At 2:30am, I opened my eyes with a start. Boy who never sleeps and barely eats, aka my seven year-old, is standing next to my bed. I felt him there, heard his soft breathing. So even though I’m a little unnerved to see him, I’m not surprised.
His soft breathing has a rasp to it. “I don’t feel good.”
My first instinct is annoyance. Stellar parenting, I know, but it’s the middle of the night. I push the thought away. “Oh baby.” I say. His little face looks pained and then it gets that look. You know, the one that makes you immediately look around to see if you’re standing on carpet or near something valuable. I leap from the bed, and practically shove him from my room to the bathroom. We make it just over the threshold before he throws up.
Yes! I’m doing a mental fist pump, ridiculously relieved to have made it at least onto the tiled bathroom, where clean-up is markedly easier. Hmm. Should this not be my first thought? My second is not much better. I’m making a list in my head of the things I won’t be doing since I’ll have him home from school the next day. To redeem myself, I rub his back as he continues puking all over the floor.
I should have seen this coming, in fact, I did.
Earlier that day we were at video game center, or more accurately, the gambling learning center for 5-12 year-old’s. The object of every game is to win tickets. My kids foam at the mouth for tickets. No matter that we spent $30 for four army men, six tootsie rolls, a rubber frog that smells funny and a key chain. At least they’re learning something.
In the middle of the debauchery, my seven year-old son approached. “I want to go home.” He whined.
Uh oh. “Really? Why?”
“I just want to go home.”
I noticed his eyes were a little glassy, but I attributed that to the excitement from all the gambling. Then he sneezed and snot blew out his nose and hung in clean, oblong droplet to his lip.
“Tissue!” I screamed, running for my bag. “Tissue!” My capacity for denial runs deep, people. I saw the truth, but I wasn’t ready to accept it. I told myself it was just a cold. We headed home, and not because of the stares of horrified gamers, but because we wanted to. So there.
I made breakfast for dinner and the boys had ice cream snowmen cups from Baskin Robbins for dessert. I didn’t take much notice that the boy who never sleeps and barely eats, didn’t eat much. Uh, nothing new there.
I snuggled them all into bed, spending extra time cuddling. I am acutely aware of the passage of time, and allow my sappiness to seep out at night, making me a pawn for their pleas of “Just one more minute!” or “I’m hungry.”
I know that each stage that passes brings me older, more mature children, less needy of their mommy’s attention. Little things change, like, my middle one only asks me to tickle his back for a few moments every few nights, instead of the rigorous tickle back routine I used to affectionately endure. My oldest no longer loves me coming to his sport games. All of a sudden, I make him nervous.
But my baby, my now five year-old baby, is still so full of mommy love that sometimes I’m pushing it away. Uh honey, can we triple hug and kiss again later? Mommy wants to work on an essay. Where is that DS? I reflect with horror. I am actually taking some baby love for granted, when soon it will (poo poo poo) grow up and leave me cold. No more, I vow. We will hug day and night!
That’s when the vomit hits my foot and startles me back. I want to throw up too, but, instead, I get him some water, strip him down and wash him up. Then, I give him some Tylenol,tuck him back into bed, spending some extra time tickling.
With him settled, I get on my hands and knees and start the fabulously exciting activity of cleaning up. It’s after 3 am, I’ve still got to get all the towels and clothes into the laundry and clean myself up before I get into bed. We’re talking close to 4 am. Is this really something I’m going to miss?
Before I can even get my disgusting bundle down to the laundry, I hear his little voice call to me. “Mama…” I drop the towels and run to his room. Yeah, no question, I am.
My favorite line: a rubber frog that smells funny.
What’s up with the smelly frog?
I feel your pain, as you know. And I won’t miss the vomit, but I love the sick cuddles. and i usually shut the door and hope to clean in the morning…bravo to you for getting right on that.
oh yeah, i can’t go to bed until it’s all taken care of. the worst, when my husband yawns and stretches in the morning and has no idea what has transpired! 😉
I “stumbled” across your blog and am so glad that I did! My little one is 2 1/2. He is recently weaned, recently turned preschool pro, will soon be signed up for soccer and soon to be my not-little-baby any longer. It passes by too quickly…though it doesn’t seem like it in the middle of the night or during that sprint for tissues. But those quiet, tickling the back moments, triple kisses and hug moments pass by with just a blink.
it all goes way to fast for me. i’m a tough cookie with insides like the chocolate molten lava cake. i feel time passing deeply and i just want to squoosh them all up – except when they’re annoying! haha.
so happy to meet you! 🙂
You are awesome for not throwing up too when the vomit hit your foot. That would have totally done me in.
i was distracted. didn’t say it didn’t dry heave. ugh!
When mine were sick my first thought usually was how long will it be before I catch their germs, and will it be before or after they give it to their father – since it’s bad enough to be sick yourself without dealing with man sickness too.
the man children are the worst!
So glad you first instincts are like mine. Tough to admit.
we can’t hide from the truth, right? even if it’s not pretty. and vomit definitely isn’t pretty. ha.
We put a bowl next to them now…if they feel they can’t make the bathroom, they have big bowl. I can handle the throw up, but my husband can’t. My son used to paint the walls and bed with his poo…my husand had to clean the boy. I couldn’t handle that, but I had to clean the room. Ugh. I don’t miss that curiousity stage and game of what’s in my diaper during naptime and let’s paint. I’ll take barf any day, except dog barf.
oh man, that is really bad – painting the wall with poop!! well, at least it’s interesting wall decor.. no one can leave that room and not take notice. haha!
Oh please please please let us not get this evil virus that’s traveling around and coming back again. EVERYone we know has had it, and I know we’ll be the lucky ones eventually. Getting the cleaning supplies ready…
i sending anti vomit vibes your way.. ugh it’s the worst!
“The gambling learning center for 5-12 year olds” Ha! Glad he recovered quickly. Vomit is gross and nasty and smelly, even when it comes out of those you love the most.
it’s true. nothing cute about it.
I am here to tell you that no, you will not miss the vomit. Okay, my youngest is only eight, but he was never much for vomiting. My middle son, however, now 13, was professional. And no, I don’t miss it at all. Here’s to a happy – and vomit-free – new year!
i agree. it is disgusting. i’ll only miss the little ‘mama’ that comes with it. and best wishes right back at you!! all ice cream and no vomit! there’s a mantra. 🙂
My seven-year-old is my vomiter, but he’s reliable with a bucket, thank goodness. And my first thought is always, “Please vomit on something easy to clean. And not on your car seat…”
it’s so true. i literally shoved him away from carpet. come on, who’s cleaning it. 😉
Aw, poor baby. They just look so pitiful when they’re sick that I’m never annoyed. Now when my 2.5 year old removed the poop from her diaper and tried to hand it to me this morning, I was a little less forgiving.
awww but she was just giving you a present. haha 🙂
As always, love your humor and honesty: “My first instinct is annoyance. Stellar parenting, I know, but it’s the middle of the night.”
Why, oh, why, must the vomiting happen in the middle of the night? Is it payback for all our late nights pre-kids? I’m very impressed that you got him over the threshold and off the carpet. My kids never miss the carpet. Never. And they are 11 and 13.
Great post, mama. Happy new year!
thank you! omg – i shoved him. hahaha! there’s nothing worse than vomit on carpet!!!
I dearly want kids, but I have to say, while I don’t have them, I very much appreciate the fact that no one is waking me up to deal with their vomit! Although I’d gladly take it to have a little sweet body to snuggle 🙂
enjoy this time!! because up all night/vomit is not fun. but of course there’s so much more than the vomit, thank goodness. 🙂
Oh strewth, I’m laughing at your young bloke being sick, well you know, throwing up all over you. Hell no, I didn’t mean that either…Crikey, take two scoops of ice-cream and lie down. And for you Icescreammama, take three scoops and do want ever comes naturally next… 🙂
Okay, I’m still laughing! TomO was a “happy chucker”….! Take care…
oh yeah, laugh at my sick kid. real nice. haha. it is sooo disgusting. but we’re much better now. and, i definitely took two scoops morning.. and night!
almost trip time for you!!! 🙂
Well, icecream always helps! Yes, tomorrow!
Ick. I’m sorry the boy is sick! This is definitely one of those things that you don’t think you’ll appreciate until you’re a parent…because ick. 😛
you don’t really appreciate it ever. it’s always disgusting. but we do what we have to do. and thanks, he’s much better now. 🙂
Ugh! The stomach flu is the worst. We were dealing with our own case of it a couple weeks ago. I hope you are all feeling better.
we’re all good! wait , i didn’t say that out loud did I – no, writing it doesn’t count. whew. 🙂
Honestly, I so admire parents. There is no way in the world I could deal with this. It’s bad enough when my elderly cat wakes me up in the middle of the night with his hacking and I just know what’s coming next, but for some reason, I can deal with his vomit more than I could with a human’s.
yes, cat vomit is markedly easier. I do that too. and we all do what we have to do. 🙂
mother hood has all those special moments (that we really ever miss). but they do go fast, so hold on
“Gambling learning center…” No doubt! It’s worked into the culture of kids. Really weird. I also get that first moment of resentment where I’m like, “Oh great, now my day is shot.” Thanks for this post.
thank you! hey, we’re good but we’re human, right? who’s like, oh yeah, i’m so happy to see you in the middle of the night. and better… vomit. wow. thanks. 😉
Oh man, I feel for you. This only happens rarely for me now (kids are 16 and 9). I don’t miss the higher frequency, that’s for sure! Hope he’s all better now. And definitely don’t take those cuddles for granted!
he’s all better – poo poo – and thank you – i really try to take nothing for granted.
I support your philosophy,mama,and your honesty,too…..
Your post brings me back to some years ago , when all that used to be frequent at home.
Thank you for writing in such a humorous way!
oh come on, what about vomit, doesn’t scream FUNNY!! 🙂
I needed a kick in the ass to remind me to enjoy the moments you describe so beautifully (not specifically the vomit clean up, but all of it). I had two little ones in my bed early, early this a.m. and didn’t sleep at all after that. I enjoyed the cuddling in the moment but I’m grouchy now that I’ve hit a wall. I still run when my little one calls to me, but with a bit less enthusiasm (ok a lot less) than I will after reading this essay. And I have all of the same thoughts you so honestly described. Loved this!
thank you! and we all get annoyed. it’s not easy being tugged at all day… and sometimes night too. we just have to do the best we can, and laugh as much as we can.. and try not to throw up when cleaning up other people’s vomit. 😉
I have felt the exact same way in the middle of the night when the stomach flu hits! So happy if they make it to a hard surface and already rearranging my day. Somehow my husband always sleeps through the entire event! I hope he’s feeling better!
There should be a parenting 911 line for moments like these. Of course, one hopes to never actually need to call 911 related to parenting moments. So perhaps its just as well.
Ha! Yeah, I guess so, but it would be a very busy line!
And it would probably be routed to your mother’s phone and when she heard what the problem was, she’d laugh, and laugh, and laugh…