It’s 11:23pm and the noise of the washing machine is reverberating through the house. It can only mean one thing… there’s been a toddler sick incident.
Here are the 9 stages of dealing with a case of midnight vomiting.
1) The haunting howl
You emerge from what passes for sleep these days, aware that something has woken you… but what was it? Aha – there is is again – that ghostly keening from the toddler’s room.
2) The end of hope
You pad down the hall towards your crying child, wondering what awaits. You hope it’s a teddy lost under the covers, or an unexplained ‘I need a cuddle’ that you will assume is due to a bad dream. But then you open the door and…
3) The smell
4) Call for backup
You shout for your other half. You assume they will pick upon the sense of urgency in your voice and just come straight away. But, no.
‘Can you just come please?’
‘Please just come here, he’s been sick’
‘JUST GET HERE NOW’
Wailing intensifies from the small person. You contemplate joining in.
5) Review the situation
You scan the area for damage. Is it contained to the bed? (Thankfully on this occasion, yes.) Are there any teddy casualties? (Yes, times 2.) Meanwhile toddler stares at you, sick dripping from his face and his fingers, wailing. You would, under normal circumstances, usually sweep him up in your arms and comfort the poor sausage. But hey, there’s no use adding to the pile of washing and covering yourself in it.
6) Allocate roles
One takes the toddler, one sorts the room, all the while realising how much worse this must be for solo parents (guys, you’re heroes. I’d have been knocking on neighbours’ doors for help if the husband was away.) Toddler gets hosed off in the bath while the bedding is removed and bundled into the machine along with the recently removed clothing of the still crying, now shivering toddler.
7) Resettle toddler
The poor thing is tired, feels rotten, and has just been unceremoniously drenched in chilly water in the middle of the night. But your bed is calling you gently, so you pray to all the gods that this bit won’t take too long. Please go back to sleep. Please go back to sleep…
8) Sleep restlessly for the rest of the night…
…because EVERY. LITTLE. NOISE sounds like the far away retching of the poor beast. Is it paranoia? Has it happened again? You’ll probably spend the night up and down like a yo yo to find out.
9) Creeping realisation that toddler can’t go to nursery
You contemplate not telling them on account of the huge amount of work you have to do and other half being equally too busy to take time off. You remember how delightfully talkative toddler is and realise he will drop you in it if you try to take him in, so there’s nothing else for it but to bed in for a duvet day. And pray it’s out of his system. Until the next time.