There I was, lying in bed, just about to fall asleep around 1:30 after tossing, turning, reading, and watching TV throughout the evening. I was finally just relaxed enough to doze off. The house was quiet and still.
Then a terrible sound broke through the darkness:
It’s the sound every parent hates to hear in the middle of the night. The sound of a child barfing. (This is just a thought, but instead of wasting a lot of time on dreaming up a lot of unimportant agendas, shouldn’t they be working on legislation to outlaw anyone under the age of 21 throwing up past, oh, I don’t know, say 8 p.m.?)
When I arrived at the scene, it looked like one of those cartoons where Yosemite Sam tries to blow up Bugs Bunny, or something at least near Bugs. In this case, I would guess it was a whale (or perhaps a larger creature) that exploded because there was the remnants of the previous night’s meal just about everywhere.
There was puke on top of the bed, on the side of the bed, between the mattresses, on the wall, on the floor, and on some unfortunate toys on the floor. I wasn’t sure, but I could have sworn there were a few specks on the ceiling, but I was too tired to conduct a full investigation.
“I’m sorry, Dad. I couldn’t make it to the toilet,” said my son in a sad, pitiful voice.
I was tired. At that particular moment I wanted to stuff him in the toilet, but was able to recall something I had read on raising children, and I thought I recalled that number 63 on the list of 100 Things Parents Shouldn’t Do, was flush their kids down the toilet. So I held off. For then, anyway.
You may not believe this, but I did my very best to measure the vast amount of liquid and chunks. After measuring, weighing, and putting a pencil to the calculator, I came up with an amount of 3.2 cubic tons of barf. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that my math skills are not the best, but at the same time, not too bad when compared to similar skills of third graders. But in this case, I feel like I did the work thoroughly and accurately. I will admit in any scientific study, the results can be off just a bit, but I feel very confident that I’m not off more than a ton or two.
The cleanup wasn’t fun. Or fast. And I was soooooo tired, I felt I might pass out at any minute. But the thought of drifting off in a pool of vomit (bringing back unpleasant – well, sometimes unpleasant – memories of college) was enough to keep me alert and laboring away.
The bad part was, I had just taken him to see a doctor earlier in the day. It was a cough, a viral infection – nothing else. Why couldn’t this barf-fest have occurred before the visit to the doc? Now, I wasn’t sure what to do. Take him back to the doctor? Google his symptoms? Perform a home operation like I’ve longed to do so many times in the past when the kids were sick? Well, even though the knives were sharp and handy, I knew I was much too tired to try my hand at surgery at such a late hour.
So for the rest of the night, my son and I had a bunking party in the living room – he was on the love seat, and I stretched out on the couch. Sometime after 3, I finally drifted off to sleep.
But not before issuing this stern warning to my son: if you have to throw up again, make sure you make it to the toilet next time. Because I was pretty sure, another interruption in sleep wouldn’t keep me away from the lure of performing surgery – even if I was only half awake.