This bedtime thing has been in full swing for two weeks now and it’s already paying off. How, you ask? Are my undereye circles gone? Am I filled with a renewed sense of vim and vigour? Do I leap out of bed every morning, eager to greet a new day?
No. Gross. Absolutely not. What the hell is vim and vigour anyway?
I still loathe bedtimes 80% of the time, and I think I will always loathe waking up. BUT, I must say, once I am in bed disgustingly early, and once I wake up, also disgustingly early, I love it. I do. Getting there is a battle, but I’ll be honest, it pays off. BUT, this isn’t a bedtime post. This is a post about how bedtime saved my ass (and my sheets, at least temporarily) the other night.
Gather ’round, children, for a real horror story, mom-style.
It was 10:30pm, and let me blow your mind by telling you that I was actually heading to bed early because I was tired. I know, I barely recognize myself either. Anyway, I did my whole bedtime thing – you know, the tooth brushing and flossing, the face washing and moisturizing, the examining my reflection for new grey hairs and wrinkles and then moaning and gnashing my teeth about said grey hairs and wrinkles and then adjusting the angle and lighting of the mirror until I can’t see the grey hairs and wrinkles anymore and then trying to memorize that posture so I can use it as my go-to photo pose from now on.
Everyone does that, right?
So I’d finished all this, and headed into bed. Olive usually sleeps in my bed because she’s warm and cuddly and why not, so I got into my jammies and crawled into bed next to her. She sleeps a lot like I do – takes her forever to get there but once she’s out, she’s out, so she didn’t so much as stir when I lay down.
I was just closing my eyes and praying it would take me less than 90 minutes to fall asleep, when I heard her cough.
It was a normal cough, at first. And I registered it as such. “Ah, my child is coughing” I thought to myself.
And then I registered a different sort of sound. A wet..choking..gurgling sound. And at this point my thoughts included many, many more swears,
I bolted out of bed, turned on the light, and saw two things simultaneously.
1) A small pile of something weird and wet on Olive’s pillow and
2) Olive herself, cheeks weirdly bulging, wide-eyed with panic and that’s when I realized holy shit she’s going to BLOWshe’spukingshe’spukedshe’sgoingtopukeagainGOOOOOO
I whipped that 40lb kid up in my arms as easily as those people filled with adrenaline pull burning cars off of their loved ones. I raced next door to the bathroom and the second I lifted the toilet lid, the entire contents of her stomach were ejected into the toilet bowl. It was like everything she had ever eaten from birth until now was being summoned from the depths of her body into the toilet with alarming force.
Kids throwing up is the saddest thing ever, because they have no idea what is happening to them. First they feel all janky and then suddenly all the stuff they’d put in their mouths is coming out of their mouths and then they’re yanked out of bed and it’s bright and cold and their head is being put over the toilet where their butt usually goes and it’s all very confusing and terrifying.
Plus, even as an adult I always cry when I throw up because the whole thing is so unglamourous and devastating, so I didn’t blame her one bit when she started to cry.
I wiped her face and flushed the toilet and gave her some water and changed the pillowcase and put a towel down in case it happened again. She was out within five seconds of her head hitting the pillow and I was standing there beside the bed breathing heavily like “WTF just happened and how can I possibly sleep now?”
But, I must have fallen asleep again because the next thing I knew I was waking up, and I was waking up to the sound of that same strange wet coughing except this time she was in mid-puke already so I just sort of tried to angle her towards the towel but she was fighting me because she’d figured out this whole backwards chain of events and knew now that things coming out of your mouth go in the toilet, so I was wrestling her while repeating, “It’s ok! Just throw up here! There’s no time!” because every parent has learned the hard way that carrying a puking child just means increasing the blast radius. Contain the damage, right?
When she’d finished, I cleaned up the towel and then changed the sheets because one towel can only do so much, and this time we had to shower because as any good barstar knows, girls + puke = puke in hair. Because we just have a shower stall not a bath and because she was so disoriented, I had to get in with her, and if washing her hair on a normal day is a bloodbath this was eight times worse but we DID it! We did it.
I’ll save you some time and cut to the chase by saying that by the time the morning rolled around we’d changed the sheets two more times, had one more shower, and then both collapsed into deep zombie sleeps, hoping the worst was over.
When I woke up, the bed felt wet.
I lay there and, without opening my eyes, asked Olive if she peed the bed. She lay there too, not moving, and replied, “Yes. I’m sorry. I did it on purpose. I was so tired.”
You know what, Olive? I too sometimes dream about being able to just lie in bed and piss myself instead of getting up and walking the twenty steps to the bathroom, but we’re attempting to resemble civilized human beings here, so we don’t do that! Well, I don’t, anyway. Jesus christ.
So now it was Thursday morning and every single one of my sheets and towels were filled with pee and puke and I looked like the girl from The Ring and Olive was inexplicably chipper and cheery and I wanted to murder everything that wasn’t coffee.
Aaaand then as we were driving home, The Sickness hit me too. And because there is no justice in the world, whereas Olive’s Sickness was just an overnight thing, my illness has lasted for the past three days and yesterday the guy I’ve been seeing came over to help and, damn, if you ever want to test a man, try this. Because when they see you after you’ve done nothing but puke for two days and your entire house is full of dirty laundry and your kid has been running amok for 24 hours so everything is everywhere, and instead of being phased they just calmly start doing dishes…. Glory, you know? Glory and gold stars.
And even though Olive only threw up that one night, the events were so horrific that they’ve since been burned into my skull forever and I think I might have some sort of lingering trauma as a result. Post Traumatic Puking Disorder. Is that a thing? It is now.
Last night Olive woke up coughing and I was bolt upright and had her halfway to the bathroom before I was even fully awake, shrieking “ARE YOU PUKING? IS IT HAPPENING AGAIN? ARE YOU THROWING UP? ARE YOU GOING TO THROW UP? IN THE TOILET! DO YOUR TERRIBLE BUSINESS IN THE TOILET!”
Ha! It turns out she was just coughing, but I couldn’t stop seeing the carnage and remembering washing puke out of her hair in the shower at 3am while she angrily clawed at me and I didn’t stop trembling for twenty-five minutes. Guys, I still haven’t gotten through the laundry!
After I put her back into bed, I went back to the bathroom. I stared at myself in the mirror for a little bit longer, assessing the new wrinkles and the new grey hairs. No matter how I tilted the mirror or angled the lights, it was clear that this episode, The Sickness, had taken a bitter, bitter toll on this face of mine.
Thus concludes my tale of woe and puke. The moral of the story is bedtimes are good, I’m old, children are disgusting germ factories, and every parent everywhere should invest in a quality mattress protector.