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12:53 a.m.

You know you’ve been around the Mommyhood a while when you have a midnight barf-clean-up routine. I could have been better prepared but when we heard that retching, my husband and I knew just what to do.

I should have seen it coming. There were signs. Like when the little one, after having the sicky-whinies for a day or two, lost control of his explosive bowels on the carpet last night, following up with several better contained episodes. Or when the next oldest woke me up this morning with an, “I need to throw up.” This sensation intensified throughout the day until he finally did. Where, you might ask, in our totally tiled house did it happen? On the white shag rug of course. By the time he went to bed tonight I believed the yuck to be out of his system but sent him with a bucket, just in case.

The retching was expected. That it was the child in the top bunk who had displayed no signs of illness before bed was what threw me. But we knew the routine. I was on shower duty, the man got the sheets. I washed my pale boy under warm water, promising ginger ale and left him long enough to make up a new bucket for the middle child. The bed was a loss. We’d need daylight to salvage it, so the man got off easy. Together, we made up the couch and I dried my boy off and set him up in style with a cup of bubbly and the Disney channel.

Every 20-30 minutes I rinse and repeat, so there’s no use in sleeping quite yet.  While it sucks to be up all night, holding a bucket for your sickly child, I’ve impressed myself. I’ve got this down. No panic, no fumbling, just smooth (if bleary-eyed) competence and a little unexpected one-on-one time with my kid.

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