Warning: I'm going to talk about vomit! And also Down syndrome and struggles, but all illustrated with vomit.
I sat in wait for the stomach flu to hit our house. I waited impatiently, eager for it to come so we could get it over with. The girls have three blankets on their bed every night and I pulled two off and stuffed them in the closet. When they threw up at 2am and one special blanket had to be tossed in the washer, I'd have a back up ready. The other week Meijer had flannel crib sheets on clearance ($7.27! That's super cheap! Crib sheets are so expensive I often can't tell if I'm buying a three piece set of twin size bedding or one lone crib sheet. It's maddening). Anyway, I grabbed a few sheets, then paused. The stomach flu is coming. You can never have too many flannel sheets. (Especially when you have three kids on crib mattresses - toddler beds use crib mattresses.) I grabbed another couple sheets. That's how prepared I was.
And then it came. I can't even remember when it started, as it came in tandem with a nasty cold. Theodore got the stomach flu, then recovered and caught the cold; at the same time, Abigail did the reverse. I had one with a runny nose and another vomiting, then they switched. Eleanor ran both concurrently, and totally exploded last night. All three of my kids have only vomited at night. Theodore is almost 14 months and he just lets out a loan cry and then falls back asleep. Matt and I aren't even fully awake, our sleepy brains run through something like this: Is someone awake? That sounded like Theodore. He fell back asleep? Good. And we're back asleep before we finish the last thought. The next morning we awake to find him pasted over in cold vomit. "Do you remember hearing him last night?" "Sort of, maybe." And then I have to dunk him in the tub, which is the equivalent to torture for him. So now I'm pinning down a sick, recently-vomiting kid in the bathtub while he screams a shear, ear-piercing scream of death while I scrub him down as quickly as I can.
And then there's Abigail. She neither calls for me nor wails out a loan cry nor sits in one place. She's all over the bedroom, puking her guts up all over her blanket, pillow, stuffed animals, maybe Eleanor's bed. And when she wakes up, she won't call out "Uh oh!" She'll just pick up the toys and play with them. When I open the door, she'll exclaim, "Mommy, look!" She's not proud or disgusted. She's just enthusiastically stating a fact. And she's five and a half. This is every winter when the stomach flu passes through our house for five and a half years. Steam cleaning carpets and washing every stuffed animal we own.
But now there's Eleanor. And last night when she threw up (and I so knew it was going to happen last night. I just had a feeling), she let out a scared, uncertain wail, "momMY!" followed by slow, dramatic sobs. We could change her sheets and pillowcases, pull out an innocent stuffed animal bystanders. And when we put her back down and went back to bed and she threw up again, she called out in disgusted and anger, "I did it again!" I pulled her out of bed to sit with me on the couch and I learned last night that I could hand her a bowl and she, with very little assistance, would throw up into it. She could tell me when she was done and when she was about to start up again. And she's only two! She was one, like Theodore is now, then she was two. That's it! She's only two and she can already puke in a bucket! I am often quite amazed at how easy parenting a typically developing kid can be and I wonder at how I've made it so long the slow and painful way with Abigail. I do think it's one of the advantages of having her as my first born - there are disadvantages too - but in this case, it's just my normal to scrub the carpet on my hands and knees every time she's sick for five straight years.
Now that the girls share a room, Eleanor can alert me, "Uh oh! Don't touch, Abigail, that's yucky!" Or the ever-dreaded "Diaper change? Okay!" (Let's not even go into how often Abigail has managed to take her diaper off at night. I'd rather scrub up vomit than poop.) Anyway, after years of doing it on our hands and knees and/or borrowing my parent's steam cleaner, we finally bought our own and it's quite wonderfully easy now.
Anyway, I apologize for the typos and the grammatical errors. I had little sleep last night and I must sign off now without proper editing time. Wish me luck to get through today. And it's not even Friday!