She barfs with such maturity and composure. I'm always a little awed. She might be whimpering, but she marches into the bathroom, balances herself on the edge of the can and heaves. When it's over, she grabs a towel and dries her mouth. If it actually made her feel better, she will swish water in her mouth. (If it didn't, she will make a sad face and march back to bed.) It looks lonely: Just a 4-year-old and an irritant that I can't register.
Of course, this starts messy. The barf in the night. The chunky one that wakes her.
"Mammmmmaaaaaa!" she called at 2 a.m. last night. "I throwed up."
The mounds were contained in California, the pink mermaid sleeping bag she's been sleeping in for months. I am not bad at a middle-of-the-night problem solving. We grab her guy Ruff and head into the spare room, which she refers to as "Grandma and Grandpa's room." We snuggle, sort of. She couldn't fathom sticking a toothbrush in her mouth, so she blows acidic air. For the next six hours, I will wake when she whimpers, lift her from the bed, follow her into the bathroom and watch this glimpse of who she could be as an adult. Confident. Self-sufficient. Efficient in crisis. She wipes her mouth with the towel, clomps back to bed.
I was not like this. At all. I was a Pollock puker, spontaneously spraying. We had a special pot that went next to the bed when we were sick. I prefered to launch a load into the carpeting. I remember screaming for my mom even when I just had cramps. She would come into my room with Advil and question whether my moans and groans accurately conveyed the pain.