Having a sick child is the pits. Having one with no clear signs of illness that suddenly throws up on public is worse than the pits. That is what happened to me today. I don’t know if I handled it well, or even made the right decisions. But now that we are home, my sweet girls curled up with some dry Cheerios and a show on TV, I figure I can’t be the only one this has ever happened to.

It started at 6 am. Well, really at 2 am when I first heard her start to stir. She sort of whimpered and whined a little and then calmed back down and went back to sleep. Having woken me, I checked on all three girls and found them to be cool to the touch and sound asleep. I then drifted back into slumber when awoken with, ‘MOOOM”!

When Your Child Throws Up in Public

Running into her room, she says she is about to be sick so I lead her to the restroom. She sort of did get sick. Like a little but not full on. She was cool to the touch and so, after a few minutes, I put her back to bed. When I woke the other two for school, I let her sleep. I figure she needed it and was still on the fence about whether she was sick or not. No way was I chancing it by having her go to school.

The poor thing slept until almost 10. Figuring she was starting to come down with something, I dug out the thermometer. It didn’t work. I went for my back up thermometer. I could not get it off Celsius. Not being able to figure out how to google the Fahrenheit equivalent, I went for the third thermometer. Dead. Making a note to get a new thermometer, I got her dressed and situated on the couch.

Right as I get her relaxed, the lawn crew shows up. I check my purse and realize that I forgot to make my weekly trip to the bank for cash. So I check Sarah again and tell her that we need to run to the bank. She pops up as if nothing is wrong and we head out. She turns down a piece of toast and I chock it up to still feeling a little puny from being up at night.

We take care of business at the bank and I start to head home. Remembering the great thermometer debacle, I decided to head into Target. The pharmacy area is at the front, after all, so the stop in will be swift.

Ye of forgetful parenting karma.

I grab Sarah and carry her with me as we get to the children’s aisle. Thermometer, cough medicine and allergy medication needing my hands, I let her down to walk. We get to the check out aisle and I remember that I really, really need trash bags for my outside trash cans. I look down and ask Sarah how she feels. She beams back her priceless smile and says, “Fine!’. So we leave the line and head down the aisle to the trash bag area.

Back at the check out line, I am waiting on the person in front of my to pay. My arm is around Sarah to comfort her and to prevent her from touching anything in case she is coming down with something. Just as it is our turn to check out, I hear a weak, ‘mom’ from my girl and look down to see her pale with her hand over her mouth. Going into emergency mode, I grab a plastic bag from the bagging rack, tell the checker I will be right back and head to the bathroom with Sarah.

Halfway there, it starts. I think I have the bag placed correctly but I don’t and I feel the result splash onto my flip flopped foot and splatter all over the floor. Too late to stop it and adjust the bag, the poor baby keeps going. In between heaves I walk her closer to the family bathroom. It is locked.

Such is the luck of the mom.

I keep moving her forward, getting to the bathroom without any other large deposits to the floors of Target for all to see. And be grossed out by.

I did not realize it but an elderly woman had followed us in. With kind and understanding eyes she told Sarah that she hoped she felt better very soon. She smiled at me and nodded her head as if understanding all of the emotions I was dealing with at the moment. Fear that my daughter has some serious illness, be-ration for having her out of the house at all, and embarrassment at the trail of my error had left on the floor of the store.

I get Sarah, and my foot, cleaned up and washed off with cool towels and her color seems to return. I gather her in my arms and head back to the check out, now knowing I really needed the thermometer.

We check out to the kind, ‘It’s OK.’ to my constant apologies to the checker and the people cleaning up Sarah’s remnants. I feel flustered and guilty and am trying to figure out the fastest route to her pediatricians office.

As I walk out, hoping I will be forgotten as soon as an unruly child knocks over the Goldfish display, Sarah in my arms, my big bag of goods knocks into the Starbucks coffee sign and knocks it over.

I keep going.

What else can I do?

When your child throws up in public, there is not much else you can do, I think.

An hour later, phone call with the pediatrician’s office telling me that since she has not had a fever (she still doesn’t, says new thermometer), and is not vomiting on a regular basis, there is not much they can do, she is curled up in my bed. Her memory of the trip to Target is probably long gone. But I still want to take the whole staff cupcakes. I will feel bad for days.

How do you handle when things go so wrong out in public? What could I have done better? Besides not leave the house :)