwise I could see why, in some species, fathers eat their young.

Posted by David Bogner on April 1, 2004 | Permalink

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You just won the Boy Scout's merit badge "Valor of Vomit". Congrats!

Posted by: Jim | Apr 1, 2004 6:21:37 PM

Jim:

I'm assuming that that particular merit badge looks suspiciously like a stain...

Posted by: David | Apr 1, 2004 7:52:52 PM

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