Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Yawning in Technicolor

At 2:30 am this morning, my son woke me with the words every mother loves to hear in the middle of the night: "Mommy, I barfed." Those words work like a cattle prod for a mother who is deep in sleep, and it's amazing how quickly one can literally leap into action.

As I'm escorting barf boy to my doorway so we can get him cleaned up in the other bathroom, I asked him where exactly he barfed. "Well, it was all over my bed and in my bedroom. I don't think I got it anywhere el....hhbblloooork!" Mmmmmmmm, tasty. Yet another mess to clean up. This time it was smack dab in the middle of the hallway at the intersection where all the bedroom doors open up. And it wasn't in a nice little puddle either. All I could think of, as I looked down in horror, was that poorly written sentence from high school English: "McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup." (Actually, it was tomato soup with melted cheese sandwiches.)

It's overwhelming to be awakened from a sound sleep and have to face that kind of cleaning job. I just stood there in my bare feet and wondered how the heck I was going to clean it all up by myself. Then I remembered that I had a sleeping spouse who might be willing to help. Thankfully, he was, and he was absolutely wonderful about it. We put Barf Boy in the tub, much to his surprise ("Am I allowed to take a bath in the middle of the night, Mom?"), and divided ranks. I worked on the bedroom mess and Phil took the hallway. Between the two of us, we were able to make relatively quick work of the whole thing.

I'm left wondering today why is it that no one teaches you how to clean up after your kid tosses his cookies? What's the best way to get stuff like that off the carpet? (and walls and furniture) With my first child, I counted myself so lucky that he had never thrown up--I had no desire to clean that kind of mess. But, as we all know, pride cometh before the fall: he turned 5 and got his first case of stomach flu. The scenario was slightly different than last night's: he tried to clean it up himself, I heard him hurling in the bathroom, and I got up to help. I was amazed that such a little kid could throw up that much! It was EVERYWHERE! It was on the wall BEHIND the head of his bed. (Did you know you can vomit backwards?)

Phil had a great idea: barf drills. Teaching your kids how to make it to the bathroom in time or at least how to contain it in the bedsheet is as crucial as teaching them how to exit the house in case of fire. I mean really--you don't always have advanced warning of an upset tummy at bedtime. If the kid knows his stomach feels sour when he heads to bed, you can at least give him a barf bucket. It's when it comes on without warning that you have a problem.

So here are some of my favorite terms for vomit. Feel free to add your own to the list.
1. The technicolor yawn
2. Worshipping the porcelain goddess
3. Hurl
4. Tossing the proverbial cookies
5. Blowing a rainbow
6. Upchuck
7. Hork your guts out
8. Heave
9. Retch
10. Spew chunks

And, on that note, I bid you all a Happy Thanksgiving. May your turkey day meal stay where you put it and not end up on the carpet at 2 in the morning.


Lyle said...

No one said anything about vomit patrol when I signed on to be married. Ok, I lie. When new babies cry during the night, I sleep right on through. The moment I hear the the vomit alarm go off, I am out of the sack like a greyhound out of the shoot chasing a mechanical bunny. My wife and I have a system. She cleans up the kid and I clean up everywhere else.

Just two Sundays ago, all three of my boys were doing the two-finger diet dance (one more for the list). Talk about putting the washing machine into overdrive.

At some point and tiem the flu mades its rounds with the rest of the family. I alone escaped the reverened bow before the alter (that does not mean I was left unscathed). I have only lost my lunch once in the past 10 years. I usually hold out for 4-5 year spans. Is that a good thing or bad, I haven't decided.

What a blessing it is when a child is old enough to make it to the bathroom on their own, before it's too late.

Julie said...

Two-finger diet dance...haven't heard that one. I like it.

Lyle said...

I don't know where I first heard the phrase "two fingered diet" but I added the "dance part" because all to often there is some sort of "dance" by the child as they fear what is about to happen.

Lorien said...

puke. you didn't use the word puke.

The irony of this blog is amazing. Guy was downstairs saying "Hey! Julie's got a new one you need to read," just as I was coming down to tell him our daoughter was upstairs hugging the porcelain. I think your blog cursed us. So here we wait...Thanksgiving morning...waiting to see if she's really gonna puke or just feeling funny...

Kactiguy said...

She puked.

Julie said...

Ewwwwww! I hope she made it to the porcelain. Why is it that kids seem to always get sick on or around Thanksgiving day? I hope she doesn't share with the rest of the family.

Julie said...

I neglected to list one of my husband's favorite terms: ralph. Alternate spellings could include "ralf" or even "relph," if you're from Utah. Has anyone else ever heard of or used this one before?

Lyle said...

Yes I 've heard of ralph. That's why I've always felt sorry for anyone named Ralph (among other names that have terrible connotations in today's language).

Julie said...

I have an uncle named Ralph...hee hee! (really)

Suzie Petunia said...

Horrors! The middle-of-the-night stomach flu is the ULTIMATE test of motherhood! Yay you, for passing the test with flying colors! Somehow we just get it done, even if we have no idea how... Take, for instance, the cat poo my husband tracked into the house and up the carpeted stairs tonight. Did you know they actually sell a cleaning spray designed specifically for that purpose? Who knew? Do they also sell something to get rid of the neighbor's cat?

compulsive writer said...

I love this product called "Kids & Pets." It handles just about any body emission you pour it on. Believing that less is more in those cases, I usually just pour on the whole bottle--just to make sure I don't keep reliving the experience for years to come.

Speaking of poo. There's this great cartoon we can all relate to: In frame one a little boy is yelling "Mom-my!" at the top of his lungs to his mother, who is of course on another floor in another room entirely. Like most of us, she yells back for him not to yell at her, but to come in to where she is to talk to her. Then you see two frames of cute little footprints running all through the house. In the last frame he has found her and reports, "I stepped in some big dog poo."

Julie said...

Suzie: No idea on products that get rid of the neighbor's cat, but motion-sensor sprinklers might help keep it off your property. Don't know what you'd do in the winter, however.

Compulsive: I LOVE that cartoon! Where do you get that "Kids and Pets" stuff? I'm thinking I should have some of that on hand for next time.

compulsive writer said...

Wal-Mart. But don't dress frumpily if you go there...word is out about us frumpy Wal-Mart people:)

Anonymous said...

Our family word is one my sister invented. It's gurp, it has the added benefit of anoynomity, no one outside the family knows what you're talking about.

Since Grace has thrown up 3 or 4 hundred times since birth, we have gotten quite calloused to the whole vomit thing. The Bissel does a good job on clean up, but I have to say that for the chuncks nothing beats owning a dog.

I'm so mean when the school calls and says she threw up, I ask if she feels sick and if she doesn't, I just drop off a change of clothing and life goes on.

In the car we borrow my brother's philosophy which he created after hauling his four kids all the way up to the ski resort only to have one of them blow chunks as they pulled into the parking lot. This is it, if you feel sick in the car, tuck in your shirt and throw up inside it. Amazingly we've never actually had to implement it.

Julie said...

Ewwww! Thanks for posting, even if anonymously. I could have done without the info on the dog, though. Blech! I thought about that tuck-in-the-shirt advice yesterday. A-- was feeling a bit queasy after getting his flu shot. He "gurped" in a flowerbed, luckily, and not in the car, but I thought about making him tuck in his shirt.