A virus declared war on our home last Sunday night. Every winter our home gets plagued with one. It’s inevitable really. C’mon? I have four kids? I know it’s going to happen at some point but this year I actually learned something. It’s amazing what you can learn about someone simply by watching them puke. Puke is scary and unpredictable. Everyone deals with it in their own way. ATTENTION: Teaching your child how to puke is a parental duty. Don’t neglect your child in this area. I’m not talking about how to make it to the toilet, although that is an important lesson too. I am talking about teaching your child how to cope with the loss of control that invades your body when you catch a stomach bug. I admit it, I had my own little psychology experiment going on while I held their hair on Sunday. This is the way the night unfolded.
10 pm: Molly gets out of bed to inform me of some bad news. “Moooom? I need you. I don’t feel so good.” I’m a freaking awesome parent (cough) so I assume she is trying to socialize and avoid bedtime so I tell her to go back to bed. “but mom? I really don’t feel so good. I feel like I need to puke.” I take a good look at her. She is smiling. She has a history with the school nurse. I won’t be made a fool. “Go back to bed Molly.” She retaliated. “No. Seriously mom. My tummy hurts. Will you come with me to the bathroom? I think I’m going to puke.” I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes at her. Reluctantly, I follow her to the bathroom and she does it. She pukes her brains out. Oops! Parental fail on my part. Rule # 1: When your kid tells you she has to puke, don’t roll your eyes. Chances are high that she will actually blow chunks. I did hold her hair though? Do I get mom points for that? She finished and seemed to feel better.
Side note: Molly is a chatty girl, even post puke. As she is washing her hands she is telling me all about how I should have listened to her. “I wouldn’t lie about puke Mom.” “I’m sorry. You were smiling. I had no idea Molly. I apologize.” “That’s OK Mom. Now you know, I’m just a good patient, right?” I smiled and kissed her head. “Right!” She is without a doubt, my bravest child. How many 7-year-old girls do you know that are unfazed by projectile vomit? She lets it happen and then carries on with her day. I can already tell she will be tough. She’ll probably marry a wuss who complains about everything. Somehow it’s evident already.
I thought my job was done (dumb ass alert). She brushed her teeth. I helped her wash her face and gave her a small glass of ice water. We were walking out of the bathroom when she turned around abruptly and she gave me “the look”. Every parent in America knows the look I’m talking about. It’s the “Oh no, more puke is coming up fast” look! The eyes get wide, the cheeks get full and she bolts to the toilet. Wow…I call that creeper puke. It gives you no warning. Fast and furious. It’s an explosive puke that takes the innocence away from a child. No child should ever have something so violent in their sweet little bodies.
I help her in any way that I can. I wipe the drool in between retching. I flush the toilet as it fills. I spray Lysol. I hold her hair and comfort her that it will be over soon. Little did I know that it was far from over. This was only the beginning.
12 am: Molly is on puke number 9 and I hear Maggie crying in her crib. I open her bedroom door and the smell knocks me over. Maggie basically told me that she blew chunks and she was totally grossed out but her vocabulary is limited so it sounded like this. “Uh Oh, Uh-Oh! Ewwwww! Momma? Ewwww! Uh-Oh!” She is covered in vomit and for the first time I realize that the situation is a bit more serious than I originally anticipated. I strip Maggie down to a diaper, gather all of her crib linens, clean up the puke splatters and return to Molly who is still retching into a puke bucket on the couch. Now what? 2 sick kids and it’s midnight. It’s going to be a long night. We develop a bedtime plan. Ming is horrible with puke and since technically I am a RN, I decide to take the reins on this scene. I bring both girls into my room and instruct Ming to sleep on the couch. I needed our bedroom as an infirmary and I know from past experience that he is useless assisting a sick child. He gags watching someone puke.
12:30 am Molly, Maggie and myself are finally asleep in my room. Ahhhh….peace.
12:38 am Molly dry heaves and it is so loud that it wakes Maggie and scares her. Maggie is screaming, pointing at Molly and saying “Uh-oh, Uh-Oh, Ewwwww!” There was no calming Maggie down. She was petrified and it’s not like I can tell Molly to stop that annoying dry heaving. Ughh! I decide that maybe all pukers in 1 room wasn’t the best idea I ever had. Change of plans! Ming needs to step it up, I need him now. I have to separate the girls which means he sleeps with one and I sleep with the other. I give him Maggie since she seems easier. They snuggle together in my bed and Molly and I set up shop on the pull out couch. Teagan and Flynn are snoozing in their beds. At this point, everything seems to be running smoothly. I close my eyes for a cat nap.
1:20 am: Molly’s stomach makes a “whooomp…whooomp” sound. I jolt out of my sleep and grab the puke bucket for her. My cat-like reflexes amaze me when I need them. I can go from REM sleep to holding a puke bucket in record time. It’s a mommy super power. The thought of cleaning up all that vomit and washing all those linens is enough to keep any mother on her toes. Molly dry heaves into the bucket with her eyes closed and then falls asleep on my chest. She is exhausted. Now this virus is pissing me off. It’s bullying my daughter. The poor girl has nothing left. Eventually things quiet again and we doze off to sleep.
1:30 am My eyes pop open like they do when I fall asleep during a movie. I am disoriented. Molly is asleep on my chest and I can hear Maggie screaming upstairs. She is saying “Uh-Oh!” in between cries. At this point I think it’s safe to associate “Uh-oh” with puke. I wait a few minutes and give the hubby a chance to take matters into his own hands.
1:36 am Maggie is still crying. It’s only been 6 minutes but the cries sound desperate. Where is my husband? She needs help. I scoot Molly off my chest and leave the puke bucket for her within arms reach. I run upstairs and find Maggie covered in puke and my husband snoring with a pillow over his eyes. Who the hell sleeps through THAT?
1:37 am I slap my husband on the leg because he deserved it. “Dude? Maggie just hurled! I need you to wake up and help me out. Molly is puking downstairs.” He sits straight up in the bed and talks in his sleep. “Geez! Hey? C’mon? Turn off the light. Why the hell is Maggie in here?” “Hello? Ming? Wake up!!!!” I flicker the lights to wake him up. He is one of those people who needs lots of time and multiple warnings that it’s time to get up. At this point he is disoriented and useless but I need him. I hate when I need him. It’s so damn exhausting!!! He fell asleep depressed about the Pats losing the playoff game and the only thing on his mind was football. I think he is talking to me but it kinda sounded like part of a dream. “C’mon? Seriously? This day sucks.” Conversation is always good. It wakes the brain, usually? I go with it. “Yup! I know. It does suck and it’s not over.” I pull his hand and sit him up. “Ming! Are you awake? Look at Maggie. She needs you. I need you.” He responds “I was on the couch and you moved me here. Now what???” He still doesn’t get it. “Gahhhhh! HEEEELLLLLO? WAKE UP!” This entire time he is talking to me with his eyes closed and his eye brows raised. I swear he thinks his eyes are open but they aren’t! Maggie is still crying. Poor thing. I finally give up on Ming, clean up Maggie and bring her downstairs with me. It’s like the movie Groundhog Day. We are back to square one. All three of us together but this time we are on the couch. All is quiet and one by one we all fall asleep.
2:15 am Molly wakes up in a panic and pukes. Almost nothing left in her body. I can feel her little heart racing. I literally have my hands full. One arm is holding Maggie and the other is wrapped around Molly for support. She is so sick. She can barely lift her head. Again, Maggie is terrified and starts with the “Uh-Oh! Uh-Oh! Ewww!” I have no choice, Maggie has to go back to Ming. We make our way back upstairs. I try the sweet wife approach even though an air horn is what I want to use. I tap his shoulder. “Hey? Ming? Seriously. You gotta watch her. I have my hands full. She hasn’t puked in a while. Hopefully she will sleep now.” He sits up. Looks at me. Eyes open and says “Ok” I’m shocked and amazed at how easy that was for me.
2:30 am I go back downstairs and assume my position as Molly’s private nurse. Maggie stops crying. Molly falls asleep on me. Can I get a Hallelujah? I think it’s over. Now I can sleep.
3:00 am Molly is retching and I hold the bucket for her with my eyes closed. We have perfected the system. Now each puke takes less than 2 minutes.
4:00 am Teagan runs into the room covering her mouth holding back a puke. Why do 4 year olds do that? There is a bathroom right across the hall from her bedroom but she would rather walk downstairs and find me. “Oh Tea? Do you have the pukes?” She frantically shakes her head yes and I follow her to the potty. She joins the puke fest in her own dainty way.
Side note: Teagan is always gentle. I envy this about her. Somehow she can even be dainty when she pukes. Like a little poodle. You can barely hear her gag. Her eyes get wide, she hangs her head low and she kneels in front of the toilet like she is saying her prayers. The virus quietly exits her body and then when she is finished she wipes the corners of her mouth like a queen who has finished a meal.
I make a spot for Teagan to join Molly and me on the couch. We all huddle up together and ride out this storm.
6:00 am Flynn stomps down the stairs and runs into the room holding his stomach and wakes everyone up with his squeals of misery. “Oh God? Moooom. Mom? It’s really bad. I’m scared. I think I have to…” he runs full speed to the toilet and spews his guts out. He is the worst puker ever. He looks at me with complete fear in his eyes like I did this to him and I need to fix it. In between retching, he is gasping for air and begging me to wipe the puke off his nose. He has tears in his eyes and freaks if he has to look at puke in the toilet for any more than 2 seconds. I think I lost my mother of the year award at this point. I said words that no mother should ever say to their sick child. I was tired and I simply had no patience left. I admit it. I believe I dropped the F bomb and I vaguely remember asking him to get his “shit together”. In my defense, I can not be responsible for sending another man into the world who can’t handle a little puke.
There are no words for how the rest of my day went. It was a constant rotation of the puke buckets, Lysol, and trips to the bathroom. It looked like a war zone. Bodies flopped everywhere. I eventually fell victim to the virus too. At one point, it was every man for himself. Get your bucket and get in line. Put your hair in a pony tail. Do what you have to do children, mommy is down for the count. It was simply awful. Somehow Ming escaped but found himself gagging through the day as our sole caretaker. Oh? You need a visual. Let me help you with that.
Click here: Family Guy-Puke Scene
Thank goodness that it’s finally gone. We are all on the mend. Somehow we all survived. It’s funny how we each have our own way of dealing with puke. Puking is as unpredictable as life. There are so many different ways to conquer the things that are out of our control. Life might seem fabulous for you now but prepare yourself for a violent virus. They are sneaky little bastards. You can cry, panic and fight it all you want but in the end you have to let go. Sometimes you simply have to let the virus run its course. It will pass, it always does.
-Pin this badge if a stomach bug declared war on your home