So we are having a play date and at lunch our little guest tells me his tummy is sore. (You already know where I’m going with this…)
He stops eating and goes off to play with a puzzle in the boy’s bedroom. Then I hear a noise. It’s the kind of noise that you just recognise when you hear it but your mind still tries to argue with you. “Nooo, it’s not that. You may think it’s that but it’s not really”
But still… there was that noise…
I put my fork down and race the few steps to the doorway to check on him and there’s the little guy, his face a picture of fear and horror, gazing at his vomit-drenched hands which are held up in much the same way as Lady Macbeth after the murder.
Poor little guy.
Poor carpet and puzzle.
I go in to comfort him and to quickly direct him to the toilet in case there’s more. There is.
We make it to the sink in time. Whew. But wait, it’s not going down. The vomit is blocking the drain. Oh.
Never mind! That’s ok. I can do this.
I’m trying not to look at the sink and to control my uncontrollable retching which happens whenever I encounter vomit or large amounts of mucous.
“Vomiting can be scary”, I tell his little frightened self in between retches – mine, not his, “but it’s just your body getting out something that’s not good for it. It’s a good thing. Don’t be afraid.” What I’m saying is calming us both.
It just is.
I bring him a big bowl to hold in case there’s more. “This is your new friend” I tell him. He takes it and then looks up at me with big eyes and says, “My knee is cold.”
We look down at his knee and there it is drenched with vomit.
Back to the bathroom we go to wash the knee.
My big boy is still sitting at the table munching his chicken.
Our guest chooses to recline on a cushion facing his vomit.
And now for the clean-up.
First I pick up the doused toys, wash them in a bowl and put them out to dry. Hope they’ll be fine. Then I face the long food-speckled splash on the carpet. The blocked sink will have to wait. (Later when I carefully fish out food bits from the drain through the murky water with a fork my 3-year old says, “I’m going. I’m not going to look at vomit.”)
On my hands and knees I brush and scrub and blot and clean. Our guest is seated comfortably on his cushion with his bowl. “It’s a really big vomit” he says proudly. “Have your children ever made such a big vomit?” Because, as we all know, these things are important to know. I mean a bigger vomit gets more status points doesn’t it?
My little one is hovering around asking a lot of questions. “Why are you doing that?”
“Because its vomit and I want to clean it out of the carpet.”
“Why you putting that stuff on?”
“To help clean the carpet.”
“Can I have something sweet to eat?”
Kids have no sense of decorum.
And then I started giggling. On my knees, cleaning up someone else’s child’s vomit from my carpet, with him sitting high up there observing and analysing the success rate of his vomit and my little one wanting snacks to accompany this fascinating show…
Giggling because it was funny and giggling because I liked myself in that moment. I liked that I really didn’t mind doing this. These things just happen with children – the great equalisers. My nurturing came out for our little friend just as it would have for my own child and I really liked that.
In that moment on my knees cleaning vomit I was the kind of mom I like and admire and I will always treasure that.
Even vomit has its gifts.
(PS. I laughed so much writing this and I’ve been needing a good laugh. Please share your stories so we can laugh some more? I KNOW you have some good ones.)