My wife and I made a pact last weekend. She vowed to change every poopy diaper from now until eternity if I would clean up every pile of vomit that our children produce. At the time, our family was just rounding out a bout of the stomach flu. All but two of our six-member family had contracted the bug and subsequently tossed their cookies. It was a nasty little virus, but I really hate poopy diapers. Amanda has a particularly sympathetic gag reflex, and I love her madly. The pact seemed like a good idea at the time…
“Mom, Caleb threw up.”
We went to bed really early tonight after a wretched day. When Gavi came into our room and reported that Caleb, one of the two of us who hadn’t thrown up in the past 7 days, had just done so. I thought it had to be around 1 am. It’s actually only 9:30, but I feel like I’m burning the midnight oil.
Because of the pact, I played the role of “Mom”, answering the call to help our son clean himself up. Bleary-eyed, I stumbled upstairs to a waft of a familiar smell: pizza. Partially digested pizza. I moaned, knowing that this strong of a smell does not come about when you’ve made it to the toilet.
Still hoping, I opened the bathroom door to find Caleb sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of a toilet that was filled with… urine. His face and shirt had splotches of vomit all over them. He was waxy-white in complexion; miserable. “Dad, I threw up,” he reported weepily.
“I know, Son,” I said with a sigh, trying desperately to muster some sympathy through my exhaustion.
I left him to survey the horror show that followed. He had reported at dinner time to have only eaten “two pizzas”. When he said this, he was holding one partially-eaten slice of pizza, gesturing that this slice in his hand represented his second “pizza”. Judging from the vast pools of vomit that I was presented with when I entered his room, I think he may have actually eaten two whole pizzas.
For the love of all that is holy, why are some children incapable of getting to the bathroom when they have to puke? SERIOUSLY?! Why?? Okay, so perhaps the first wretching spasm might catch him by surprise. I could understand having to clean up a little bit of puke on the way to the toilet. Sometimes, you can’t help it, but this boy just seems to have thrashed about in his bed like a wild, barf-blasting, human fire hose, as he let his belly empty itself completely. It wasn’t until he was completely devoid of any stomach contents that he made his way to the toilet. At that point, why bother going to the bathroom???!
And Dude, how many times have we asked them to close the clothes drawers that go under their beds?! Now I have another reason to ask them to do this!
I stripped the blankets and sheets and shoved them into the washing machine. I think we’ll probably need to put them through three or four times. Even then, we might have to scoop out some used (but very clean) pizza chunks, but I didn’t know what else to do.
Flashing back to home economics class in high school, those lying sacks of flour never did this! This is my eldest son of four sons. They have all been violently ill before, and still I was not prepared for the profound mess that I just dealt with! I don’t think it’s possible to truly be prepared for it.
My poor Caleb must have seen the frustration on my face. I had been contemplating how to replace the mattress this weekend: how much it would cost for a new mattress? Could we somehow move the beds out of their room to replace the carpet at the same time? Why do I have to solve these problems when I just want to sleep?
My brain was a blurry, half-asleep whiz of thoughts like this, when Caleb interrupted me in a precious, apologetic voice. He croaked, “I’m sorry I had to send Gavi down to wake you up. It’s just what we do for each other when we’re sick.”
Yeah, Buddy. It’s okay. You’re right. It’s just what we do for each other.
I stripped the pukey shirt off his back, got a damp cloth and cleaned his face, and bedded him down in front of the toilet. Poor little punk. I sure hope we all feel better in the morning.