Forever Unclean

Fingal office chair from IKEA.

Fingal office chair from IKEA.

I was reading in bed last night when I heard a strange splattering noise coming from my daughter’s bedroom. I ran in to find my middle daughter sitting in her sister’s IKEA desk chair with her pants around her ankles.

She was not awake.

Her body must have sensed the chair and thought, “good enough.” Some bad things were done to that chair.

“Honey, honey, this isn’t the bathroom.” Still not awake.

A brief cease fire, and I took the opportunity to whisk her into the bathroom. Just as I got in, and before I set her down, she made the tell-tale vomit sound. I turned her around and aimed her at the toilet (the seat was still down) and she fired from the other end. I’d say about 95% of it hit the target. After another round of vomiting, she was ready to fire out the other end again. A quick wipe of the seat (I was holding her with one arm the whole time) and I turned her around just in time.

Poor kid must have caught a stomach bug. There was no cleaning her up with toilet paper, so I started the shower. At some point she woke up and asked, “Why am I in the bathroom?”

“You got sick, honey. Time to take a shower.”

“Okay.”

While I got the middle child clean (and the other two girls slumbered on, thankfully,) Bromleigh took on the horrifying task of cleaning up the desk chair. She did what she could, man, but the seat of that desk chair is porous. The chair would be forever unclean. Pressing down on the seat always brought forth a new wave of horror. Always. So I took it out to the trash.

I can already imagine those smug childless people (the ones who chose to be that way and like to point it out a lot – #notallchildlesspeople) enjoying a certain amount of schadenfreude (“This is why I don’t have children,” or “Ooh, children are gross,) but I wasn’t the least bit put out by any of the events. Instead, I was consumed by love for my poor sick child; Bromleigh and I wanted to do everything we could to make it better for the kid. It’s a strange thing – perhaps you love them the most when they’re the most vulnerable.

As for the chair, it wasn’t by the trash can when I went out this morning. Someone must have thought, “Cool, free chair.”

Bromleigh said, “Maybe we should have put a sign on it.”

Yeah. Maybe we should have.

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Josh Hammond writes things. He has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University.

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