Baby Brother rubbed his stomach.
As he was still taking his place as a speaker in the world, he did not waste words. He appeared to appreciate the power that using just a word or two held over crying for five minutes. The wrinkles in his forehead and appearance of being slightly green around the gills tipped me off as to the acute nature of this malady.
“Hurt,” he repeated.
I knelt in front of him and gazed into his deep brown eyes, in a nonverbal show of support and understanding. He grabbed me around the neck and with a whimper, he began the process of bringing everything he ate over the last 24 hours back into the light of day.
I scooped his thirty pounds up into my arms and rushed him into the bathroom while he threw up over my shoulder and onto my back and the floor. His stomach contents rested for just a second before they began to burn my skin. The smell permeated into my nostrils.
Once he finished, I turned on a warm shower to rinse lunch, breakfast and dinner, in that order, from his arms and legs.
“Missed a piece on your forehead, buddy.”
I flicked a bit of apple from his face and watched it travel down the drain.
Meanwhile, Little Legs had followed us into the bathroom.
“What happened, Mama?” he asked.
I focused on bringing Baby Brother out of the shower and toweling him dry as he shivered and said, “Brother got sick and we have to clean him up now.”
Only when I heard the clink of metal hitting the tile did I turn around to see that Little Legs brought his bowl of soup and was eating chicken and stars on the bathroom floor, in a show of support, but mostly curiosity.
“We don’t eat soup in the bathroom, Little Legs. Go back to the table.”
“Why not, Mama?”
Indeed, why not? It was the thousandth question of the day. I still needed to change clothes, mop the bathroom floor, get Baby Brother some Pedialyte and put everything away from lunch. On a normal day, we wouldn’t eat soup anywhere but the table, but this wasn’t a normal day.
This was a bathroom soup type of day.