We are all too familiar with the silhouette in the door frame, back lit like the frickin Exorcist poster, meekly saying “Mommy, I threw up.”
Nothing moves parents, and let’s be honest, Mothers, into military response like those four little words.
I go into my auto response check list:
1. I ask him, ‘How do you feel right now? Are you going to throw up again?’ I don’t give a shit, I’m gathering intel so I know whether to place him next to the toilet or to lay him back down with a bucket.
He tells me he is fine. That he just ‘ate too much at the baseball party’. I watched him consume 8 cookies, 4 pieces of pizza, 4 popsicles and 2 gatorades. I repeatedly warned him that all that would make him sick. I was, of course, ignored. And I don’t want to be that parent that is helicoptering around their kids at parties but I fear I now am going to be. Not for their health, but to maintain any of my regular sleep patterns. But there is no time for the I-told-you-so dance.
Binge and purging on pizza and cupcakes for 9 year old boys is like the tequila puke for college kids. Yes, it makes you sick. Yes, I will do it again tomorrow if given the chance. Why? Because I’m dumb.
I tell him he should probably brush his teeth because of plaque and what not and his terrible horrible no good very bad breath, but he has no interest. Fine, whatevs, you’re sleeping next to your dad anyways so it’s his problem.
2. I lay him in my bed, bucket by his head and walk into the puke zone.
Oh, gentle reader, recall that we are moving and he is now in THE TOP BUNK. Christ on a popsicle stick. I climb the ladder and it takes me 6 minutes to get all the sheets and mattress pads and puke infused pillows into a ball that is carryable to the laundry without dripping through the house. I am dry heaving the entire time.
The pillow case is so bad, that I sacrifice the pillow itself into the trash. I try to rinse off the pillowcase into the laundry sink but give up halfway through since the dry heaving has caused my eyes to water so badly I can no longer see. And what’s worse than cleaning a massive bundle of puke sheets is doing it blind so the entire ball of puke laundry goes into the washer. Extra hot. Extra soap.
I recheck on the boy and his father. They are both snoring.
I walk into the puke room. If the Yankee candle company wanted to open a new parent line, they should have scented candles called ‘puke room’ and ‘up the back onesie’. If you can burn through those babies and not puke yourself you can move forward with conception.
I open all windows. I pull my fat ass back up the top bunk with some sanitary wipes and wipe down the bunk bed railings and walls. He’s done a pretty good job of keeping it contained to his pillow area and for that I am grateful.
But here’s where my tale takes a woeful turn. Due to the move, I have packed all my blankets and pillows. I cannot sleep in puke room because a) it smells like ass and b) we haven’t acquired a mattress for the bottom bunk and I don’t feel like pulling and Orange is the New Black and sleeping on a metal bed frame. I cannot sleep with the girl cause of her leg kicking and teeth grinding. Put all that in a twin bed and it’s a losing proposition. That leaves me with Option A – lie on the couch freezing with no coverage except perhaps knitting together a quilt of dish towels or Option B – returning to my bed.
I contemplate Option B for about 40 minutes. If I do return do I place myself between husband and child or do I place myself on the edge of the bed between child and bucket? Neither of these seems appealing to me. And with the before mentioned dumpster that is my kids’ mouth I’m going to get puke breath blasted either way.
I literally just sit there. The Direct TV is packed so I can’t watch TV. My feet are cold and I have no blankets. I surf Facebook on my phone and hate every happy smiling friend I have. I leaf through a FrontGate catalog four times. I miss SkyMall.
4:45 AM I finally give in. The child hasn’t made any gurgling noises in the last half hour so it’s probably a good guess that he’s done barfing. I opt for the edge of the bed and precariously place myself between ass breath and the floor bucket. I lie on my side – not back or stomach – because god forbid there isn’t room for that. My left arm is asleep. I get kicked repeatedly and take one good elbow to the nose. It’s at this time I think of POWs. I’m pretty sure these are some of the tactics used against war criminals. This thought makes me feel guilty cause what kind of narcisstic human compares caring for a puking child to being a POW, but I mentally swipe left on that idea and return to thinking I am some sort of hero.
6:00 AM “Mommy, I’m hungry.” The hero arises.