by JO ABI
I feel really guilty.
There are seven children in my family between my sisters and I, and we have been passing gastric around for the past three months. We’ve all had a turn, some of the kids have been sick twice. It’s never-ending and we have been making sure to be stocked up with ice-blocks and baby wipes in readiness for the next patient.
As of 8 o’clock this morning the only person in our family who hadn’t been struck down with gastric at least once was my three-year-old girl Caterina. I was quite proud of her. She’s obviously healthy and robust…a real trooper.
That is until this morning…
She was unsettled and wanted me to pick her up. I was feeling frustrated because I was starving and trying to make coffee and grab some breakfast. I had her on my hip and I was trying to carefully pour boiling water into my coffee cup when the first gush of vomit forced itself up her small, delicate, digestive tract. It went all over my hair and down my top, dripping over my bra and onto my stomach.
I’m ashamed to say that I instantly turned her away from me, holding her from behind and the next gush went into the fruit bowl all over the apples and down the side of the kitchen bench. Mummy-fail!
By this stage we were both covered so I put her on the floor and that’s where the rest ended up.
I stood there for few minutes. I honestly didn’t know what to clean first. She was crying and shaking and I felt like I was about to vomit myself.
So, first things first…
I stripped off all my clothes and did the same to her. I ran nude to the bathroom and got a towel. I put the towel on the floor on top of the vomit and put all our clothes on top of it. I grabbed a packet of baby wipes and I held her hand as I used endless baby wipes to clean the bench and the floor, placing all the dirty wipes on top of the towel.
I picked up the fruit bowl, still full of fruit and vomit, and dropped it directly into the bin. Then I scooped up the towel and all the refuse and threw it in the laundry sink.
Very quickly (because she was howling by now) I put the wipes in the bin, the clothes in the washing machine and the towel in the bin! Then I picked her up and into the shower we went.
Once we were clean and dressed she fell into an exhausted sleep and I sat down – shaking slightly myself by now – and finally made myself a cup of coffee and a piece of toast.
Yes I could still smell vomit but I knew I was in for an epic twenty-four hours of sick child and I would need my strength.
You aren’t a real parent until you’ve had vomit in your hair or poo on your face (or on your hand). We look pretty cute at the shops when we are all clean and healthy and enjoying babycinos, but in the ‘boiler room’ as I now refer to my home, it’s a different story.
I repeat, you’re not a real parent until you’ve had poo on your face or vomit in your hair (or down your top, or all over your legs…).
Jo Abi is the author of the book How to Date a Dad: a dating guide released by Hachette Livre Australia. You can read more about her many and various exploits here.
What was the moment you realised you were a ‘real’ parent?