He was gone for about five hours total, and during those five hours, I let the kids take care of themselves. Between bouts of puking, I got a good look at what a child's descent into ferality would look like. You read about kids getting abandoned and how they lived off of ketchup packets and dry pasta for two weeks and I feel like I understand that so much more now.
1. For meals, the girls were limited to the food Miriam could reach. Magdalena had a fruit leather for breakfast, cut into little pieces with scissors that Miriam fetched for me. I cut the pieces while lying down, they fell on the floor, and Miriam gathered them up for Magdalena to eat.
2. Lunch was bread. Miriam ate her piece plain and broke up another piece for Magdalena.
3. We usually drink water out of a Brita pitcher, but yesterday Miriam filled up her water bottle and Magdalena's sippy cup straight out of the tap. What can I say? Desperate times call for desperate measures.
4. To fill the time, we all went into the girls' bedroom, Miriam closed the door, and I lay down and just let them play. I did not enforce any of the regular rules, which is how Magdalena ended up playing with baby wipes, shredding them in small pieces, and spreading them around the room. And probably eating some, too.
5. Miriam played on sesamestreet.org for approximately 20 hours. She watched videos and played games featuring characters whose voices were each more strident and annoying than the last.
I ended up doing only two child-care activities the whole time. I changed Magdalena's poopy diaper (after Miriam informed me of its existence) and I got up off the floor to turn down the volume on Miriam's computer game.
When Jeremy got home, instead of giving him a hero's welcome, it was all I could do to roll over, say congratulations, and wait to throw up until he had left the room. Then Dr. Palmer had to take care of two neglected kids the rest of the day. What a way to celebrate.
Fortunately, I'm feeling a lot better today. It's a good thing, too, because today is our last day in Tucson. We'll see how good at packing I am living off of nothing but saltines and 7up for the last 36 hours.
Discussion question, and I really am curious about this: do you throw up into a bucket or the toilet? When I was a kid, we threw up the first time wherever, most often on the (carpeted) threshhold to the bathroom - I don't know why we kids never seemed to be able to make it those last five feet. Then my mom always put us on the couch and gave us a bucket. That way, we were able to throw up without having to make a mad dash to the bathroom. The buckets my family used were always old Costco-sized candy containers, which may explain my strange aversion to red licorice and Whoppers.
Is the bucket thing weird? Or smart?