It is a truth universally acknowledged by parents that the most feared of childhood viruses is the dreaded stomach flu.
For over two years, John and I have managed to escape such horror. No vomiting, no diarrhea, even when we were both wiped out by the stomach bug of Christmas '10. Puking is bad enough when you're an adult, but when you're a child unable to utter such useful phrases as "Grab a bucket, I'm gonna hurl," the stomach flu becomes something akin to a minefield. A minefield containing hidden pockets of puke.
So Saturday evening, John and I came home from coat shopping (the quest for the warmest of all winter jackets seems to be at an end; we're opting for the ridiculously expensive Canada Goose, because it's the best, and when it comes to cold, I ain't messing around). John lifted Jack out of the car and, "Grak," Jack deposited the partially digested contents of his snack - goldfish crackers, to be exact - onto John's shoulder.
"I think I just picked him up wrong," John said doubtfully. I, being the pessimist I am, was already convinced it was something far worse. When Jack refused to eat his dinner, I knew we were in trouble.
Upstairs, as John was getting Jack's bath ready, I started to unclothe the child and heard a most unwelcome sound. Something like a cat getting ready to hack up a hairball. "Incoming!" I shouted, carrying a half-naked Jack into the bathroom, where he proceeded to projectile vomit into the sink. The poor kid was pale and trembling, clearly traumatized by the whole thing, but he seemed to feel much better once he got into the bath and we brushed his teeth.
"Maybe that's the end of it?" John said hopefully.
I shook my head. "Not a chance."
John got Jack ready for bed while I proceeded to vomit-proof the crib. See, I may not have experienced this kind of thing before, but I knew it would happen eventually. A plan for just such a disaster had formed in my mind ages ago, and now it was time to put the plan into action. First up - the accident-proof pads I used to keep under Jack's sheets when he was little. Next, two blankets that I tucked across the top that could be easily removed in case of emergency. All non-washable animals came out of the bed, while a select few blanket-type lovies were allowed to remain. I got the Pedialyte ready, grabbed a large Tupperware, and steeled myself for a long night. Two hours after the initial puke, we heard Jack whimper from his crib.
"GO, GO, GO!" John and I raced upstairs, grabbed Jack from his crib, and got him over the toilet just in time. I tried in vain to get Jack to drink some Pedialyte, but he was already falling back asleep, so we changed his jammies and laid him back down. An hour later, another whimper. This time the Tupperware was on hand and the vomit was contained. We gave Jack a few sips of Pedialyte and went to bed, ready to spend most of the night cleaning up messes and comforting a sick child.
Miraculously, I did not wake up again until 8:30 on Sunday morning. It was Jack's voice that roused me from my sleep.
I bolted upright, prepared to grab the Tupperware from the hallway.
And that, my friends, was that.
I am happy to say that John and I made it through our first stomach virus relatively painlessly. While John may consider the whole thing luck, I'm pretty sure it all came down to my carefully laid plans (and John's willingness to clean a hideously defiled sink). The next time the stomach bug decides to rear it's ugly head, we'll be ready. Because parenthood is war, people, and right now, it's Parents: 1; Vomit: 0.