I always figured that once a kid turned four, he pretty much was set and was ready to toddle off to kindergarten and a world of cooperative play, use of manners and decent eating habits. This is because the child-rearing books I had ended at four. It seemed to me that at four, you could reason with a kid, teach him things, and work from there.
You can stop laughing now.
It's interesting, though -- if a kid hasn't done something before, you still have to teach him, no matter how old he is.
John has been sick to the point of vomiting before. He was airsick when we flew to California three years ago. He got sick twirling on the tire swing two years ago. But today was his first tummy bug.
He was sitting on the toilet, doing his morning business, when I heard him call, "I think I'm going to barf!" I ran in, and he was sitting, stricken, not able to figure out what to do. I had to walk him through it ("OK, wipe...OK, pull up your pants, you're OK") before the onslaught.
He stood over the toilet, wracked, and then hollered, "I DON'T WANT TO DO IT! BUT I HAVE TO!"
It's hard to learn how to let your body do what it has to do. Especially when it hurts.
I bought some ginger ale and put it in a tall plastic cup that has a smiley face and "Have a happy day" on it. John, after throwing up, slept for two hours. When he woke up, he saw the cup and said, "I like this cup. I like it a lot."
"When I was young, my mom used to put pop in this cup when I was sick. And when I grew up, she gave it to me so I could use it with my own kids."
John smiled. "And I'm the first one in our family to use it." He took a sip. "I think I will! I think I will have a happy day."