You know it’s going to be a long night when you wake up to your husband asking you to help him determine whether your one-year-old is covered (COVERED!!) in puke or poop. Puke or Poop? Sounds like an awful gameshow category. Baby looks completely exhausted (and rightfully so seeing as its 3am). You check his diaper and, since it’s clear, you know it’s the other end that’s responsible for producing the vile-smelling substance that’s filled his bed and he’s apparently rolled in. You’re weirdly relieved. Is it better to be cleaning vomit than shit from your baby’s neck folds and hair? Probably. The Would-You-Rather game takes on a whole new level when you have kids.
And so the night progressed with more of the same, big brother, joining in the fun shortly after. It was the first time, and likely not the last, that BOTH babies in our house were hit with a tummy bug in the same night. And here were some things I learned from the enlightening experience, one that serves as yet another rite of passage in parenthood…
1. Do not under any circumstances give your baby a glass of milk following a vomiting episode. Even if it appears to have been an isolated incident. Even if he’s begging you for it “milk. Milk. MILK, MILK!!!”. It WILL come back up. Almost immediately. But not before you’ve cleaned his bed, changed the sheets, and dressed him in a fresh pair of pajamas.
2. Vomit smells absolutely, positively, repulsive. I had hoped there was some sort of maternal odor immunity that comes with having children, but that is not the case. I am always surprised by how disgusting it is, irrespective of who it comes from. And how that phantom smell persists long after it’s been Lysol-ed away.
3. You have approximately one hour and twenty-seven minutes before another child in your household is up with the same bug that tormented the first one earlier. You have approximately thirty-two seconds after that “mommmmmmyyyyy” wake-up call has been issued to get that child to the toilet.
4. It is in these moments that you are most strongly reminded of how single parents are truly the most kick-ass people out there. How do they do THIS?? ALONE?! And so follows my incredible gratitude to my husband for being all-in even when the going gets rough. I see him climbing up the stairs with a third batch of cleaning supplies, comic sound effects bouncing off him, “KAPOW” “KABOOM” “BOING”, like a handsome Calvin-Klein-boxer-brief-wearing superhero. Maybe it’s the fumes from the cleaning products, but I swear he’s as handsome as ever. Mommy goggles I guess. I am such a sucker for seeing my guy being such a good daddy to our boys.
5. The cuddles you get the next day almost make you forget about the fact that you were up all night scrubbing puke off the floors and rubbing your toddler’s back while he stood over the toilet. You all snuggle on the couch watching Frozen for the millionth time and life isn’t bad at all. This will be the light at the end of the tunnel that I’ll hold onto the next time a stomach virus rolls around.