We stood in the bathroom, debating whether medication was the route to go.
"If we give it to her, she's just going to throw up. She just took a bath and drank some Pediasure."
"If we don't give it to her, she's going to cough until she throws up. That will mean new pajamas, new sheets, another bath, and several more hours of wakefulness."
"I don't know."
"Well, we need to decide something."
"I don't know which is better."
Just then, the child standing between us vomited onto the bathroom floor, effectively ending the matter at hand.
"Did you throw up, sweetie?"
"Frow up. Yicky yicky. 'Cue me." (excuse me)
We scattered in the well-worn way we always do. Nearly mechanical, we can do it in our sleep. I fetched the wipes, Josh stripped her down. He wiped her off and passed her off to me. He scrubbed the bathroom floor, while I finished cleaning her and went to get a fresh pair of pajamas.
"Not DAH ONE!" She said, shrill with conviction when she surveyed the pajamas I chose. "Poinkoink one." (pink)
"This one? THIS pink one?" I asked, showing her the other options.
"This one?" she parroted, unsure, watching me for a clue.
I tried one of our word games, "Which one?"
Her face lit up in recognition, "Which one, which one? A dah one!" pointing at one pair of pink pajamas.
"You want to wear THESE pink ones."
Shaking with excitement, "Poinkoink ones!"
Once she was in her bed, quietly watching a LeapFrog video on the computer (vomiting makes her too wired for sleep, but activity just gets it going again), I collapsed onto the sofa next to Josh and picked up my novel. I felt Josh peering at me, through the back of it and looked up to meet his eyes. Every bit of silence in the room screamed, "Will is always be this way?" Instead, he spoke.
"How does it even happen?"
"I thought we'd have ten days at least, with the antibiotics shot in her system. I know it doesn't do anything for viruses, but you'd think we could get TEN DAYS."
"Does BubTar bring the germs home, without ever catching them himself? Other than the rash, he hasn't been sick. And well, KayTar, she's been sick since he started school, is there anything to be done about it?"
"Just wait. It will have to stop sometime, won't it? She can't just stay sick for 10 months of the year."
She cried out, ending the conversation. Josh went to check on her. I remembered BubTar needed a load of laundry done and went to start it. Josh pops in with KayTar's pillowcase and shirt, the coveted poinkoink one.
"Toss these in, too."
"She threw up again?"
"A little, not too bad. It only got on the pillow."
He left to finish tending to KayTar. I let the washer top slam of its own volition.
Around 11:45, we turned out her lights and huddled quietly on the sofa. Going to bed is too hopeful, too risky, too agitating when you might be stripping beds and cleaning vomit in a few minutes. I went back to my book; he played a video game on mute.
"Ten days..." I whispered, from behind my book. "Couldn't we have had ten days?"
He patted my leg to say, I know, I understand.
We staggered off to bed.