Today was the biggest event of the year at our daughter’s kindergarten. Spring Carnival! We’ve heard and talked about little else for weeks, selling raffle tickets, signing up for face painting duty, picking out the perfect outfit. What a surprise when the first thing that she did when we arrived early for carnival setup was barf. All over. Like a Disney version of the Exorcist.

Of course there’s no planning a sick day, and I just found out the 24 hour stomach bug is circulating. Time for a day of TV, sparkling water, maybe a¬†Popsicle. Without notice the day’s plan can change course dramatically.

“Well we’re really parents now,” Jay said, after a particularly gruesome cleanup effort. But I have to say, there’s something touching about the sweet, simple way little kids, um, puke. They’re not having fun, but it doesn’t seem to have the awful charge it does for adults, or at least for me. She seemed more surprised. “Wow, how about that?”

This morning it might have been an elaborate justification, but a lovely first grade teacher at the school had volunteered to help me paint faces. She’s so much fun, and who knows, she might be important to our family in future years at the school. And frankly with just napping and TV in store for home, it was an easy call. I stayed and painted faces.

It was a shame our daughter missed it. So many parents contributed cakes, tostadas, helped with crafts. Rubber duck races, popcorn, bake sale, bean bag toss. What a gift to have found a public school where I feel both at home and like our kids are in great hands.

I worried I shouldn’t enjoy it as much as I did with a kid sick at home, but it was lovely to be in the hot sun, painting butterflies and Angry Birds on little faces. Each time I’d think “oy, what a disaster this one is,” but then I’d give them a mirror and even the gruesome zombie monster’s face lit up like a tiny boy’s. It was magic.