I wrote this a long time ago. I currently do not have a four-year-old. Thank Jesus for that.
Merrie Cannon is my daughter. She’s four-years-old, and the reason I smile most of the time. She’s perfectly “4,” and I couldn’t be more proud… even if she were a boy.
Merrie is special. She’s so smart and brave and inquisitive and bright. But she’s just 4, and that means she has a long way to go. A lot to learn. A lot left to do in her life and many more things to endure — like the thing that happened last night.
She got sick.
The poor thing had been complaining of a stomach ache for a few hours, but her mother and I kept saying things like: Baby, you’re just hungry. After you eat dinner, you’ll be fine. And, Honey, hush. I know your tummy hurts, but there’s nothing we can do about it right now. Just watch TV.
Well, she showed us.
After a yelp and a pitiful little cough, Merrie let loose of just about everything she’d consumed over the past week: Hot dogs, gummy worms, Kool-Aid, green bean casserole, corn chips, vegetable soup, cheese puffs, popcorn, barbecue chicken salad, spaghetti, Lucky Charms, milk, hashbrowns, scrambled eggs, Hamburger Helper, strawberry ice cream and little bits of an almost-digested granola bar.
It was among the most amazing things I have ever seen (and I once saw a one-armed man kayak down the Colorado River at the Grand Canyon! That was something to behold, but this… this was special). Anyway, Merrie hasn’t had too many vomit-experiences — thank God — so she was almost as stunned as the rest of us when the hurl from hell hit. She stood there, hovering over her bile, making “uuuhhh” sounds and motioning for her mother and I to “come here.”
After cleaning the mess, I sat with my sweet child on the couch and she began to complain about her nose: “It burns, Daddy.”
I knew exactly what she was feeling. I’d been there before. I knew that what my angel was referring to was the acidic remnants that had lodged themselves between the roof of her mouth and her nasal passage. I went to college. I am… familiar.
What happened next was all my fault. I know that now, and I accept it. But I’m still brought to uncontrollable gagging even now – 27 hours later – just thinking about it.
Me: Baby, you’re gonna have to blow your nose.
Merrie: But I don’t want to. I’ll taste it.
Me: You won’t taste it. It’ll come right out into the Kleenex. Here, just blow… one, two… three!
She blew and immediately started to heave. Her stomach was empty, so she commenced to the ever-miserable “dry heave” — or so I thought. With a look of fear, disgust and surprise all at the same time, Merrie stood up straight, took a deep breath and then spit a noodle out of her mouth with such velocity that it stuck right in the middle of my forehead.
I couldn’t get out of the way fast enough. It was like a scene from The Matrix, gone wrong. I saw it coming in slow motion. It made 3 full revolutions before slapping me right between the eyes.
Baby girl immediately started to laugh, and I fell backwards as if she’d just hit me with a 4×4. The noodle went flying into the air and, after rolling around on the floor like a man on fire, I was able to regain my composure and “laugh it off” with her.
Merrie Cannon was fine when she woke up this morning. She has been her normal, sweet, smart, brave and inquisitive self all day.
Now, if I could just get her to help me find that noodle.