Surviving Pee, Poop, and Puke
We were in a dimly-lit, quiet hospital room. Beautiful gifts lay around from the excited grandparents and friends who had visited. My dreams of having a little boy had come true, and I stood beside the crib, drinking in his handsome face. My husband joined me, leaning on the opposite side of the crib. The moment was pure joy.
Suddenly, the two new parents, inexperienced and clueless, changed their first poopy diaper alone. I didn’t expect it when a beautiful sparkling stream of urine exploded from the baby, raised in a high arc out of the crib and onto the floor. My husband and I both took a step back, unsure of how to react at first. A split-second later, my mommy instincts kicked in and I used a clean diaper to catch the ceaseless stream. I cleaned up baby, changed his sheet, and cuddled him. If only I could have looked into the future about how many gross things would lay ahead.
It was a mere two weeks later. My brother set up my living room with his professional equipment to photograph our new addition. It was the idea of someone to have the new daddy hold his naked baby on his bare arm for a perfect naked-baby-picture. In the middle of taking pictures, my beautiful new baby had rocket poop blast out and onto his daddy’s arm, shirt, and the backdrop. My poor husband, the new daddy, almost dropped our new little baby, because the event shocked and disgusted him.
It wasn’t our first or last experience with such grossness. We added three more children, who provided many more stories of gross diapers and accidents.
As a new mom (and dad) you learn to deal with all kinds of gross things right out of the starting gate. Things like baby spit up, baby poop, snot, and drool — lots and lots of drool.
So, right from the start, parents deal with gross things. Sometimes really gross things that teach us to have strong tolerance for gross things.
Cleaning bottoms of babies & toilets for potty-training boys, poopy diapers, snot, and drool are a low-level of gross.
Then there are things on a whole different level of gross. Vomit is on the whole different level to me. I struggle with the smell of vomit. Especially if I’m cleaning it out of stuff.
There was one particularly bad encounter with vomit in recent days. I found myself cleaning vomit out of the carpet by hand at 2am, because I didn’t want to use the carpet cleaning machine and wake the whole household. (Daddy grabbed the kid and said “I’ll take care of him. You got this.” And dashed out the door.) He left me picking vomit out of the carpet with rubber gloves and a washcloth. At 2am. For a good 30 minutes before I thought “Hey, baking soda would cover the smell!” Duh. Remember, it’s 2am. And I’m still in shock from walking in to check on my upset child only to be greeted by stepping in vomit. Barefoot. GROSS.
Then came the time my Athlete at age 7, sleeping on the top bunk, vomited in his bed. Oh… fun. At least it kind of stayed in his bed. I cleaned the mess, laundered the sheets and blankets, while dealing with the sick child (daddy was sick with pneumonia and on the disabled list), and I tried not wake the younger brother on the bottom bunk— ahhhh, parenthood.
Another time my then-3-year-old, Miss Independent, was laying in my bed in the middle of the night and threw up all over my bed. And herself. And in her hair. It was so bad I had to put her fully clothed into the shower in the middle of the night. Then I had to figure out where she was going to sleep. Then I had to figure out where I was going to sleep (or not sleep, as I usually just kind of wait for the kid to start throwing up again).
Those experiences taught me what no book can teach: the warning sounds of vomit on the way.
So when I comfort my 2 year old by cuddling with her in my bed, even when I’m half-asleep: I can still jump into action the second I hear the beginning retching sounds. I can’t even describe it. But I know that sound. And she vomited in the toilet. I got her there and ditched the paci, just in time. And the smell……oh that smell. I can barely hold my own stomach calm when I smell that old familiar smell.
So, then it was almost 1am. My Early Riser rested, looking so peaceful. I’m so tired but scared to sleep. She lay next to me, but I’m afraid I won’t hear her if she vomits again. And I don’t want to have to clean it out of the carpet. Or her blankets. Or her hair….
That same night, just as the sun was thinking about showing itself to us, my Wrestler, age 5, came to my side. I immediately asked him if he needed to throw up. He looked confused but said his tummy hurt. We went over protocol if he felt the urge to throw up. Eventually, he did. And he made it to the toilet every time … all morning.
I didn’t sleep that night between two kids vomiting. I kept feeling like I was just resting in between trips to the bathroom with them. Because I didn’t want to clean vomit out of the carpet. Or the bed. Or anyone’s hair.
And I really don’t want my babies to be sick.
I hate it when I can’t make it better.
But I can cheer them when they do good (like making it to the toilet and letting their body work itself out), and comfort them when it makes them cry.
And I will probably never have a strong enough stomach to tolerate vomit smell. It just gags me. But I’ll be strong enough to handle it, because that’s what moms and dads do. We just buck up and say, “My child needs me. I will be strong.”
I’m reminded that God is bigger than me when I’m dealing with something that feels like I’m falling sick and can’t go on. He’s beside me. Cheering me on. Comforting me. He’s really got it. Nothing is too big for Him. He doesn’t hesitate at those awful smells and vaporous sins that we commit. He holds us close anyway and lets us cry as we ask for forgiveness.
I remembered something as my Wrestler was in the middle of his bout with this sickness. Every time he felt like he was going to be sick, he would look for me and say, “Mom, I need you. I need help!” We would run to the bathroom together. I would tell him everything would be okay. I cleaned him up each time. And then afterward I held him as he cried.
It is a contrast to how I am with God sometimes. I don’t always first look to God when I need help. I run in sickness (sin), trying to take care of it myself. I long for someone to be there with me. But I didn’t ask for Him. I first tried it on my own. But we can’t clean up our own sin. We need our Father’s help.
The great part is that God will come. He will be there to comfort, to clean you up, and to hug you as you cry. Don’t miss this, friends: God is there with you. In those moments, don’t be afraid to look for Him and cry, “Dad, I need you. I need help!” If we let Him, God wants to train us (just like I train my kids) what protocol should be when we are sick in sin. We should run to God. God is merciful and cleans up our mess. If we listen, God will train us to come to Him much sooner, so the mess isn’t as serious.
God isn’t afraid of the gross. It doesn’t gag Him to see us in the gross sin and stink that we put ourselves in sometimes. He offers forgiveness for our screw-ups. And just like parents would do anything to help our children in their sickness and pain, God desires the same for each of us. He wants you and me to let Him be close – to help.
Eventually, as we grow and learn the protocol, we should be as grossed out to sin as we are to having vomit squish between our toes.
Linking up with friends:
Kelly Balarie: http://purposefulfaith.com/ #RaRaLinkUp
Meredith Bernard: http://meredithbernard.com/ #w2w (Woman to Woman Wednesday)
Thought Provoking Thursday: http://3dlessons4life.com/thought-provoking-thursday-welcome/ #thoughtprovokingthursday
Susan B. Mead: http://www.susanbmead.com/blog-2/ #DancewithJesus