Tonight I'm thankful for cleaning supplies, cleaning wipes, ample used-but-not-filthy towels, stomachs of steel and Marjory Pay Hinckley.
Let me explain. And let me warn. Much like this blog entry from way back when, this one is not for the faint of heart. But if you dare read on you'll be able to laugh at my expense and who doesn't enjoy a good laugh at someone else's expense? Read on, I say! Read on!
Today I took the kids with me to Zumba. I hadn't tried a day time class yet, but since there's a kids' room available free of charge and I've got kids home these days (multi-track year round school, Brady and Toby are "off track") I figured we'd all try something new. Class went great, kids had a great time. Off to the car to head home.
But Toby, instead of climbing into the car, walked to the grassy island in front of our van, leaned over and started retching. This is a kid with a very "git 'er done" attitude when it comes to vomit. He takes care of business and moves on with his day. He assured me he felt fine, I provided him with a receptacle into which he could vomit if necessary, and we were on our way.
At home, he continued to assure me that he felt fine. So I gave him and the other kids lunch. Leftover pancakes with peanut butter and syrup. All's well. Everyone's happy. Tummies are full.
Then mid-meal Toby suddenly dashed upstairs to the bathroom to "git 'er done" again.
Then he returned to the kitchen table to continue eating his lunch. (Insert eye roll here...)
I convinced him he needed to just wait to eat for a while and I got him comfy resting on the couch instead. He made his way to the toilet to purge no less than seven more times (I lost count after that) in the following few hours. But trooper that he is, Toby made it to the toilet every time, took care of business, cleaned himself up and returned to the couch, pale and hollow-cheeked but more or less okay.
At about 5:30 I told the kids it was time to do a little house rescue in preparation for Daddy's return from work. Things had gotten a little messy with the drama of illness. The moment I told the kids it was time to start tidying was the same moment Brady decided to tell me his stomach was bothering him.
Uh huh. Right Brady. Nice try.
So I sent him to take the recyclables to the outside can. He stopped by the front door and sat down on the stairs because he "wasn't feeling well". Then, serving me right for putting "quotation marks" around his "wasn't feeling well", he realized he couldn't keep the puke down so he turned around and tried going up the stairs to reach the bathroom at the top.
He didn't make it.
What he did make was a trail of peanut-butter-and-pancakes riddled vomit up no less than seven of our carpeted stairs, ending with a nice pile of chunks right outside the bathroom door.
Oh. So you really weren't feeling well Brady? My bad.
Ben stepped in with his stomach of steel and cleaned up the (gag) chunks. I followed behind him, armed with cleaning wipes and various other cleaning supplies and rags and I tackled the remainder of the mess while Brady continued to puke (in the toilet! good job Brady!) and then follow up with a shower. We were finishing up right about the time Willy rolled up at the end of his day. How convenient for him.
Meanwhile, Ben had turned ashen. Toby was gray. Brady was green. Houston, we had a serious problem. Toby retched a few more times (but totally handled himself), Brady moaned and whined for a while but then realized there was a very good chance he'd not be able to go to the PCC tomorrow as planned if he continued carrying on so he tried to convince us he felt just fine! and quite hungry! actually, and Ben started scheming of ways to not have to go to school the next day (but didn't really think he was getting sick, just a little gurgly in the stomach region.)
We got the kids all settled in bed. Toby and Brady had bowls tucked in bed with them... just in case. And Willy and I got comfy on the couch to watch some Hawaii 5-0. A while later we heard a tremendous lego crash, some stumbling and rushing about and then SPLASH. It was apparent that the quantity of vomit that had just hit the toilet was of epic proportion. I called upstairs "Ben? Are you okay?" And he responded with "I missed a little." The splash we had heard wasn't actually vomit making contact with toilet bowl water. No, it was vomit making contact with toilet bowl. The outside of the bowl, that is. And also the floor. Lots and lots of floor. As I was assessing the situation (cleaning wipes? no good. towels? yes, that will have to do.) Brady stumbled out of his room looking even greener than before bed and moaned "I woke up wet because I puked in bed while I was sleeping."
Of course you did Brady. Of course you did.
I went to assess situation number two and the wise words of Marjorie Pay Hinckley filled my mind as I saw Brady's bed quite literally covered in puke. Hinckley's wise words were these: "The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache." Truer words were never spoken.
So I started to laugh. I laughed about the disaster in the bathroom. I laughed about the disaster in the bed. I laughed about Ben leaning over the toilet from 2 or 3 feet away because he was trying to not get his feet in the vomit he'd just sprayed all around the room. I laughed about Brady sitting at the top of the stairs (that had just been cleaned earlier) trying to convince himself that he wasn't going to be sick any more.
And then I laughed even harder when suddenly Brady was retching again and dove into the bathroom, only to slip on Ben's vomit and hit the ground with a bona fide splat. I laughed and laughed because of the ridiculousness of it all, and then the tears came because I felt terrible for laughing and because the reality of the disgusting and overwhelming situation settled over my brain. Willy joined the circus with armfuls of used but not (yet) filthy towels. We went through about an entire container of disinfectant wipes. Willy had to actually remove Brady's bunk bed mattress from the room altogether and take it outside to dispose of because Brady's copious amounts of puke had actually soaked all the way through the mattress. We filled TWO laundry baskets with sheets, blankets and towels. Ben and Brady both got showers again. Brady puked again. Ben puked again.
And now everyone is sleeping. Except me. Because this was one of those nights I probably wouldn't even believe had happened once morning came if I hadn't written it down.
Please PLEASE let the puke fest be done for the night. I have no desire whatsoever to write an addendum to this blog. Let this be over. Let their stomachs be empty and let us sleep soundly till morning when, with any luck, this bug will have passed as quickly as it came.
Did I mention that for day 14 I'm grateful for cleaning wipes? And Marjorie Pay Hinckley? I did? Oh good. Because I am.