Sunday, May 27, 2007

cashing in the v-card

On Friday night I lost my vomit virginity. Or rather, my getting-vomited-on virginity.

I remember when my anxiety was at its peak, when my life was most hopeless and restricted, crying on the phone to my mom. I was crying that I couldn't possibly have children with this kind of anxiety, that I would be a horrible, cold and distant mother too afraid of throwing up, especially away from home, to engage with her children, and to properly care for them when they're sick. Everyone knows that kids throw up at the drop of a hat.

My mom told me that if I had kids I would be a fine mother, and that chances are my anxieties about myself throwing up would be replaced by the bigger and more important anxiety of keeping my kid(s) safe.

In the early days of Swee'pea's life outside the womb, the midwives showed us how to take his temperature every day, or maybe even every few hours, I can't remember now. A fever could alert us to a life-threatening infection, which would require immediate treatment, and the midwives went over what to do if Swee'pea developed even a slightly high temperature (the first step being to take off a layer of clothing).

I think that was the beginning of my hyper vigilance. Swee'pea was one of those babies who spit up a lot. That didn't bother me so much because I knew it was normal, except I was terrified that with all the usual spitting up I might miss an actual vomit, which could cause dehydration. My mom, a nurse, kept telling me that vomiting is obvious and I couldn't possibly miss it, but I was unconvinced.

Well, after Friday night, I am convinced. Vomiting is unmistakable and totally different from those gentle little gurgles and occasional spurts of spit up. I'm guessing you guys already know that, so I won't go into details, except to say that Swee'pea threw up all over me and the floor and himself and it wasn't as bad as I would have thought back in the days when vomit was one of the scariest things in my world.

But I did feel very awkward. My first concern was to make Swee'pea feel comfortable and safe and to clean him up but I found that was easier said than done. So I'm turning to the Internet for suggestions of how to improve my technique. What do you do and in what order? Do you whip your kid to the nearest toilet, risking spreading the vomit throughout the house, or just let him (or her) vomit on one section of floor (what I did)? What position do you hold your kid in while his (or her) stomach forcibly empties itself, kneeling? standing? sitting on you? over your shoulder? I'm looking for specifics here people... sequences and methods of disrobing to minimize vomit spread and maximize child comfort? Sequences and methods of cleaning your child, yourself and the floor? Luckily Sugar D was here so we could divy up the jobs, but it was still a very awkward and inefficient affair.

Of course, I'm hoping I won't have a lot of opportunity to refine my technique because although getting puked on wasn't as bad as I would have thought, it's not in top 10 fun things to do on a Friday night.

p.s. Thanks once again for the supportive comments. I do need to hear it over and over again that it will pass and other parents have also been at their wits' end and now their kids sleep. I promise not to whine again... at least for a long time. I've been able to watch lots of Lost because Swee'pea has been sleeping quite a bit since he threw up. Poor kid.

Oh yeah - on Friday my friend asked me who my favourite Lost character was, and I had to think really hard. What I love about the show is how complex the characters are. I like them all, but there is at least one major thing about each of them I don't like. I said that Locke was my favourite but now that I've gotten several more episodes in, I have to change my mind. Said also came to mind, and that's who my friend said was her favourite. I just want to make it clear that he was in my mind before she said it. I like that he can be so kind and sympathetic and yet really hard and clear-headed too. Who's your favourite Lost characters?


Mouse said...

Several vomit incidents have involved having Scooter resting against my chest, so it tends to end up all over my shoulder and clothing. Our tendency definitely is to keep him in one place so that we can minimize the spread. Luckily, outside of a couple car-sick incidents (he had a really bad summer of that in 2005), both Trillian and I have been present, so she would attend to him once he was done, and I would clean myself up--and I'm always the one who gets it.

Now that I think about it, most of our upholstered furniture has slipcovers. And we've kept the waterproof cover on our mattress. Both make cleaning up that much easier.

slouching mom said...

oh, cin. i don't think it's ever NOT "very awkward and inefficient" when kids throw up.

and i too have been covered in it.

i guess if a kid is puking on a carpet, i will rush him to ground that's easier to clean. if he's throwing up on a washable floor, i leave him.

but that's as far as my rules go. i'm usually too sleepy to think clearly in any event.

why is it that kids always throw up in or near the middle of the night?

bubandpie said...

I definitely haven't had enough experience of getting barfed on to have my technique worked out. I think it goes something like this: (1) panic, (2) freeze, (3) clean up, (4) go back to bed and worry about the rest in the morning.

Lost, though - there's a question I can get into. In the end, I'm a Jack girl at heart. I really, really love Sayid, but Matthew Fox + altruism = a combination I can't resist.

NotSoSage said...

I don't have much experience as we've only had one or two minor instances but, yes, I'd wait 'til there's a break in the action (whether temporary or permanent) to move and/or start getting cleaned up especially if you're on your own. In both cases, Mme L was in bed and threw up before we got there, so I don't have any advice on how to hold them...

I was worried for you when I learned Swee'pea was ill...I hope all is better now.

And, unfortunately, I can't agree with B&P on Jack. Insofar as I can tell (because I'm not all the way through all the episodes) he's just too perfect, too altruistic. I like a little flaws in my characters. I'd say Hurley and Sun...and I have a bit of a think for Sawyer, I must admit, not as in a thing, but I love such a devilishly bad character who can do the right thing now and then.

Beck said...

Barfing is just nasty and you never really get used to it but maternal love will eventually help you past the EEEEEWWWW of it all. Like when The Girl was going to throw up and I automatically held out my hand to catch it - you know that you'll live through it and that you're washable.
I'm sorry your baby is sick. It's really, really tough when your little one isn't feeling good. I hope today is better.

crazymumma said...

I have a friend who is COMPLETELY phobic of vomiting, her, others, her own children fills her with a true dread.

Now,to the specifics. If it is without warning then you just do what needs to be done. Preferably down and away from rugs and beds, but I've been there, washed many things.

However, if you know a pukefest is nigh, pull out the BIG metal bowl. Lots of paper towels. Washcloths, and clean your hands clean clean clean. Keep hair pulled back, yours and swee'peas.

Vomit can be spectcular and unpredictable. Good luck. nd good for you for jsut getting on with it.

PS. After my girls stopped nursing popsicles and freeziepops during vomitfests save them from dehydration. And you can get pediapops....(pedialyte). Keep some gatorade on hand as well. Believe me, it will save you from a world of worry.

Mad Hatter said...

No vomit here but am loving the comments and am socking away tips for the inevitable. BTW, I have the quickest gag reaction out there. Am feeling confident that I will be a sympathetic hurler.

Denguy said...

Maximize child comfort is number one for me. I don't care about anything else. I don't care about the rugs, floors, beds, pillows or myself.

Boyo is practically an non-puker, but he has done it.

The Bug, whoa! A whole lot of barfing in her short life thus far. I would hold her and let her finish telling her it was okay and that everything could be washed. I would try to contain it to just the bedspread or just on me whenever possible. When she got a little older, she became upset at throwing up on other people (me) or on her things (dolls, etc.), so I tried to respect that, too.

Kyla said...

First, can I tell you how lucky you are? 15 months and this was the first time you've been vomited on? Wow! I am impressed!

Here is how it goes here, because it happens way too often.

Scenario 1a: KayTar vomits in her crib at night and Josh is home. I immediately run a bath. Josh strips her in the crib and wipes off the excess. He delivers her to the tub. I wash her. He strips the crib and cleans the mess. I dress her, put new sheets on the bed. Finished! Scenario 1b: If Josh is not home, I immediately strip/wipe her in the crib, take her to the bathroom and wash her. Dress her, clean mess, new sheets. Finished!

Scenario 2: OMG! She's gonna blow! Whoever is closest runs her in a sitting position to the bathroom, aiming for the sink or the tub. A toilet is not a big enough target. We run her in a sitting position because if she starts to blow before we get to the bathroom, most of it will be absorbed by her legs.

Scenario 3: I'm covered in vomit! Gag! Strip KayTar, strip me, pull on t-shirt, bathe KayTar, clean mess, clean me.

For the record, we use Clorox Anywhere to clean up the crib, bleach cleaner in the bathroom, and Nature's Miracle or Oxy Deep on the carpets. We also have a Little Green Machine that we use on the carpets.

I am a wealth of vomit related information...seriously, email me anytime. ;)

Kyla said...

Oh, and my fave is Charlie, hands down.

Bon said...

i wondered too if i'd know the difference between spitup and vomit. from your description, my guess is that we haven't quite made it to vomit yet here in the crib.

so much to look forward to!

poor little Swee'pea...i hope he feels better soon, and that your technique doesn't require retesting for some time to come.

Christine said...

Vomit sucks. The first instance usually happens where it happens, but after that we line the bed/couch with towels and bring in the bucket. Yuck. But is the hardest thing tosee your little one so upset, and vomiting really gets them crzy scared and upset!

Oh, and I love Sayed and Charlie. Jack drives me crazy--the whole God comlex/reluctant leader thing has gotten way old for me. And Hurley rocks!

cinnamon gurl said...

Kyla, I had a feeling you might be the authority on this one.

Jack's God complex totally gets on my nerves too.

Sage, I have a bit of a thing for Sawyer but it's mostly because of his dimples and pecs and IN SPITE of his arrogance. I like a bad boy as much as the next person but he's just too full of himself.

Oh and I love Hurley and Sun... somehow I just forgot about them while I was considering favourite characters.

I like Charlie a lot but I am really not impressed that he took some of the heroin from that beachcraft (just finished season one). He should stay the hell away.

Aliki2006 said...

I'm so sorry about the vomit--blech.

My favorite character was Charlie, although I guess now it looks like he's be killed off, which is a bummer. I also like Said, too.

Mimi said...

We just did this last weekend!

Kyla's routine is much like ours. Miss Baby makes an odd gurgle before she blows and our technique varies: I 'throw myself on the grenade' (let her barf on me) because I figure it's easier to change my clothes than shampoo the rug. Pynchon aims her out at the floor, because he hates vomit.

The thing I found most helpful was to keep smiling and to keep calm: Miss Baby only really got upset when we were freaking out about being covered in barf or whatever. As long as I smiled, she was a-okay fine with barfing everywhere.

Pragmatics: get undressed in the tub. Open a window to dissipate the smell. When you put sheets back on the bed, put a waterproof change pad down on top -- the first barf is usually not the last.

I hate hate hate vomiting. But here I am, looking at Miss Baby and saying "She really doesn't chew that cheese, Pynchon, look! And is that a whole grape?"