“I think I’m getting sick too, dad,” Madison said. These were the first words she said this morning. I took medication last night and went to bed long before Madison, she of the new summer non-bedtime. Cole and Avery both had fevers during the last week of school and it looks like they’re finally getting over it. Summer!
I strapped Cole and Avery into their high chairs. I handed Madison a bowl of breast milk and rice cereal and squash. I fed Cole and Mad fed Avery. A few minutes into breakfast Madison turned to me with a pained face. She lifted her hand to her stomach. “Are you OK?” I asked. She squinted at me. “Do you have to use the bathroom?” I asked. “I don’t know,” she said. She lifted Avery’s bowl of food to her face and coughed into it. “Why are you-” I started, but then realized she was going to throw up. But she didn’t throw up. Avery’s bowl fell out of her hand, hit the floor, and exploded all over the carpet. I looked at the splatter, then I looked back at Madison. Her eyes had rolled back into her head. She was falling backward, falling down. Everything was in slow motion. I don’t remember putting down Cole’s bowl. Somehow I caught Madison before her head hit the couch. I picked her up. “Put me on the couch” she mumbled. You already know what I did next.
“Madison just fainted.”
“Are you being serious right now?”
“What? Of course I’m ******* serious right now!”
“OK. I’m leaving work.”
First, I shouldn’t have snapped. Also, I suppose that it’s totally my fault that I screw around to the extent that when I call my wife at work and tell her that her child has fainted for no reason, her first instinct is not concern for her child, but skepticism that I am lying to her.
Madison went to the doctor and underwent a few tests. Everything points to her being fine. I have used this situation as a reason to say things like “The doctor said not to many salty things” when Mad asked for Pringles , or “I think you’re sugar intake is too high, the doctor said,” when she asked if she could have a Dr. Pepper with lunch. After about the 15th time I uttered some variation of these statements, Madison finally snapped. “THE DOCTOR DIDN’T EVEN SAY THAT!” she screamed. It was at this exact moment that Lynnette pointed out I wasn’t even there, that I had stayed home to watch the twins. WE’RE SUPPOSED TO BE ON THE SAME PAGE, LYNNETTE.
It should be obvious that this kind of humor is my primary defense mechanism against fear. When she was on her way to the floor, I have no idea how I got to her in time. When I swept her up in my arms, it was as if she weighed nothing. “You didn’t sound too stressed out when you called,” Lynnette said later. Maybe. I don’t know. It happened too fast. Madison said that her vision went bad. “I tried to put the bowl on the table, and I tried to find the table but I couldn’t see it,” she said. “Umm, you missed the table, in case you were wondering,” I said. She laughed. “Dad!” she said. She went on to speak of her experience so calmly. “I’m just glad you’re OK,” I told her when we got home from running a few errands. This fear and helplessness is the worst part of parenthood. This time, though, it seems as if there’s a happy ending. We can joke about it now.
In about 15 minutes, I plan on telling Madison that the doctor said she has to go to bed at 8 PM. She’s going to flip out. It’s going to be awesome. I love you, Goob.