Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Oh the Horror! The Carnage! The Vomit!

Parenting begins and ends with vomit.

Let me start again:

This post is brought to you by Lysol Disinfectant Spray, and Clorox! (not really, I'm handing this one out pro bono, unless you have control of the checkbook at Lysol or Clorox, then feel free to contact me)

I love my children, and they love me. But I love them a whole lot more.

How do I know, you ask? Well, for starters, they have never let me puke on them. Not once!

After getting past the newborn, nursing/formula spit-ups, my first real experience with kids throwing up was Independence Day, 2008. While we were out watching the fireworks display from a local park, Nat fell off a swing, hitting her head. After an initial examination turned up no blood or bumps, we decided she could stay and watch the show. She did great for the rest of the night, until bedtime, when she laid down. Seeing as how we were at her Great Grandma's house for the night, I did what any great dad would do: I caught it.

In my bare hands.

Not that it did much good. There was too much of it and it ended up on the bed, and the floor, and my clothes, and her clothes, and, and, and... you get the idea. After a quick cleanup, it was straight to the hospital for a long night and a very brave CT scan. Turned out, everything was fine, and we came home with no more drama.

Fast forward a few years to last Sunday night.

We had just returned from visiting my in-laws for Christmas, planning to see my parents the next day to celebrate with them. The children were tucked in all snug in their beds, when Kate heard a meek voice calling from the next room. With it came the distinct smell of sickness. And, as she has a strong gag reflex, puke cleanup has always fallen to my responsibility.

I entered the bathroom, and the same girl who covered me that infamous July 4th is bent over the sink. She made it to the bathroom, I was so proud! Cleanup would be a breeze! I grabbed her a headband to hold her hair back, gave her a cup to rinse her mouth and a washcloth to wipe up whatever else she needed. We finished her puking fit with minimal splatter on Dad, and we then found her a bucket to take to bed and I wished her well.

She's 9, she knows the drill.

This is the point in the night where Lysol and Clorox enter the picture. A quick scrub, a little spray, and we're all taken care of. Clean and germ-free, Dad gets to go back to bed.

An hour later, it's Godzilla, and he didn't even make it out of his bed. Now he's covered in it, walked through it, touched the doors with it, and brought it into our bedroom. Quickly, to spare the Mrs., I jump out of bed and usher him into the bathroom, where we get a full hose down and I begin stripping his bed.

In all, I washed three blankets, two sheets, one pillow case, one complete set of pj's, three stuffed animals, two rugs, and two door frames. Needless to say, the Clorox and Lysol earned their keep this time around, and I was not so quickly back under the sheets.

After starting a load of laundry, remaking the boy's bed, getting him out of the bath and sending him to bed, I was finally able to head back to my bedroom, where I found our sweet little baby awake and having just finished nursing with his mom. Already being up, and wanting to give her a break, I offer to take the little billy goat and get him back to sleep.

Wrong move.

No sooner do I have him cradled in my arms, than a fountain erupts from his mouth and runs down my chest and arms, across my lap, and straight onto our sheets and my pillow. This is no little baby spit up, but has to be every last drop of what he ate in the hour and a half I spent cleaning up after his big brother!

I can't win.

Seeing as how the washing machine is already full to the brim, we simply strip our bed and toss it all to the side to be dealt with in the morning. A fresh set of bedding, new pajamas for him and for me, and we can finally call an end to this terrible, terrible night!

The very next night though, Godzilla greets me at my bedside.

"Dad, my sides hurt" he says.

"I'm sorry, pal. Why don't you go use the bathroom and see if that helps" I respond, then roll back over to pass out again before the baby wakes up again.

I don't make it back to sleep.

The noises coming from my bathroom make my eyes snap open.

I crawl out of bed, cringing at the smell already leaking into the room.

As soon as I open the door, it feels like I walked into a scene from the exorcist. This makes the events of the night before seem like a vacation. This is full coverage, and I am not prepared. I'll spare you the sordid details, but suffice it to say, it took more than an hour and a half to get it all cleaned up.


Bath for him, paper towels and a wastebasket for the floors. Clorox to kill the smell and Lysol to disinfect everything we've touched. Another load of laundry.

Another night lost.

Another night covered in vomit.

Another case study in how much I love my kids.

Just wait, cause one day, I'll be old, and they will have to clean up after me.

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