"Mama, my tummy hurts."
Maia's been saying this for the last couple days, complete with her freshly acquired /r/ phoneme. I have a few responses for this, including, "Does that mean you don't want to eat?" "Is it a poo-poo hurt?" "Can you still go to school?" "Maybe a Tums would help" and, finally, "It'll probably feel better in the morning."
This morning: "Mama, my tummy hurts."
We had a pretty busy day set up. As members of the Missabe Railroad Historical Society, every year we participate in the train cleaning at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum. The trains are terribly dusty, but we get to climb all over them in a way regular patrons aren't allowed to, and at the end there's pizza and pop and beer, and nothing beats that.
Then it was time for new pacs at Minnesota Surplus, Crocs at the (yes) mall, and then home, maybe a little hit at DQ on the way.
So I said, "Do you want to have some breakfast and see what happens?"
She nodded and had an oatmeal-to-go, and the day began.
The kids were finally old enough to really participate in the cleaning. John washed every window in four cars, while Maia alternated between washing the trucks and wheels and sitting under the cars, murmuring in a sing-song, "Mama, my tummy hurts."
I took her to the bathroom a couple times, and her unfailing good mood made me think everything was OK.
At lunch, she refused pizza but drank a lot of pop. "Mama, my tummy hurts."
"Well, let's get into the car and you can take a little nap."
Minnesota Surplus (West End) always makes me feel like I'm shopping in the 1970s. It's kind of tacky and odd, and they still sit you down to measure your feet. They always have exactly what I need when I need it, it's made in a country with labor laws that are actually written down, and the price is always right. We were in and out in 10 minutes, two pairs of pacs heavier and about $27 lighter.
"Mama, my tummy hurts," Maia said after gamely trying on boots and hopping around the store.
"Close your eyes on the way to the mall," I said.
All the way up the hill, they played ro-sham-bo, which John described as a Chinese version of rock-paper-scissors. Meanwhile, I steeled myself for going into the mall, which was the only place I could think of to buy Crocs.
"Mama, my tummy hurts," Maia said after we got out of the car. Her /r/ was beginning to soften a little bit, and I figured she was tired.
"Let's grab your Crocs, and then we'll head home, and you can sleep all the way home," I replied.
We plunged into the smelly food court. The Crocs kiosk was right behind it. We puttered around, finding what Maia wanted and trying them on. We picked out a couple of those widget things that plug into the holes in Crocs and rang it up.
"Mama, my tummy huwts," Maia said.
"We're just about done here," I said.
Do you have any idea how much Crocs cost? I have never bought any; both kids' pairs were grandparent purchases. I always thought they were kind of like $15 or so, or whatever. When the nice Crocs kiosk lady told me they were $29, plus I'm not even going to tell you how much for the widget hole-plugging gizmos, I hitched for a minute.
I'm going to take a minute here and make a plug for Okabashi Shoes, which are made in U.S.A. and have a lot of the same qualities of Crocs -- they feel great on the feet (I have two pair), they are basically plastic that can be washed, they're cute. They're comparable in price, and did I mention that they're made in the U.S.? They also have a dressier line called Shoes That Love You, and as Crocs makes their big push with their high heels and whatever, I'd ask you to remember Okabashis. And then you can buy me these.
So I was sitting there looking at what I was about to put on my credit card for these plastic shoes that I had been promising all weekend because Maia's had broken, and the whole world stopped for a minute and went silent as I was trying to decide what to do, because I hate going to the mall but would almost hate wasting a trip to the mall even more, and I would hate to go back on a promise especially when we had picked something out, and I was sitting there looking at the bright green numbers on the cash register when Maia took a small step away from me and murmured something.
"What's that, Pie?" I said, and she said, "Mama, I think I'm gonna bawf."
And she leaned over and did, quite neatly.
And I said, "Oh, shit."
And the nice Crocs lady said, "Oh, no."
And John said, "Oh, oh, aww! Oh, I can't even LOOK at it! MOM!"
And Maia barfed again, still leaning over.
And I said, "I'm sorry, but I'm going to let her finish here, so it's all in one place."
And the nice Crocs lady said, "Oh, that's fine. Poor thing. It's no big deal."
And John said, "Mom, whenever I see barf, it makes me --"
And Maia barfed again. I told John to get out of the way, I told the nice Crocs lady to swipe my card, and by the time Maia barfed a couple more times, I had signed the receipt and got everything bagged, and a mall keeper had come by with a "wet floor" sign to keep everyone away.
Maia hawked and spit, straightened up, and stood quietly. I said, "Are you done?" She nodded serenely. I apologized again to the Crocs lady, who told Maia she was brave and then gave her a sticker. Maia thanked her and we went to the bathroom to rinse her mouth and tidy up.
She slept all the way home, until we were four miles away and she woke up and said, "Mama, my tummy huhts."
I pulled over as quick as I could, which wasn't quite quick enough, and half ended up in my car (yeah, the new one), so this is where I plug Lloyd's Cleaners, made in Duluth, which not only cleaned off this new stain but a several-week-old coffee stain that I didn't get to right away.
Maia slept all afternoon, took a bath and went to bed. As for me, my tummy hurts.