My worst nightmare has occurred. My son got sick and has decided to redecorate the upstairs hallway with last nights dinner, which was Shredded Wheat. Strawberry Shredded Wheat. I don’t know how to handle throw up. I don’t know how to act while my child is in the process of retching up his guts, how to clean it or how to get the smell out of my house. I am freaking out.
I am usually a very warm mommy. My son tells me so. “You are the best Mommy in all of the galaxies,” he says. I play with my kids and I have A LOT of patience. I am great when they have colds. I let them wipe their little noses on my sleeves. I even pick dried boogers off the wall next to my son’s bed. I give hugs and kisses. I tell stories. You get the point. But when it comes to vomit, my parenting skills go down the drain.
Why do stomach bugs always show up in the middle of the night? My groggy son wakes up, runs down the hall, and vomits every few steps. He can’t find my bedroom. I can’t find him. I am too tired to remember how get him to the bathroom, without getting myself dirty. I need coffee to wake up. Can’t his stomach wait for my Kuerig to brew one cup?
I have three jobs when I help my kid puke: Get his head in the toilet, don’t get it on me, don’t breathe in the smell. Its not as easy as it sounds. As adults, the smell of the toilet water is soothing to a sour tummy. But kids would rather face their parents and spew all over them. I hug my son but as soon as he coughs, burps or gurgles I spin him around so he is facing the toilet. “Get it in there!” I yell. “Good job!” I say, if he makes it. (Encouragement is important.) The problem is he always turns around to hug me after and the “freshly blown chunks” breath is something I just cannot handle. I hold my breath, pat him quickly and then tell him to lay down on my lap. (Enough distance that I can’t smell anything.)
At this point is when the kid’s belly is lurching and hurting. My son gets belligerent, like a drunk man. He usually starts with saying, “I love you, Mommy. I need you. Hold me.” Then his stomach will hurt and he will say, “Why did YOU do this to me? You are the worst. I will get you for this.” Then ten minutes later he loves me again and back to the I hate you because you didn’t “disinfect me good enough to prevent me from getting sick”. (It’s quite abusive and amusing and the same time.)
When all is said and done, he takes a nap and I am left with the mess in the hallway. I have no clue how to clean up throw up. Especially the chunky kind. I pull my hoody sweatshirt up to cover my mouth and nose (in case I accidentally breathe in). I grab towels and wipe. Nothing comes up, it has dried. So I wet the towels and scrub. I spray a cocktail of Resolve and Lysol all over the floor. I scrub more, alternating until the spot on the floor is shiny and clean. I repeat every two feet where he seemed to have splattered the rug.
Next, the walls, the Magic Eraser box says nothing about cleaning throw up. But I give it a try. I scrub so hard the paint comes off the wall. I know the germs are still there, so I spray some of my Resolve/Lysol mix on the wall as well.
The towels go right to the trash, as does his comforter and sheets…and oh no! His drapes? Who the hell vomits on the window? Is that even possible? Trash. I don’t wash anything with regurgitated food. Which is a funny thing because as I’m throwing the stuff away, my son gives me some interesting facts. “Hey Mommy, did you know penguins throw up in their babies mouths? I wouldn’t want to be a penguin because throw up tastes bad and it hurts to throw up. Did you know throw up is diarrhea that comes out of your mouth?” You get the point.
My house is finally clean, my son is back to acting like the kid from Jerry McGuire, and I can finally get some rest. Suddenly, he coughs and burps and it all starts again. What a nightmare! Oh, the joys of parenting.