Last night, I slipped on my kid’s vomit — and I can’t stop thinking about it. Which is probably a good sign that there was no concussion or memory loss when my head slammed back on the tile floor. It all happened so quickly.
I was laying by my son, waiting for him to fall asleep. The deafening sound of his stomach gurgling had me knowingly worried about what was to come. By the third kid, I’ve learned many of the telltale signs of oncoming bouts of … bodily fluids.
He had already been up with the first episode of the night, which my husband helped him through at 2:00 AM. He answered the distress call, ushered my son to the toilet, and cleaned him up. I worked on cleaning up the bedding. Clearly my toddler had licked his shoe or found some wayward germs that afternoon, and now we were experiencing the aftermath.
Time to Tango
The events in the next paragraph all went down in about 10 seconds flat.
Now, he just lay with his eyes open, staring at the ceiling, occasionally moving and adjusting his arms and legs. After a while, he was up again and it was happening. Again. I quickly sprung to my feet, grabbed him, and ran down the hallway to the bathroom as he let it all out.
That’s when I stepped in the freshly fallen bile.
My feet flew out before me as I cradled my son in my arms to prevent him from taking the fall first. The house was pitch black. With nothing to break my fall, I ate it — my body and my head went back onto the tile like an awkward goalie on slick ice. My back was wet. My legs. My hair. But my son was on top of me, safe. I yelled for my husband as I feared that there was no safe way to rise as I slipped around with every move.
Tag, You’re It.
This is the part where you may be able to truly understand tag-team parenting. Moments before, either one of us could have been fast asleep, but when the kids call, we literally have to spring into action. Some nights, we have three moving parts: our first, second, and third children. Sometimes, it’s all during the same half hour. Sometimes it’s once an hour, on the hour. Some nights, they sleep… so we sleep, too.
Someday, we’ll sleep again. Our kids will have different needs and they may be able to care of their own upset stomach in the middle of the night without us. Until them, we will be protectors of our realm. The Night’s Watch, if you will. (GoT fans? Anyone??)
Do you tag-team parent?
What’s your family signal for “you’re it!”