Photo: Illustration: Steven Foley

Dear Play Date Parent

My bad.

By Meredith Bland

Dear Play Date Parent,

Good evening.

If my watch is correct, by now you should be shin-deep in vomit and explosive diarrhea. Expect this to continue for another 8-12 hours before your child slips into a damp, angry, sticky stupor.

If you are slightly suspicious of my ability to foreshadow your next 24 hours, you have good reason. Yes, my kid was way, way sick today during our play date. Cooper is patient 0.

I know, I know. Total parenting foul. I'm sorry. But, hear me out. So... remember all that rain we had last week? And how chilly it was? Just cold and wet and YUCK, am I right?! Right.



So, little Cooper and I ended up spending a lot of time indoors. Just the two of us. Mamma-a-mano. And it was pretty rough. Wanna know what happens in that episode where Caillou goes to the library? No? Well, guess what happens when you watch it 6 times in 3 days? It's all you see in your dreams, friend. Just Caillou and my high school softball coach. It's weird times.

When Coop started throwing up yesterday, I thought, “He's sick! Gosh, that's too bad. I wonder if he'll spend the whole day in bed sleeping, or...?”

The answer to that is a big ol' NO, by the way.

But you know that by now, don't you! HA! Yeah.

Aaaaaaaaanyway, pretty soon it was coming out of both ends. I ended up just leaving the boy in the tub naked for the afternoon, tossing him the occasional snack and blasting the shower from time to time to rinse everything down. You know what would have been super handy? A murder room. You know – tile walls, concrete floor, drain in the middle... I'm just thinking about cleanliness, here.

The good news is, this too shall end. I am assuming. We aren't quite there yet, which brings me back to the reason for this e-mail.

This morning, after Cooper woke up and I hosed him off, I realized he was still not at 100%. More like 75%. And so, I faced a common parenting quandary. Do I take my sick kid to this activity and cross my fingers, or do I do the right and honorable thing and cancel so as not to infect your household.

I chose dishonorably.

Dude, I HAD to! I had been stuck inside with this kid and his juices for almost a week! I had to get out! And he was looking so much better this morning! He ate a corner off his toast, he sometimes stood up and walked around. I figured I could totally get away with this. And I almost did, even though every time he passed gas I went on point like a hunting dog, sniffing for nightmares. But nothing happened! HURRAH!

After we got home I did start to feel pretty guilty, though. And after seeing your update on Facebook (“Ew god!!! Where is it all coming from?!!") I thought I should fess up and apologize.

So... sorry.

I promise I won't ever do it again. Truthsies. And if it makes you feel better, I promise to match you symptom-for-symptom during your next pregnancy. No, I am not going to have another baby. That's why this proves how far I will go to make this up to you. You gain weight? I'll match it. You have morning sickness? I will stick my fingers down my throat everytime you text me with a frowny face. You get hemmeroids? I will give myself a hemmerhoid. Oh, I can do it. Don't ask me how.

Forgive me. I am a terrible person.

See you at the park?

Me


Meredith Bland blogs at Pile of Babies and has been published on the website the Errant Parent.

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"A diamond with a flaw is worth more than a pebble without imperfections." -- Chinese Proverb