*WARNING- IF YOU ARE OFFENDED BY VOMIT, BEST NOT TO READ ANY FURTHER. THIS POST IS SOLEY. ABOUT. VOMIT. *
During my pregnancy I tried to mentally prepare myself for the upcoming trials and tribulations that my experienced- parent friends seemed so keen on warning me about; I practiced suppressing my gag reflex for 3am nappy changes, tried building up my stamina for the sleepless nights- I even made my peace with the fact the house would never, ever be tidy again (actually, currently working on this one. Still getting cold sweats when it looks like ‘Toys R Us’ has shat all over the lounge). But no one, not a single bloody one of those friends ever warned me about ‘sicky’ babies. ‘Sicky’ babies weren’t even on my radar. OK, I’d seen the comical photos of pebble- dashed parents next to satisfied looking newborns in whimsical online lists such as ’20 Reasons To Be Glad You Don’t Have Kids’ etc, but it was never talked about as a real life problem that we may have to contend with. Well, I’m here to break that silence. I think it’s high time we get this subject out in the open and start talking about this ball ache of an affliction.
Now, the word ‘sicky’ is far too tame in my opinion. For me, it conjures images of baby unicorns posseting tiny puddles of glittery, sweet smelling loveliness (I am currently VERY sleep deprived, so this may be a bit different to your own imaginings). I pictured manageable little ‘Oopsie daisy’ style accidents, gone with the quick wipe of a cloth. This is NOT my experience of my own ‘sicky’ baby. Pickle is legendary when it comes to the, now fine art, of regurgitation. Within a few days of bringing her home, she had managed to take out everyone in the immediate family in a targeted campaign of vom- attacks. At first everyone smiled understandingly, and we were offered comfort from our respective mother’s that it was OK; “Oh, you were JUST like that, sicky-sicky-sicky!” they’d chirp, reassuringly. Then after a few weeks, with everyone’s ‘understanding’ being stretched that bit too far, and a washing machine that was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, my own mother said solemnly: “No, you were nowhere near this bad. THIS is ridiculous”, as she tried to dab off the results of a particularly ferocious attack. It didn’t matter how long it’d been since her last feed, Pickle could always be relied upon to oblige with an effortless vomit, followed by a smile. As time wore on, I wondered if this really was normal at all, but she was happy as Larry and gaining weight beautifully. After a long chat with the health visitor, I was told she was simply a gorger. She had eyes bigger than her stomach. It was just ‘one of those things that’d get better with time’.
So, once my fears were allayed, it just became plain irritating. At first, a bit of vomit on her baby grow would necessitate a full outfit change (including vest). We’d sometimes go through four costume changes a day, it was like being in a sodding West End Musical- we barely left the house. So, we moved onto a three-strikes-and-you’re-out policy. Anything up to this would be dealt with by the means of wet wipes. But then she started to make it interesting- she learned some new skills to add originality. For example, once she could support her own head, she’d shake it from side to side during an event, giving the effect of a hose pipe left to its own devices on full pelt. We’d try and get out of the way, but short of dropping her (which is obviously heavily frowned upon) this was nigh impossible. So we just had to take the batterings as they came, ensuring to close our eyes, and most importantly, our mouths (Husband fell foul of this one evening during a game of ‘Aeroplane’. Ugh…). No matter where you put the muslin or bib, she’d be sure to dodge it with pin point accuracy.
She also became more ambitious. No longer satisfied with just taking out clothing and people, one by one, she annihilated carpets, sofas, duvets, cushions, pets (yes, she vomited on our actual dog), frankly anything that got in her way. There is no surface in our house that I have not scrubbed. Everything had that slightly soured-milk smell no matter how much I tried to keep on top of it. So, in the end, I just stopped trying. It may sound gross, but after months of this carry on, combined with minimal day time napping and maximal night time waking, I just started, well, rubbing it in. No one seemed to notice (in retrospect, I imagine people were just being polite rather than exclaiming that me, my baby, my house and everything in it smelled revolting), and it saved bags of time.
All this aside, the absolute worst thing, (the thing that embarrasses me beyond compare) is when it happens in OTHER PEOPLE’S homes. Pretty much everything in our house is Ikea or cheaper, so if push came to shove it could probably be machine washed or burned and replaced at no great cost. Imagine then, whilst rubbing at a friend’s brand new armchair with a wet muslin, exclaiming “This doesn’t seem to be coming out”, my shame as she replies “Oh, that’ll be because it’s 100% wool.”
(Luckily she is a very close friend, and very forgiving). So we won’t be investing in any good quality furniture for the foreseeable future. Lesson most definitely learned.
So, the long and short of it is we have simply learned to live with the constant expectation of being vomited on- a bit like an A&E nurse, or a pub bouncer. It just comes with the territory. It’s part of our day-to-day activities; Get up, shower, be vomited on, have breakfast, go for a walk, do the shopping, be vomited on, etc.
So to other ‘Sicky’ baby owners, I offer my genuine sympathy and a heartfelt hug. Let’s unite. We are in this together. This is our war, our ‘Nam. The others? They don’t know, Man. They just. Don’t. Know.