Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The One With All The Vomit

Yesterday, all schools in Orange County administered (or tried to anyway since, yay technology, not everyone was actually able to take the test) the almighty FSA Writing Test. Every day since August, students have been taught how to read informative texts, then regurgitate that information in the form of an essay using a very specific template. Kids have heard at least 58,649 times, "You need to learn this because - FSA." The test is designed to
A. Teach kids how to write like robots.
B. Suck any love of learning out of students
C.  Drain every last ounce of natural creativity out of children by forced conformity.
D.  Make kids throw up in nervous apprehension because "this test is more important than anything in the world and if you fail it, you'll have to repeat this grade, you'll never get in to college, the only employment you'll qualify for is at McDonald's, and you'll probably perpetually have split ends and bad skin."

I was displaced from my classroom so a teacher could use the space to administer the test to a group of students. No big deal. During the testing window, I hung out in the office and was able to do  some work on the computer there while I helped out our receptionist at the front desk. Shortly after the test began, I heard a call over the radio. "Can a custodian please come to room blah blah blah for a clean-up." A student had thrown up. I sat there thinking, No kidding a student got sick. You guys put so much pressure on them, they make themselves sick. Brooklyn, who gets straight As and has always received the highest score possible on these standardized tests was literally in tears yesterday morning, dreading this exam.

A little later, I heard over the radio, "Danny, can you please come for a clean-up in portable 4? A student got sick." Wait what? Portable 4? Did they say portable 4? PORTABLE FOUR???NOOOOOOOOO!!! Not portable 4! That's MY classroom! Now I can never go back in there again!"

Our receptionist looked at me like I had just shaved my head bald and drawn a picture of an iguana on my naked scalp. Or at least the way I imagine someone would look at a person who had just shaved their head bald and drawn a picture of an iguana on it. "Dawn, how did you ever have six kids?" she inquired, incredulously.

"I never cleaned up after them! If they ever threw up, my ex cleaned up. Or I called my friend Eric. Or my sister did. And now that I'm in Florida all alone, if they throw up and don't make it to the bathroom, we'll just have to move to another apartment. Why do you think I moved out of my house last year?"

The receptionist shook her head in resignation. 

I went on. "Seriously, if a student's arm was cut off in my classroom, I'd hold pressure on it. If a student's intestines fell out, I'd push them back in," I said as I demonstrated my 'pushing a kid's intestines back in' technique. No big deal. But if you puke near me, I'm outta here!"

A little girl sitting in the front office waiting for her dad, meekly said, "I'm sorry."

Oh no. Noooo. "Were you the one who threw up?"

"Yes, but don't worry. It smelled like bananas because I had a banana for breakfast."

Oh, well if it smells like bananas . . . But I felt awful for the little girl. "Oh, it's okay, sweetie. I hope you feel better. Don't worry about the room. It can be cleaned." With gasoline and a match, I silently added.

"Well no one likes to clean up barf, but when you have kids you kind of have to do it, Dawn."

Nope. No. I tried that once. Once. One time Jackson threw up all over himself and his car seat while I was driving to meet a friend for lunch. I pulled into the parking lot where she worked and tried to clean up my son. And by tried, I mean I moved as far away from my son as possible and looked the other way while reaching back behind me and waving a diaper wipe around in the general vicinity of his car seat. Then I threw up in the parking lot. Then I waved another wipe toward him in an attempt to maybe clean his face a little. And then I threw up. This went on for a couple minutes before I called my friend. "Um, I'm here in your parking lot, but Jackson just threw up, and um, could you maybe bring down some paper towels?"

My friend walked out, took one look at me wretching amid a puddle of vomit, then looked at my son crying in his defiled car seat and said, "Oh my gosh, what are you doing? You're making it worse! Go sit over there!" She pointed to the other corner of the parking and I happily walked away, gagging. She totally cleaned him up. I'm forever in her debt. 

When Austin had rotavirus and I was 29 months pregnant with Savannah, he had it coming out both ends. In the bathtub. My sister saved me. If it weren't for her, he'd probably still be sitting in the bathtub of evil today.

Another time when Jackson didn't quite make it to the bathroom and threw up right in front of his bedroom door, my ex tried to shampoo the carpet. A week later, it still had a vaguely pukey smell to it so I did the only sensible thing. I cut a big rectangular chunk of carpet out and tossed it at the bottom of our driveway for garbage pick-up.

And God forbid I ever get sick myself because I will just pray for death. Death sounds infinitely more pleasant than throwing up.

So, as I tell my students, I don't do math or vomit. But if you ever need help spelling something or your intestines fall out, I'm your girl!


Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

I have never heard someone so thoroughly and accurately describe my own horror of vomit. Vomit was seriously a big "con" on the list of whether or not to have children. I cannot deal with it.

Ernie said...

This is me -but not with vomit . . . I can't do blood in hair. Laddie pushed Tank into the fireplace when Tank was 8. A bleeding forehead I can manage but there was blood coming out of the back of his head - matted down bloody hair, no thank you.

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