Parenting: The Night of Red Velvet Vomit

red velvet cake photo: Red Velvet Cake redvelvetcake.jpg

Here is the story I banged out the other day. I wrote it out the morning after it happened. Enjoy! 🙂

We have been passing around a bit of a stomach bug lately.

Most have felt nauseated and tired for a few days. But not John. No, John has to make an impact on the world around him in any way he can.

Last night I was up late editing a book I’m behind on, when he comes in looking puny and telling me his stomach is “burning.” I take this in stride since I know he ate too much pizza and red velvet cake for dinner. So I hand him a couple of cherry-flavored Tums, kiss his head and send him back to bed, anxious to get back to work.

Thirty minutes later, I hear a noise behind me, and there he is again. This time stripped to his underwear (it’s freezing tonight – this should have been a neon sign for my veteran-mother self) asking me to come and tuck him in.

It’s 2:00 am! Distracted by the paragraph I’m on and a little irritated that he’s still up, I hurry to the back to tuck him in, then jog back to the kitchen to heat up a cup of coffee – something I’m glad I did.

Ten minutes later I hear “the tell.”

Each of my children (save the oldest boy) have coughed twice and cried a long, drawn out “Mooooooommmmmm!” immediately before puking. (The oldest boy just pukes where he stands, sits or lies. Once he vomited in his sleep, into his sleeping sister’s hair, and never knew it.)

So I hear the double cough and the first “Mo…” and hit the floor running hard (grateful for the burst of strength provided by the shot of coffee).

But it’s too late. Of course.

The smell assaults me even as I enter the hallway to the bedroom wing of the house.

I’m regretting the Tums I gave him earlier.(They add an interesting twang to the smell of vomit.) I’m also ruing the choice of red velvet cake for this evening’s dessert– even before I see where it landed.

And, it HAD landed. Everywhere. Bless the child, he did make it to the bathroom – even to the sink. But what he achieved in speed he lacked in aim.

At first I couldn’t tell whether he’d made most of it into the sink or not (our sink and counter in that bathroom are Arkansas Razorback Red – please know I moved into it that way).

But after wiping him up and surveying the damage my eyes took in the extent of the horror.

Red/purple vomit had spewed over absolutely every surface in the bathroom. The sinks, the counter, the mirror, the floor (which is white carpet – again I moved into it that way. WHO puts WHITE carpet into a KIDS’ bathroom?) and the walls.

Oh – two out of the three doors.

I am not a sympathetic puker – never have been. But this time, well, I nearly lost all the popcorn and coffee I’d been inhaling at my desk.

Not only did vomit cover the surface of the bathroom, it had somehow managed to seep into every drawer and cabinet, running down the interior surfaces and splattering the wash cloths, brushes and towels I keep so tidily put away. Oh, and the mesh drawer liners were saturated.

An hour, an entire spray bottle of bleach water, ½ a bottle of carpet cleaner, 3 towels, 16 wash rags and a new pair of sweats later, I believed I was nearing the end of the devastation.

But then, opening the cabinet containing the trash can and cleaning supplies, there – INSIDE the cabinet – the trash can sat with puke dripping down its sides, contaminating its contents. Pulling it out, I see that BEHIND the trash can on the back wall UNDER THE SINK more vomit dripped down, running in tiny rivulets where I had not looked before.

How? Um… how? I do not know. At 3:30 in the morning I no longer cared.

Thirty minutes later, only the smell remained. I think. Honestly, I’ve not yet checked in the morning light.

Three more episodes would occur throughout the night, but, thanks to my Tupperware Batter Bowl, none of it ended up on something I had to clean.

At 4:00 am, I flopped into bed. At 5:00, I got up to help him again, and at 6:00.
At 8:30, when I was still abed, my husband comes in and says “Why are you still in bed?”

I say “Last night John…” but he interrupts with, “I know. It kept me up all night!”


Ah, the joys of being a wife and mother. Actually, I do love it. But then there are the red velvet vomit nights that make me want to cry. Then I laugh. It’s all part of the fun, right?

Seriously, these are the days that make you want to “lose your religion” and say or do very bad or stupid things. Excessive alcohol and bad language come to mind.

But remember what Jesus said in I Corinthians 10:12-13

12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. 13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful.
He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

So laugh at my expense today. It’s all good now. Everyone is well again. Life brings us good and pain. And the Lord God is sovereign over all.

THAT is where my faith lies. In knowing that He is Lord, and I am His. He is faithful. Amen?

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