None of my 8 parenting books ever mentioned this

Elle had just returned from the Great D.C. Adventure when she was invited to one of her best friend’s birthday slumber party…with 12 other little girls.  So after two nights in her own bed (after more than a week away), Elle packed her bag again and headed over to T’s house.  Elle’s two days home should have been spent relaxing but were instead spent walking the aisles of the commissary and helping to clean the garage.  This kid got no rest but she’s a kid, so I didn’t think anything of it.

I picked her up yesterday around noon and she informed me that she didn’t sleep at all last night.  The other girls at the party were the squealy-OMG-IT’S-JUSTIN-BIEBER kind and, even according to T’s mom, there was non-stop squealing long into the following morning.  Only 3 girls actually fell asleep.  T’s mom wasn’t even one of them.

Elle fell asleep in my bed around 5pm on Saturday and slept and slept and slept.  Finally, at midnight, I gave up hope that I would ever see my own pillow last night and grabbed a blanket and some pajamas and headed into the guest room.  A wonky mattress is better than the floor, right?

At 9 o’clock this morning, Elle was crying.  “My legs are wiggly and I can’t stop shaking.  My stomach hurts…like, pain!” And the crying was awful.  She’s a tough kid when she’s sick.  She never cries! 

What the hell was happening?  Some freaky paralysis? Appendicitis?  And her hands were shaking.  I mean, they were really, really shaking.  And she said she didn’t have to use the bathroom. After being asleep for over 15 hours, she didn’t have to use the bathroom?  That just didn’t sound right.

So, like the mean and scared and confused mom that I am, I made her get out of bed and use the bathroom.  Her legs nearly fell out from under her and I held her up to help her walk.  And she did what I needed her to do. 

Then she threw up.

And she couldn’t breathe.  She hyperventilated and started to choke and I started to panic.  I told her to Calm down, calm down…take a breath, just slow down – the bad part is all over now.  She freaked out (again, something she never does when she’s sick) and started yelling I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe! Elle was obviously straining to even get those words out.  And while she was yelling I can’t breathe! she climbed onto the countertops in the bathroom when she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror.  Then for some strange reason, she just started to spit all over the place.  It was like a wild animal had taken over.

Then I screamed for help from either of my parents who were, up to that moment, enjoying their breakfast and newspaper.  But there was no way I could get Elle off the counters, it was almost like all the strength she felt she was missing 10 minutes prior to this event had come through in a double-dose of adrenaline.

So my dad took her pulse and calmed her down while I just ran my fingers through her hair and decided to take her to the local Children’s Hospital ER.  But while I was getting dressed for the ride downtown, Elle started to walk around the house and ask for something to eat.  She wasn’t shaking anymore and her limbs were in perfect working order, her stomach was calm again, and I couldn’t get Elle to stay away from the Saltines.  It was kind of like her body had purged out some kind of demon and gave me back my kid.

Seriously, what the hell was that?

And she’s fine.  She had lunch and she had dinner and she had dessert.  She went shoe-shopping with me and managed to walk around the grocery store this afternoon for almost an hour to pick out school lunches and snacks, because school starts tomorrow. 

It’s like nothing happened.  Except that she climbed all over the damn bathroom counters and spit on everything like something had taken over her mind, body, and soul and chewed her up and spit her out!  Honestly, it was like the freakiest thing ever.


About Dena

I'm a suburban Clevelander by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
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