Things Parenting Books Don’t Teach

When you have children, there will be moments during their lives where you are caught completely unprepared. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve thought about the situation you find yourself in, it doesn’t matter how many people have offered you advice, it doesn’t matter what books you’ve read, it doesn’t matter if you’ve even been through it before…

It will catch you off guard.

I’m fairly lucky. While some of my friends have had to deal with illness after illness it seems, my kids have rarely gotten sick – at least, until very recently. R recently spent some time in the emergency room for a high fever, body aches, chills, and general fatigue. Something viral, we were told, most likely the flu.

Tonight, at 2am, I woke up because I noticed one of the lights was on in the bathroom, which was pretty unusual. R still wears pull-ups to bed, but the best I could guess was she had gotten up to use the bathroom at some point. E needed a bottle anyway, as she had just woken up, so I got out of bed to take care of the light, use the bathroom, make a bottle, and turn the heat up.

As I was washing my hands in the bathroom, I heard a little voice at the door. “Mom, what you doing?”

I opened it to find R standing there. I told her I had to go potty and it was time to go back to bed. Just as she was asking me for some water, it happened. My worst nightmare. It was honestly the one thing that I have been dreading since R was born just over four years ago.

She vomited. Everywhere. All over my brand new carpet.

My half-asleep brain started to panic and I called for my husband. My inability to keep calm, of course, upset my daughter too. He came running out into the hallway to find the mess, just in time for me to attempt to get her into the shower, just as she began getting sick again.

More vomit. All over my bathroom.

She was crying, I was panicking, trying to figure out what to clean next. My husband was trying to calm her down and get her cleaned up.

Almost forty minutes later, R had been cleaned up and plopped onto the couch with a bucket, a movie, and a glass of water. I had managed to clean half the bathroom floor and all of the carpet in the hallway. My husband cleaned up the other half of the bathroom and the child, and then threw a bunch of vomit-covered things into the wash.

Nothing prepared me for this. Even arming myself with the knowledge that I would eventually have to deal with a sick child didn’t prepare me for the scene I had to deal with tonight.

As parents, there will always be things we’re good at and things we’re not good at. For me, dealing with projectile vomit at 2am is not exactly something I’m well suited for, but I’m thankful to have a partner who’s willing to spring into action with me and help me clean up some of it too. I’m twenty-nine weeks pregnant, exhausted, and so grateful that I didn’t have to deal with this by myself.

Husband: if you ever read this, know that I love you. Truly. I don’t know how I would have gotten through tonight without you.

Meanwhile, in spite of all of the commotion, somehow my dear, sweet toddler managed to sleep through everything. What a time for her to start sleeping through the night.

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