My son has never been much of a cuddlebug. As an infant he was a champion flailer (“He sure moves a lot, huh?” I heard from many a-people as they stare down at my thrashing baby). By the time he was crawling at 6 months, he was too busy exploring new corners or wreaking havoc in general to revel in cuddles with mommy. And now, at the increasingly rambunctious age of 17-months, it seems the only time I can cuddle with my little man is when he is sick.
To be sure, I don’t wish an illness of any kind on my son. Not only is it so sad to see him feeling under the weather, but being sick takes a toll on everyone in our family. I guess what I mean to say is, as much as I hate when little man is sick, the silver lining in it all is that we can cuddle.
And cuddle we did the night before last because, oh…it was a long, long night.
For the first time in little man’s little life, he threw up. And I mean THREW UP. Projectile vomit across the room throw up. Like he’d done one too many keg stands.
It was awful. And frankly, we didnʻt know what to do. After the first time, when the hubs was drenched in that dayʻs lunch and dinner, we cleaned everything up and thought, “Hmm. Ok.” After the second time, it became apparent that this would likely be a recurring activity throughout the night. In attempt to contain the mess, I placed a plastic bowl in the potential line of trajectory when I thought little man might hurl again. But he just pushed the bowl away in frustration, taking it as confirmation that what he feared his little body might do again was truly about to happen.
We learned quickly that what he needed most and wanted most were mommy cuddles and daddy hugs. He needed soft whispers in his ear. Gentle pats on his back. He needed to know that everything was going to be ok.
Because, for little man, this was the first time his body had betrayed him. This was the first time that his world had reversed itself in that gross, disgusting manner that his mother and father had experienced themselves, one too many times before. And when he could feel his insides start to turn, and that feeling of dread began to spread in his little body, he would whimper and hold me tight, and with each little moan I could feel his little body ask me, “Why Ama? WHY?” before his bodily fluids would erupt and deluge my body. And after each moment would pass, he would look at me, sobbing and shaking, and it took all my mommy might not to breakdown with him.
We decided that the easiest and (surprisingly) cleanest way for us to handle this situation was to let little man vomit all over me. Thus, we developed a rhythm: I would cuddle with little man while positioning myself away from any furniture (i.e. bed, couch, glider, etc.); I would rub his back and whisper my love; little man would vomit his little insides all over me (he was surprisingly good and not once did he throw up on my pants); the Hubs would take little man while I quickly changed myself and then changed little man (he too wore a tshirt for easy cleanup); then I would take little man back, and the Hubs would change himself and clean the carpet (the man is a regular Martha Steward, I tell you).
There may have been an easier way. There may have been a cleaner way. But on that long night that just stretched longer and longer, this was the way that worked for us. My little man needed mommy cuddles and daddy hugs and the only way we could give him what he needed was to agree to sacrifice our entire wardrobe to his hurling insides.
If only he would remember this night the first time he steps up to a keg stand.