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What kind of kid gets sick in August? Or: The post in which I invent the term ‘smile-stab’ August 10, 2010

Posted by Erin F. Wasinger in Kind of unreasonable, Pesky memories.

Story time! Gather ’round children: When I was about 14, my family and I and some cousins and aunts and uncles were going to go to Chicago for a vacation.

The night before, my mom and my two brothers and I peeled ourselves away from late afternoon black-and-white reruns on TV to eat a dinner of macaroni and cheese and hot dogs. We were very, very healthy eaters. All the time.

I dug in my plate but my brothers hovered over theirs. “I’m waiting for it to cool off,” my brother Derrick said.

Famous last words. They’ve haunted us for more than a decade now; we still bring them up in jokes and when we’re really asking “Do you feel OK?” I remember it clearly, like he just said it a second ago: “I’m waiting for it to cool off.”

Seconds later, of course, he was puking to my left and then my youngest brother, Christopher, was puking to my right, and I was pinned between the table in front of me, a wall behind me and two puking brothers on either side. I screamed “NO, MOM, NO! MAKE THEM STOP, I WANT TO GO TO CHICAGO” and rammed Christopher’s chair forward — mid-puke because I’m that sympathetic — to run out to the garage. I held my breath the whole way out, all the way to the backseat of the car, where I hid, crying because I JUST DO NOT DO VOMIT.

I’m a natural born nurse, obviously.


This little family gem popped in my head this morning when Alice threw up over breakfast. I do mean “over” in the literal sense, SORRY INTERNET, but I think you, the childless bunch, need to know what you’re signing up for. It’s not just being able to watch cartoons and buy stuffed animals and cutesy dresses (oh, and that family togetherness thing, too). It’s not: Sometimes it’s puke at 7 a.m. I forget that often. Selective acknowledgment.

We were supposed to leave at 7 a.m. tomorrow for vacation, a misnomer because our three-day jaunt to Ohio is full of people (us included) smile-stabbing (new verb, I’m trademarking it) other people over how we’re going to divide our short time there. I’m pumped about seeing new babies, the only woman I can call my BFF without gagging at the junior high school-sound to the phrase, and of course our families. It’s just … Hard.

And now you have vomit on top of that.

You just know — you KNOW — that Violet’s next. You do. It’s coming. PLEEEEAAAASE, no. Please, fate, nooooooooooo.

Last night we were taking pictures of Alice kissing Violet. Note to self: STOP THAT.



1. Mom and Bernie - August 10, 2010

Remember…we still went to Chicago. It’ll be fine.

2. Alisa - August 12, 2010

Yeah…I remember being about 4 and being sick. Mommy put me at the table with a piece of fried chicken which I puked all over. Plates are wonderful vomit-holders. Mommy said nothing. She simply removed the plate and placed a new one in front of me with a fresh piece of chicken (a leg, I remember) which I ate, then went back to bed. Nothing but respect for mothers.
And then it came full circle. FFWD several decades and I find myself holding my hands out for my grandmother in the nursing home. Catching it all. Ain’t family grand? They are the only ones who will do that for you. 🙂

3. Erika Meller - August 16, 2010

HA! Love the phrase “smile-stab.” Was talking to a colleague and mentioned that one of my friends invented this cool new phrase and without missing a beat (or my having to explain what it means) he replied, “Yeah, you do that… a lot actually.” Thanks for giving me a term to explain my actions!

Oh and by the way… I MISS YOU (and Dave)!!!!

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