Monday, August 31, 2015

Driving the porcelain bus

Vomit. No one really likes it, do they? As a parent, I've just learned that it happens, like poop, but messier because no one's invented a vomit diaper, and who would want to wear one?
I did my share of vomiting as a child, one thing that really stood out was that if I was vomiting, then I was crying. This followed me into adulthood. And I didn't just vomit when I was sick, no, I was a "sympathy vomiter." If I got one whiff of someone else's sick, you'd better hand me a bucket. Then there was the motion sickness. If there was a curvy stretch of highway, our family car could be found on the side of it with little Suzie puking her guts up. So. Much. Fun.
Fast forward to pregnancy with boy #1. He is a darling young man now, but when he was in utero he made me vomit almost daily during the first trimester. Not HG vomiting, thankfully, but it was still a new experience to be sure. And I learned so much.
First, I stopped crying. When you vomit every day, you get so used to it that you stop crying. It's part of the routine: Get up, eat, vomit, brush teeth, maybe vomit again, rinse your mouth & get on with your day.
Second, I began to get picky about where I vomited. If Clint was at work, I would vomit in the kitchen sink, then run the garbage disposal with a little baking soda. If he was at home, I used the toilet so as not to gross him out. But after the first few times, it had to be a clean toilet. Very clean. And I had to stop puking in my hair because sometimes it was after my shower and, ewwww.
So I added some steps to the routine. I inserted "pull hair back" between "Get up" and "eat." Sometimes I scrubbed the toilet right after I ate, but before I vomited. I also encouraged Clint to tidy the bowl after himself when, um, his aim was a little off. I always grabbed a box of tissues on my way to the bathroom because once your spit hits the toilet, you don't want any of that rebounding on your face. It was amazing how OCD someone as laid back as me could get about this whole sick business.
None of my kids really threw up until they were at least three. As infants there was spit up, but not the really sick stuff. I applied my rules to them. If they gave me warning, I cleaned the toilet, held their heads, pulled hair back, wiped their faces & rubbed their backs. Everything that helped me, I tried to do for them.
But kids are unpredictable. For instance, my darling daughter's allergies caused her to have some stomach upset from drainage until we figured out the cause & gave her allergy medicine. Naturally, the diagnosis wasn't made until after she had thrown up on her antique quilt--twice. (If you need to know how to clean an antique quilt, I'm your expert)
Then there was boy #2's vomit shower from the top bunk at 2 a.m. That was unlike anything I'd ever seen. We had to throw away a pair of shoes, some stuffed animals, and at least two books. I have never been more grateful for my carpet cleaner in my life!
Apparently, child #4 has learned a lot from his siblings. The last time he threw up, he made it to the toilet, vomited, flushed, and cleaned his own face before I could even get to him.
Maybe my days of cleaning up kids' sick are numbered, but that's one part of parenting I won't miss.
Not even a little.