Saturday, September 04, 2010

Why Bunk Beds And Vomit Do Not Mix

Cleaning up vomit must be one of the worst jobs a parent has to undertake within the normal gamut of parental experience.

I have literally just hit the anti bacterial hand wash to try and rid myself of that horrible tangy, catch-you-in-the-back-of-the-throat odour that seems to hang around you for hours afterwards after you have come into intimate contact with kiddius vomitus.

Our eldest has just chundered / technicolour yawned his way down every step of his bunk bed. Great coughing hiccups of bile, slimy chicken, chocolate, pork scratchings, lemon tart and lasagna (don't ask; it's been a long day). Not his usual diet I have to say but we took ourselves off to Warwick this morning to sample both its restaurants and its Saturday market. This stomach eruption should in no way be seen as a gourmet review. It is, I hope, just a reaction to the day's rather rich eating.

Because as a parent, when one of your offspring decides to blow chunks, you inevitably experience that gnawing, nagging fear that the household has been hit by a stomach bug that is going to work it's way around every single one of you and see you, the parent, mopping up yet more vomit before the night is through whilst vomiting huge spicy carroty-bits yourself.

However, the little 'un seems fine. Sleeping soundly, breathing calm. Which is no mean feat in a room that smells like Jimi Hendrix's pillow.

I, however, feel very queasy but I am putting that down to my recent close encounter with my son's expelled stomach lining that I have just poured down the toilet.

Bunk beds, for those of you that are thinking of investing in them for your kids, are not great. Yes, they save you space, but (and I am speaking from past experience here) when both occupants are ill you inevitably end up with a sick sandwich. The double decker chunder if you will. Clearing up ground vomit whilst being rained upon by air launched vomit is not a great milestone in any parent's career.

Today's encounter with hot-vom has been mild in comparison.

I have scraped off the carpet. Rubbed down the bunk bed ladder. Polished the child proof gate that divides my youngest from the upper level of the bunk bed kingdom. I have done my best to check over all nearby toys for collateral splashing and vegetable soup staining.

All seems as clean as I can make it.

The room still smells like a bulimic's handbag but both boys are now breathing peacefully and are sound asleep.

I'm fervently praying for a dry morning.


36 comments:

Suburbia said...

I am laughing, sorry! It's just that there is some satisfaction in knowing that others are suffering! You describe this perfectly, and yes, I too worry about everyone needing the sick bucket at the same moment (if only they can all make it to a decent receptical it would be a blessing)

Have you ever caught their vomit (no it doesn't work does it?)in your hands?! Takes days to scrub off the smell!

And what about when they are sick trying to get out of their room, vomiting behind the door which you then have to open inwards to get to the poor mite, sweeping the gallons of sick across the carpet during the process?

And what about when they spew from the top bunk without trying to get down the ladder and the lumps hit the floor running, in turn splatting up the wall an immense distance?

Then there's that thick sick that you need a spoon for and..

then there was the time that...

(couldn't resist, sorry, hope he's better soon. Perhaps we could start a new blog 'The Little Blog Of Vomit'? )

Kelloggsville said...

lavender, sprinkle some lavender, it knocks the smells dead. I had to change the bathroom carpet once becuase the sea of daughters vomit was too gross to handle and as a brownie leader , in the dark, but torch light, I clean up projectile vomit that arced across beds to next sleeping child. I washed child down and changed her sleeping bag and she didn't wake up. I showered in dettol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tony said...

I hope things get better for you and that everyone feels better too. That post reminded of the time that my nephew was sick and as he got ready to throw up I automatically reached my hands out and caught the entire mess in both hands.

Owen said...

Don't know how you manage to make poo and vomit adventures so readable, but you do... there should be a literary prize for that... maybe not on the nobel level, but something to recognize your exquisite talent. I could almost smell it here clear across the English Channel... Whole flocks of birds were seen heading south today at a high rate of speed, I understand why now !

Alienne said...

You have all my sympathy; I have scraped off sheets, quilts and toys at 2am changed beds and loaded washing machines (usually then finding the sick child has fallen soundly asleep in my bed and I ended up in the smelly room). If mine ever do it again they can clean up after themselves (she says knowing full well she would leap in to offer help and sympathy despite herself).

MOTHER OF MANY said...

So much worse is vomit on the move!
Trying but failing to get them to the bathroom . And leaving a trail behind you that stains everything within a 2 mile radius.
Plus our family drink has always been Robinson's Blacurrant and Apple......think about it!!!!!

misssy m said...

This sounds harsh, I know. But when your kid pukes all over the carpet, or their bed, or the sofa....let's admit it; there's a tiny bit of you that is really a wee bit annoyed, isn't there? I mean you're worried about them and all but you're "GGRRR- who's going to clean up the puke???...Crap, that's me, isn't it?"

My mum had us trained to make it to the toilet to throw up. She must have had us all whipped into shape like Crufts championship working dogs to make it to the loo and not spill one drop of vomit til we got there. I only realised this when I became a mum and my kids started puking all over my house. I thought making it timeously to porcelain was an inbuilt human reflex until that point!

Old Cheeser said...

Wow, how I am missing out not being a parent.

English Rider said...

There is something slightly "sick" about a reader who visits your blog despite the warning nature of the title of this post. What kind of "unhealthy" curiosity is tweaked by the promise of a disgusting description of things outside that should stay inside? Your posts are guaranteed to be entertaining and today was no exception. May I also smugly tell you about my daughter, who never once in her childhood life threw up. I didn't miss it at all!

French Fancy... said...

You should send this in to some parental column in one of the daily nationals - cracking stuff, Steve. I'm glad I didn't have to do the cleaning though.

Steve said...

Suburbia: I have never had the displeasure of catching any of my children's sick but I have been sick over my own hands once. Funniest sick incident I ever saw was at a school friend's party. One of her guests had invited this guy who drank copiously for a hour and then crashed out asleep on the sofa, having taken his shoes off for some reason and left them on the floor beside him. He suddenly woke up and, you guessed it, threw up voluminously into his own shoes. Nice.

Kelloggsville: oh I could use some Dettol right now - I can still smell it on me! Thanks for the lavender tip though - that may enable the room to be occupiable at least.

Tony: ah - you have had an experience that has yet been denied me. Thank you.

Owen: I seriously considered taking some photos but I think the acid smell would have melted the lens....

Alienne: some scientist somewhere needs to invent a sick cleaning robot. Something like a self motivated vax machine that can handle liquid and chunks.

Mother of Many: oh I know exactly what you mean having had friends throw up after an evening drinking "Pernod and black"...!

Misssy M: a wee bit annoyed? I was full on pissed off! I'm just glad he reached the floor this time. Last time he was sick it was in the bed sheets on the top bunk. Having to balance on the ladder whilst ladling up tepid brown soup into a bucket was a real low point in my life. Mainly because I'd just been sick myself (I'd naturally reached the toilet). Now that was a stomach bug - fingers crossed nobody else here appears to have been sick so far. As for reaching porcelain - I think that's a case of nurture not nature. Alas.

OC: don't worry. I can bag some up and post it to you if you like?

English Rider: never once? Not at all? Is it too late to do a swap?

FF: you know me; always trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear...! ;-)

Heather said...

urgh, I feel quite unwell after reading that. Child vomit is vile, vile stuff.

It's the bit after you've cleaned it all up in the middle of the night, stripped bed, changed and cleaned child etc and they fall asleep in your bed and then vomit all over that, that really gets me. I'm with Misssy on this one, child sick does annoy me but more so when it's in my own bed.

Steve said...

Heather: thankfully we have a "stay in your own bed" rule in out house to prevent cross-vomit contamination. It's all about containment. Literally.

Very Bored in Catalunya said...

I feel for you, child puke really is hideous.

You have described the chunder with such eloquence that I feel like I am in the room with you.

Thankfully I'm not.

Steve said...

Very Bored in Catalunya: damn. There's still a pronounced stain on the carpet. I could have used a second pair of hands.

Gappy said...

Ugh. It is my worst nightmare, that sound of little feet padding to your bedroom in the middle of the night, "Mummy, I've been sick all over my bed." Just thinking about it is enough to make me gip.

Seriously though, the main thing you have to watch for with bunk-bed vomit is the splash back. Can be surprisingly high.

Steve said...

Gappy: you're telling me. I have had to open the bedroom windows this morning to allow a constant change of air. I am also considering putting some bleach onto the horrible brown perma-stain that is now pulsating beneath the bunk bed ladder. No-one else has been sick though so hopefully the worst is over!

susie @newdaynewlesson said...

LOL-you certaintly used a lot bigger vocabulary then I would have to describe the same things. Mine would have been bleugh , ewww, he puked,gross.

Hope everyone feels better.

Steve said...

Susie: I like to wring every last morsel out of the experience. Kind of like my boy last night.

Aly said...

Yes, kid vomit isn't nice.At all.Our oldest is in a cabin bed with middle child's bed underneath so a bunk bed arrangement.I shall take heed of your story and I'll move beds if any of them become ill.

Being Me said...

Ah now this is a post that leaves me wanting to eat the dinner I have cooking. No, really.... Geez, Steve, you certainly know how to paint a picture. And your young'un sounds like he knows how to paint a bedroom. I feel like I can smell it from here (I can, can't I... you haven't shut that window yet have you?)

Steve said...

Aly: a little time spent rearranging furniture (or drop zones as I like to call them) can save hours of cleaning time later...!

Being Me: it gets everywhere, doesn't it? Today everything smells of sick - even nice smells seem somehow tainted by it! Blurgh!

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

Brilliant post - as someone else said, you should get an award for writing about bodily evacuations - The Poolitzer Prize maybe?

My husband was marvellous at puke-times - while I was retching on the landing, he would do the clearing up. I love him very much.

Steve said...

Trish: glad I'm not alone in my puke cleaning abilities. Is your husband available for hire?

Suzanne said...

You clean the sick up in your house - what a guy!
I hope that your little one is feeling lots better soon.
Vomit - It's bloody yuk!

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

Yes, for a substantial fee. Remember he's likely to bring his trusty gaffer tape with him so his methods will be to treat the problem at its source!

Steve said...

Suzanne: I know! I'm bloody amazing I am. I've even been known to boil an egg or two. On occasion.

Steve said...

Trish: that works for me. Hope he does emergency call-outs!

P.S. Weirdly, blogger thought your comment was spam...!

Curry Queen said...

The worst thing is when they stagger into your bedroom in the middle of the night and announce "I'm going to be sick" which is when I scream "don't tell me about it - get to the loo!" but it was inevitably too late. Much like Trish's husband, the Shah is excellent at vom-clearing. My hero!

Steve said...

Curry Queen: our eldest merely told us the obvious - that he'd been sick after we'd all heard the wet sounding splat patterns hitting the carpet and the cupboards and the post spew dry retchings. We'd kind of got the picture before that.

London City Mum said...

Been there, done that. The boys have bunk beds and I think one of the lowlights of my life as a parent was being vomited on from above at 2am whilst I tried (note the word tried ) to mop up his first - ahem - explosion.

I did think of wrapping the whole room in cling film but OH was not keen on the idea.

Of course, he slept through the whole bloody thing.

Which reminds me: must fake deep sleep more convincingly next time.

LCM x

Steve said...

LCM: alas our little tyke got us just at the moment of going to bed. I did consider ignoring it but didn't want our youngest to wake up to find his bottom bunk afloat on a sea of reconstituted carrots...

Modern Military Mother said...

I feel your pain. I too have cleaned up after the Exorcist on a from the top of the ladder room hosing special. I can still taste it. Have you ever been in a bulimics handbag - I lived with a bulimic for the last year of college best diet ever. Totally put me off eating!

Anonymous said...

When I got my son's work back from school at the end of the summer it included the end result of a task they'd been assigned to depict through the medium of art the person who looks after them and takes care of them when they're sick. I was very pleased that it actually was an attempt to draw me, their mother, and only slightly mortified to note that i was holding a cloth and bottle of spray bleach...

missbehaving said...

' a bulemiac's handbag' lmao , I don't know how you thnk of these...
kids and sick, such fun, and as missy m said, a teeny tiny bit of you in a wincy bit annoyed. Back in the co-sleeping days, in the dead of winter ( no central heating, no double glazing) every blanket in the house on the communal bed, and someone upchucks managing to hit every single layer , and it rains for weeks and you can't wash them...oh the fun...

Steve said...

Modern Military Mother: thankfully I've never experienced an "Exorcist Special" - the full 360 degrees producing a brown dado rail in regurgiated cornflakes... always good to have a wallpaper scraper in the house.

Anonymous: he obviously thinks of you as an obsessive compulsive's dream date...!

MissBehaving: what gets me is how the smell of stick remains despite all clothing being washed, bodies being bathed and carpet being scrubbed in bleachy water. I could even smell it in our backgarden yesterday!