Hazmat

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*Warning: This post is disgusting.*

Caleb spent all of last night and the wee hours of this morning doing an impression of Mount Vesuvius. Personally, I think I would rather have handled molten lava than some of the stuff that came out of that kid.

The first eruption happened right after dinner. Caleb, all clean and freshly jammied, stumbled toward his dad across the kitchen floor, opened his mouth to speak, and issued forth a colorful display of stomach contents whose only identifiable ingredient was tiny bits of hotdog. (I’ve already scratched hotdogs off of next month’s grocery list. I may never eat another one, in fact.) About ten seconds later, while scrambling away from the unspeakable mess on the floor, he uttered a tiny, high-pitched “oh-no-oh-no-oh-no” and did it again.

Paul is a remarkably agile man, a fact which may have saved his shoes.

By this time, Caleb was wailing, “Get me clean!” and the indescribable smell (you all know—you’ve smelled it) was starting to get to me, so I kicked it into Mommy Mode and sprang into motion.

“Which do you want?” I asked Paul, “Floor or boy?” He chose the floor, so while he ran for paper towels, cleanser, and the scrap rag bag, I stripped off the nasty pajamas and dumped Caleb into the tub for a good scrub and shampoo. Fifteen action-packed minutes later, a pink-skinned little boy in clean footie pajamas was wrapped in a warm blanket on the living room floor, watching cartoons and declaring that his tummy felt better.

I concluded that the whole episode had been caused by the spicy hotdogs we had for dinner, and went back to what I was doing before the gastrointestinal fireworks started.

Twenty minutes later, Paul called me out to the living room for Round Two, and the Vomit Task Force swung into action once more.

The worst thing about a three year old puking is that he doesn’t, generally, recognize the signs of impending spewage, so getting to the toilet before it happens is virtually impossible. He just gets this puzzled, horrified look on his face seconds before the vomit bubbles up out of him and all over whatever surface he happens to be sitting/laying on, like one of those baking soda and vinegar science fair projects in elementary school.

Again and again, Caleb threw up; again and again, Paul and I washed up. Dirty rags, dirty clothes, and dirty sheets went through the washer. Paper towels and antibacterial wipes were wrapped in plastic bags for safe disposal and buried in the trash. Even Caleb’s beloved Tigger took one for the team, and instantly joined the growing pile of reeking laundry. By the fourth or fifth incident, Paul and I had become a finely tuned cleaning machine, sweeping around in a cloud of disinfectant and wet rags, moving faster and more efficiently than a NASCAR pit crew.

Hours passed, time blurred and all other pursuits ground to a halt while we took care of our child. It was one of those nights you have to go through from time to time if you ever want to wear the parenting Badge of Honor. One of those nights that bring out everything tender and patient in you, even while you’re doing the most unpleasant tasks imaginable. One of those nights your kids remember years later, even though you thought they were completely out of it.

Finally, as I tucked Caleb into bed for the last time at 3 a.m., he turned to me, exhausted, and said, “Sorry I frowed up, Mom.”

How I could still be completely charmed by a child who had just redecorated the place in gastric juices, I don’t know, but I was. “It’s okay, Caleb,” I assured him, “We’re right here.”

With that, he dropped off to sleep and, mercifully, slept all the way through till morning and then some.

Final Tally:

5 pairs of pajamas
2 sets of sheets
3 blankets
15 soiled rags
35 paper towels
8 oz. of Shout
2 loads of laundry
½ bottle of Febreze
1 Tigger, not much worse for the wear

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16 responses »

  1. Okay, I just switched to the new blogger system, so I’m hoping it will finally let me comment.

    Bless you all’s hearts! (and Tigger’s fur) God bless Febreze, Shout, and a parent’s love.

  2. That’s it! You win mother of the year! I know my turn is coming…Amber is due for a good stomach illness. I will look to you for guidence when it happens.

  3. oooh – yeah that was gross. i’m a web-crawling mom too and you totally have out-done my worst story, which in general involved less Pjs and more innocent bystanders.

  4. Been there…done that.

    It’s horrific. My advice? Invest in a cheap shower curtain and keep your crap-ass towels. Buy a plastic dishpan. Restrict thrower-upper to plastic covered area. Cover pillows with towels. Parent must remain in quarantine too, in order to stick giant dishpan under thrower upper.

    Videos and television permitted ad nauseum. So to speak.

    Good luck sweetie…

  5. Oh boy, have I been there. And doesn’t it just break your heart to see them like that? Especially at that age. It’s official: you’ve won the “Mommy Badge of Honor”!

  6. It is times like these that I thank God that Kat can’t throw up.

    Hope that Caleb feels better and the rest of you don’t catch whatever it is!

  7. I have to admit that I have not been through what you just described with my Andrew. I think you both definitely deserve the Big Parenting Badge of Patience. Bless your hearts…and I hope you don’t come down with “the bug”. 🙂

  8. Yep, definitely been there! With 3 kids…been there several times 😦 It’s never fun to watch your kiddos throw up their toe nails, and, amazingly, they always want you there to hold them before, during & afterward. Regardless of the stink, I always let them cuddle while I wash their faces with a wet wash cloth. When the hooplah has subsided, the bathtub is the first place they visit – they always get a long, hot bubble bath 🙂

    Congratulations on making thru the night. Hope you don’t re-visit it anytime soon with Katie…or Paul!

  9. That was the best description of toddler spew EVER. I was exhausted at the end of the story!

    Poor Caleb. It is very scary to puke excessively.

    Tigger rocks! I’m sure our Tigger will one day be a team player as well.

  10. Oh poor Caleb! Any idea what brought this on? Hopefully nobody else is struck with this one. You did good, Mom!! And Dad 😉

  11. With a little tweaking, your final tally could be sung like the 12 Days of Christmas.

    Just a thought.

    Poor Tigger. (T-I-Double-Guh-EW!!)

  12. Is it wrong that I’m laughing at this? Oh dear. I’m so sorry (and entertained) about what happened.

    [If this message makes it to you, I’ll be amazed. When I first hit the comment button, I got a screen that told me I could only reach you via email. Don’t know what that was all about. ]

  13. Sarah’s idea is TOO funny! One day, this will all be but a distant memory. I, too, have had my share of spewage, in the car no less. THAT is horrifying. Try driving 10 more miles to home and cleaning crevaces, ewwwww!!!! But, you know, those poor little darlings are just innocent victims. It breaks my heart to see little ones hurting like that.

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