The Kid With The Trick Esophagus

by anna on February 5, 2010

Mini is blessed child in many ways. He was born into a fair share of privilege and has already evident gifts and talents that extend beyond the average child. We know this.

Having a trick sphincter on your esophagus, though, is not one of them — the kid pukes at the drop of a hat.

It usually starts with coughing, and at present, Mini has the dregs of a respiratory bug, so coughing has been happening more often than usual. This would not be a big deal, if it weren’t for the fact that the kid has an esophagus that apparently goes both ways. He has a bisexual, switch-hitting esophagus that listens to Rod Stewart in its free time. Have I tortured this metaphor enough yet? No? Dude’s esophagus is only supposed to go one way, yet it’s been convincingly linked to both David Bowie and Iggy Pop circa 1970.

So, Mini will be coughing, and often the coughing will start right after he’s eaten or otherwise ingested some kind of substance. It could be anything, but it seems to happen in direct proportion to how disgusing the substance is that he’s ingested when it is regurgitated. Take bacon, for instance — Mini might be eating a piece of bacon, and then he starts coughing. The coughing then might escalate, and then I might start to break out into a cold sweat, because — yep, there’s the puke. So that first bout of puke was really just a cough kind of thing, too much food in the mouth/gullet while he’s trying to eat. But then, he’s seen that he’s puked, and that triggers another, in earnest puke, in the grand tradition of that anecdote from Stand By Me.

But it is not just after eating. It could also be that he’s gotten too upset and is gasping for too much air. Like if we tell him he cannot have something, go somewhere, do something, and he gets upset (like a normal toddler who has been deflected from his desired goals), but if he happens to be tired or hungry at the time of this disappointment, the level of upset will escalate and possibly turn into crying. If this happens, all endeavors must be immediately taken to get him to calm down, or else vomit will be forthcoming. It’s gotten to the point that if Mini’s starting to get upset, I’ll have to say, “Mini, you have got to calm down, or else you’r'e going to throw up.” Which tends to just make things worse.

So, the other day we’re at school and Mini says, “I threw up dragon juice!” in front of one of his teachers. For the record, “dragon juice” is Tylenol in the parlance of the Right-Click household. We had given him some the other night, probably ill-advisedly, because we thought maybe he was sick. It turns out he wasn’t. So now I’m at school, where the only rule about when kids need to stay home is if they’ve had a fever, which Mini most definitely does not have, but the teacher’s looking at me because first of all what the hell is dragon juice? Oh, it’s Tylenol is it? And your kid is throwing it up? And you’re saying he’s not sick?

So then I feel like I’m lying to the preschool teacher, and I’m the scumbag trying to pawn off a vomiting kid with a fever masked by Tylenol on her, because clearly I’m the worst mother in the world, and I’d rather have my dragon juice vomiting kid at school than have to deal with him myself. But really, it was all just a misunderstanding. And a trick esophagus.

{ 3 comments }

Maureen@IslandRoar February 5, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Like kids with asthma coughing who are not really “sick;” I feel your pain.
Neat trick, btw, one he’ll hopefully outgrow.
For some reason Tylenol got dubbed “Meanies” in our house. Where do these names come from?

Juliet Grossman February 6, 2010 at 9:05 am

Blergh. You have my sincerest sympathy. Ick. Nothing worse to deal with or try to clean up. I have been known to just give up before even trying and throw clothes, blankets, stuffed animals etc away. I do think this sounds like something he will outgrow.

beth aka confusedhomemaker February 6, 2010 at 8:39 pm

I was that kid. I got sick ALL. THE. TIME. (caps for extreme emphasis important), but I was never actually sick. It sucked, so I feel for mini & for you because I remember my Mom in similar situations.

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