I am a mother 365 days a year. I wear my badge with pride.
This means that I can handle any challenge that our little peanuts throw my way.
You don’t want to wear pants today?
You felt like Sharpies on the wall was the only way you could truly express your vision?
You don’t believe third grade is necessary for your chosen career path?
Piece of cake.
But what about when the unthinkable occurs?
What happens when your child shares a lollipop with a friend? or crawls on the floor of a public restroom? or licks a doorknob?
Oh, you better believe they do that.
What happens when they get the dreaded STOMACH BUG?
No one warns you about this when you’re sporting your cute little baby bump. It doesn’t really matter though because nothing can prepare you anyway.
You have to live through it to understand.
During these times you have to be more than a mother. You have to be a soldier. Because you are at war.
It always occurs without warning. One minute your child is smiling and skipping. The entire family is engaged in a conversation about rainbows and unicorns.
Then the world as you know it abruptly stops.
You can actually hear the needle scratch across the record.
What is that on the floor? Who did this? What is happening? If I rub my eyes will it go away?
For goodness sake, tell me that someone just choked on a grape.
Then you see him. The one holding his stomach, pale as a ghost. You can see THAT look in his eyes.
He doesn’t feel well.
In an instant, your only goal in life is containment. Immediate isolation. Except not for you. That would be too easy. For your sick child. Because the only thing worse than one sick kid, is two.
Throwing up is step one. As you cautiously move toward the infected child to get control of the situation, he begins his mad dash for the toilet, his pants around his ankles before he even reaches the bathroom.
This is step two. Now you have two ends to manage. One child. Two ends.
By now the shock has worn off. You accept that war has been declared, and the enemy is on your home soil.
Time to gather supplies: buckets, towels, Lysol, wipes, cleaners, bottled water, Gatorade, rubber gloves, face mask, tongs and a fifth of the strongest liquor you can find.
There is no time waste. Or cry.
You make sure that your child is as comfortable as possible, in a place that has the least amount of upholstered or carpeted surfaces. Then the cycle of throwing up and bathroom trips continue.
As a parent, your job is to provide comfort. At least every moment when you are not cleaning something.
Prepare to wash bedding (multiple times), clothes, furniture, baseboards, toilets, all while reassuring the infected one that everything will be okay.
But you know it is a lie. This will only get worse before it gets better.
During one of your sprints to dump the sick bucket or to grab another bottle of water, you see it. Kid number two, standing there looking pale.
There is no time to panic.
You will see things on this day, that you will never be able to unsee.
I didn’t know projectile vomit could cover such a long distance.
I can deal with any bodily fluid, as long as it isn’t actually ON me. I have been known to scream as though being stabbed, or burst into tears at the site of one drop on my skin.
When night finally comes, you shouldn’t expect to get much rest. For some reason little ones never succeed in racing for the toilet in the middle of the night. Nor are they alert enough to search for the bucket left at their bedside.
Usually they just stand beside their bed and throw up……on the bed. Then call for you, to come make it all okay again.
Quick pajama change, new sheets or clean towels if you are fresh out of sheets, a drink of water and you can get another break. A break that you will use to start another load of laundry.
Until child two has an episode.
On days like these, it is important to remember that you are earning all of those sweet Mother’s Day kisses and hugs. Kids never forget how you takes care of them in their time of need.
No matter how frazzled you feel and how dire the circumstances seem, do not fret. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
There will come a time again, when no one is sick and life is back to normal. And you will be even stronger for living through the experience.
Once you have bleached and scoured everything that is stationary, of course. And maybe burned a couple of pairs of sheets.
You will sit for a quiet moment and revel in the victory.
You won and lived to tell the tell. All is well in the world.
The normal everyday things that seemed trying before, now seem like a walk in the park.
A smile actually spreads across your face. Clearly the victor.
Until……you feel that rolling sensation in YOUR tummy.
That undeniable twinge.
And then it becomes clear that the ship is sinking.
We are all going down.
**As to not be shunned, I would like to state that no one in this family currently has the stomach bug. If you happen to see one of my children licking a handrail, please feel free to tackle them, in my absence.