I think moms should earn badges, like Girl Scouts. There would be the “Labor and Delivery” badge (kind of a required one), the “Leaving the Child at Daycare Without Crying” badge, for a military spouse, a “Parenting with a Deployed Spouse” badge, and then there’d be the badge I earned last night, the “Surviving Your Child’s Stomach Flu Without Throwing Up Yourself” badge. That’s a toughie to earn, because dealing with a vomiting child is really, really gross.
Without getting too graphic, Elisabeth’s diapers had indicated that her tummy was giving her trouble all day yesterday. But she was acting like her normal, happy self, so I wasn’t worried. At around 11:15 PM, I heard her tossing and turning in her crib and went in to check in on her. Her stomach was making all sorts of unnatural noises. Oh no, I thought, she’s gonna blow.
She woke up, and I attempted to comfort her. We moved from the crib to the rocking chair to the changing table and back again for the next 45 minutes. Seated in the rocker, she pointed to the changing table and said, “Poo-poo!” She knew what was coming. She wanted to be prepared. Admirable of her, really.
I took her back to the changing table because she demanded so and she lay down, fighting to stay awake. I waited, listening to her tummy rumble, knowing an explosive diaper was inevitable. But when? As she drifted in and out of sleep I decided to move her back to her crib for comfort’s sake (hers and mine). As soon as I put her down, she sprung to her feet.
“Lay down, Sweetie,” I coaxed. “I’ll lay down next to you.” I crouched next to the crib, one hand through the slats trying to cajole Elisabeth to lay down.
She leaned over the crib. “Up! Up!” she exclaimed. And then… upchuck.
I was caught off guard, to say the least. I certainly had not anticipated or prepared for anything coming out of that end. And let me tell you, crouching beside a crib, peering up at your daughter is not where you want to be when she starts throwing up over the rails.
Though momentarily distracted by the fact that I had just been thrown up on, I quickly sprung into mom-mode. By calling for my own mom. (I could not be more thankful for dealing with Elisabeth’s first flu while visiting my parents rather than alone in Japan while Damon is deployed!)
“MOM!” I yelled, rushing Elisabeth down the hallway to the bathroom, vomiting trailing behind us.
“What? What’s going on?” she said sleepily from her bedroom. (It was midnight, after all.)
“PROJECTILE VOMIT!” I yelled back. It was all quite dramatic.
Moments later, my dad returned home from a late flight to find a house in chaos. My mom was running around gathering cleaning supplies while I was stripping off Elisabeth’s puke-soaked pajamas. “Ohhhh, baby! It’s okay! It’s okay!” I kept trying to reassure her while frantically cleaning her off.
Elisabeth, meanwhile, was completely fine, if a bit confused to find herself standing in the middle of the tub at midnight. There was no crying, no distress, nothing. She reached out one hand to me to clean off the goop, and then was all, “Hey, bath time at midnight? Par-tay!” She started chatting to herself and playing with her bath toys and life was good.
My parents went to scrubbing the floor in the bedroom while I dressed in Elisabeth in a second pair of PJs. We went into the living room to let Elisabeth settle down a bit. Then she threw up again, on my mom this time. Elisabeth was unperturbed and would have happily continued reading her books, had we not insisted upon wiping her down and changing her into a third pair of PJs. (And I showered, because I was still covered in Elisabeth’s original vomit. So lovely.) At that point we retreated back to her bedroom, but I was uncomfortable leaving her in her crib alone. I brought her into bed with me, and she cuddled up close. Oh, my sweet, sick girl, I thought. And then threw up on me again. Luckily, this time I caught most of it in my hand, and we didn’t even have to change her PJs – a good thing because at that point we were out of clean PJs.
Around 1:30AM, Elisabeth finally fell asleep sprawled on top of me, the smell of vomit lingering around her head. Her tummy continued to grumble. She’s so going to throw up on me again. She’s so going to throw up on me again. I tried to be okay with that, because that’s what moms do; they let their sick kids throw up on them in the middle of the night.
Thankfully she didn’t. She made it through the rest of the night, and although she has thrown up another three times today, she’s had the good sense to do it on my parents and my brother. I have been spared! (Though had she chosen to throw up on me, I would’ve been okay with that, I swear.) And also although she’s thrown up three times today, she is currently sitting on her grandmother’s lap reading books and asking to go to the pool. I’m beginning to think she’s faking, and this whole day has been a test. In which case, I’m totally not okay with that.