Barf Report (Good Morning!); The Floor Is so Much Further Away Now

A couple of nights ago Henry threw up, and it happened before he was entirely awake—with the result that if he, like a cat, had gone out of his way to barf in the worst possible location, he would have succeeded with high honors. If he’d thrown up in his bed, I could have coped just fine: that makes a big mess, but I am in my 19th year of parenting and I can handle a barfed-in bed. But he threw up over the side of his bed and onto the wall-to-wall carpeting, the installation of which is one of my top parenting regrets. (We were finishing an unfinished basement, and wall-to-wall seemed like the only way to avoid cold floors. The floors are not cold, no, but now they are covered by NON-REMOVABLE ABSORBENT FABRIC.)

After he threw up on the carpet, and into the workings of the control for his electric blanket, and all over a pile of books and toys, and down into the crevice between his mattress and the bedframe, Henry got himself to the bathroom and threw up again into the sink. In cleaning up the sink, I got bleach on one my favorite t-shirts, which I was sleeping in for reasons unknown: usually I sleep in a t-shirt that has gotten too battered for daytime, or in one of my new collection of political t-shirts, but I must have forgotten to change it. So right now I have that t-shirt laid out in the tub, where I have deliberately dribbled more bleach on it in an effort to salvage it, because when something is ruined it can sometimes be saved by MORE RUINING. But I believe in this case we are looking at a lost cause: the spray bottle was set to too fine a mist to start with, so it just looks weirdly and irregularly faded and stained. I will put it through the laundry just in case, but it may be time to say goodbye to this shirt. Or it can be a sleeping shirt now.

Anyway, you know how sometimes it takes a day or so for a muscle to let you know you overdid it? Apparently scrubbing a carpet on three separate occasions (I kept feeling as if it were not clean yet) was beyond what one of my thigh muscles thought should be asked of it at this pay grade. I think what actually did the damage wasn’t the scrubbing itself but the getting down onto and up off of the floor, again and again, as I kept stopping to rinse out the washcloth—or at least, it was when I was on my way down to the floor this morning to gather up some laundry that I really felt the burn. To be more accurate, I said “YIKES” and descended the remaining distance to the floor rather more rapidly than scheduled, luckily cushioned by the laundry. Thank you for your years of service, thigh muscle. Good luck with your apparent retirement.

It reminded me of an anecdote from the years when “getting down to the floor” and “getting back up again” were not activities I gave much thought to except when heavily pregnant. When Rob was a toddler and I was expecting William, we went to visit my grandparents; they were in their mid 80s then. My grandpa got down on the floor to play with Rob. When he was about to get back up, there was a moment when you could see him assessing his options and not finding a whole lot of them, and my grandmother said comfortably from her recliner, “Mm hm. I was wondering how you thought that was going to work.”

18 thoughts on “Barf Report (Good Morning!); The Floor Is so Much Further Away Now

  1. Suzanne

    I loved “at this pay grade.” And your grandmother sounds delightful.

    (Sending anti-barf thoughts directly and forcefully to the rest of your family.)

  2. heidi

    I am so very sorry about the barfing. As someone who has been a parent for over 22 years to 4 children, I can honestly say, I would not have handled this well. Thankfully, we are not a family of barfers. It is rare (knock on wood) – THANK ALL THAT IS HOLY. I truly hope the barfing has come to an end and your thigh is willing to come out of retirement.

    Also, I hope some day to be like your grandmother.

  3. LeighTX

    Your grandmother’s comment gave me great joy.

    Like you, I’m finding myself to be more and more creaky now that I’m in my mid-40s–things I used to take for granted, like getting out of bed or standing up, are not as easy and effortless as they used to be. Ugh.

  4. Sally

    This brought back the HORROR of my daughter doing pretty much exactly the same thing a good few years ago – fitted carpet; wooden bed frame; stuff on the floor etc etc – but with the added joys of the fact that we had been out for a full curry for that night’s dinner (!) and that she for some very peculiar reason decided that she didn’t want to wake us up to deal with it in the middle of the night so allowed it to congeal for several hours!!! A (solid, not wicker!) bin permanently stationed by children’s beds seems like a sensible precaution – at least there’s chance that it could be used!

  5. Carmen

    I am so sorry for the barfing. Barf on carpet really is unpleasant. This brought back unpleasant memories of my daughters barfing escapades about a year ago.

    But on the plus side, you amused me thoroughly with this: “Thank you for your years of service, thigh muscle. Good luck with your apparent retirement.” I also laughed at your grandmother’s comment.

  6. liz

    In reverse order of you talking about them:

    A) I love your grandmother. I laughed out loud for real.
    B) Sorry about your thigh. Middle age is doing that same weird stuff to me.
    C) Sorry about your shirt. That really sucks.
    D) Ugh. Vomit.

  7. Guinevere

    I also want to second the enzyme cleaner recommendation — it really works well. You can just sprinkle it down from above, no getting up and down to scrub/scour.

    Also, if anyone reading this in the process of making flooring decisions is trying to come up with barf-ready but not-cold floors, a year ago we put in tile in a few rooms, and to our happy surprise it was not so very much more money to have the tile people install radiant heaters underneath, first. And yes, the electrician needed to come to connect those, but that additional step was very worth the hassle. So, if one is ever making flooring decisions, one should know that heaters that heat the room by heating the floor are not as much of a luxury item as we had previously thought they were. In fact, if I were installing flooring of any kind in the future I would investigate the ability to put heaters under them first, because of all the housing decisions made, that has been one of the most enjoyable.

    1. Guinevere

      Oh, and best wishes on a quick recovery for everyone, from the vomiting and associated injury alike, and the contagion not spreading to the rest of the household.

  8. Ruby

    I regularly house-sit for a relative, and she has exactly one carpeted area in her house. The rest of the house is hardwood or tile. Guess where her dog always, without fail, chooses to throw up every time I’m there. Just take a wild guess.

    I know of a good last-ditch effort for saving bleach-stained t-shirts. You can cut a design out of freezer paper, iron it onto the shirt (it will stick, but won’t ruin the shirt), and then spray a fine mist of bleach all over it. The parts covered by the freezer paper won’t bleach, so when you take the paper off the design will show. It’s a pretty cool effect! (I did a terrible job of explaining that, but you could probably Google “freezer paper stencil bleach t-shirt” or something along those lines to find what I’m talking about.) It may not work for this shirt since it’s already been bleach-misted, but maybe for future bleach-stained shirts.

  9. Shawna

    My kids sleep with barf buckets by the heads of their beds, and we have barf buckets in all our vehicles. I have very barfy children.

  10. Gigi

    I love your grandmother!!

    My condolences on the barf and the t-shirt incident. Here’s hoping this isn’t something that gets passed around.

  11. Elle

    You deserve a new shirt. Perhaps two new shirts. And, pick up throw-up buckets for beside each of the kids’ beds while you are doing your shirt-shopping. Maybe even a small rug to go on top of the existing carpet, both for barf-catching and cuteness, as well.

  12. Anne

    Dying the t-shirt darker might work. My favorite sage green dress got bleach damaged and it then became my favorite dark blue dress. Yes, the solution is more work than bleach but if it is your favorite t-shirt… Also, you can dye more than one thing at once.

    Your grandfather sounds pretty great!

  13. Shannon

    What a hilarious illustration of the casual intimacy that only exists in a long marriage

  14. Kate

    I just laughed out loud. thank you for your hilarious recounting, and the comment about your thigh muscle retiring….ha!

Comments are closed.