Dad’s Gonna Lose It!
The stomach olympics
Since the arrival of our little bundle of joy my wife and I have wondered what was going to happen the first time we experience our toddler vomiting. It’s a valid question since I can’t hear someone do it without gagging. Thinking about a time when I saw it happen will have me in convulsions, and a TV show that has an actor portray the act makes me change the channel while my eyes water. Suffice it to say: I have a weak stomach.
We all know that it takes time to build up the intestinal fortitude to hold an instance of regurgitation at bay long enough to get to the bathroom and most children lack this particular ability until at least their teenage years. My wife and I knew this and, though her stomach churns almost as easily as mine, we decided we were still qualified to be parents. Even though through the years we knew we’d see every vile liquid and semi solid imaginable come out of every orifice it can we decided the love of family was worth powering through.
I have my moments when I’m right, even in the face of all evidence to the contrary. This was not one of them.
We knew it would happen and I would be reduced to a blubbering, gagging, teary-eyed shell of a man, but thought eventually you get used to the disgusting things that come out of your child. Oh! How very wrong we were. I’ve been peed on, spat-up on, literally worn shit on a shirt (only long enough to make sure the baby was safe before throwing away the shirt and running, like a little girl, to the bathroom for a shower). Nothing – NOTHING – had prepared me for my child’s first adventure into the brave new world of projectile vomiting.
I had never associated a cold with vomiting, and it never occurred to me to wonder what the body does if you ever choke on drainage. Turns out you disgust everyone around you and make your father want to curl up in a ball and die.
My first traumatic leap into the world of abdominal acrobatics happened when my little one had a cold. Along with all the wonderfully disgusting things that a cold brings I had to hold him to get him to go to sleep so that he could breath more easily. This fateful evening it was not mean to be. He choked. He coughed. He gagged. He – OH MY GOD!
I’ll spare you the more gruesome details, and just let it be known that, when it comes to my toddler vomiting on me while I hold him, I am a total baby. I gagged. My eyes instantly watered, and I yelled for my wife. Nothing but respect for this woman. She burst through the door, the savior that both I and my child were waiting for, and, without hesitation, scooped the child out of my arms and whisked him off to the bathroom for cleanup. I sat, drenched, horrified and disgusted.
I was surprised how easy it all was though. Don’t get me wrong, there was gagging, and watery eyes and wailing and gnashing of teeth, but I made it. The contents of my stomach, though churned up a bit, were intact. I cleaned the chair, the floor and threw his clothes and my own in to wash. I disinfected everything for 30 minutes and at the end I had a (very) clean room and a trash bag full of wipes and paper towels.
After the trash was taken out we settled back into the chair and he drifted off to sleep. Neither of us were the worse for wear and I had made it. I’ll never, ever, ever be able to drink chocolate anything ever again, but I can live with that. I’ll just stick to my coffee from now on. He can’t ruin that until he’s at least a teenager.
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