The ‘Joys’ of Parenting: Nocturnal Vomiting


19 years and four children. From the first meconium poo onwards there’s a lot of bodily fluid that needs to be mopped and wiped and washed from bedding. And most of it I can handle. Blood, sweat and tears? Not a problem. Poo? As long as it’s my own child I don’t even blink. And the stuff that goes in isn’t always much better (which is why in pretty sure I’ll never be one to jump on the juicing craze). Nevertheless I’ve shovelled all sorts of concoctions into the mouths of babes (and there after wiped it from their faces, hands, surrounding area) without so much a flinching.

But there’s one thing I still can’t handle: VOMIT.

It’s an easy route to personal gagging and retching…which isn’t great when faced with a sodden, crying, spewing child who needs comforting and sorting out.


But even then, some situations are worse than others. Baby spew is pretty easily adjusted to. It’s frequency and non-offensiveness make it easier to deal with. It’s when things have chunks it becomes harder.

Nevertheless, I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on in-car travel sickness, thanks to the omni-presence of a plastic Disney bucket and baby wipes. Plus, mercifully, Boo (whose most likely to suffer) is very good at giving just enough advance warning and then aiming accurately enough that we don’t even necessarily have to stop the car immediately although Indy, who last time found herself in charge of the bucket whilst I drove to the nearest layby, would probably argue that it’s still not great.

Definitely the WORST though is the unanticipated spewing.

Strike that. The very absolute worst is the unanticipated nocturnal spew.

So it was with shock and horror that I walked into Noodles’ room last night to find him in his bed, crying, choking and covered from the back of his head to his bedclothes in summer-fruits-squash-and-chocolate-buttons vomit (diced carrots an essential addition, naturally).

I got him out of bed, his little arms trembling, stumbling around the room whilst I ineffectively dabbed at his top with baby wipes. What evil designed the consistency of vomit? It wasn’t making the situation any better and that and the smell made me want to join in the barf-fest.


I wanted to hug him tight and comfort him (and stop him from covering his room entirely in vomit)…but at the same time he was covered and Eeeew, no way you’re coming near me buddy! there were practical matters to be dealt with.

The not-so-rapid response team – ie Husband – eventually showed up and helped change the bedding (failing to wipe the mattress first or to have any understanding of duvet covers) whilst I mopped and dabbed at Noodles some more until he no longer smelt repulsive. Not easy when it was embedded in his hair.

But even once cleaned up and settled the traumas still weren’t quite over. The early hours of the morning isn’t the best time to be doing laundry, least of all laundry that needs stain treatment. But the cold light of day doesn’t make it any more appealing. And there’s the fear of a repeat experience. Every stomach churn, every gurgle, even once Noodles was back to sleep had me on tenterhooks, worried that there are only so many bedding options. It wasn’t the best night’s sleep.

Mercifully toddlers are resilient and bounce well in so many different ways and so it was that once rested Noodles is back to his normal buoyant self. It’s me whose been left traumatised. But you know, as they say, a trauma shared is a trauma resolved (and etched into the fabric of family disaster to be laughed about at a later date). So thank goodness for blogging, otherwise I’d possibly still be sat in the corner retching.

So what’s your parenting deal-breaker? What’s been your worst vomit-related incident? How do you cope?


16 thoughts on “The ‘Joys’ of Parenting: Nocturnal Vomiting”

  1. Really you are just the most brilliant, timely blogger I know. Honestly, the only reason I am awake at 3:40 am is to read your spot on (though nauseating) post and think to myself, “misery loves company.” Then upon further pondering say aloud (again to myself) “see you’re lucky. Things could be worse. Poor GluestickMum.” Here is my tale of parenthood woe. . . I was finally sound asleep at a decent hour (before 2am) when my 17 year-old (just turned today) pounded on my door and announced she had flea larvae in her bed! She has done this to me before…. Gotten an obscure thought bound up in her head, (i.e white spots on her tonsils,) googled it, and then become obsessed that this malady is her newest, biggest life problem. I have been up with her vacuuming her mattress, washing sheets in hot water and now she says we need boric acid. Lemme just go grab a gallon of that behind the throat lozenges! I am totally exhausted, frustrated, and at this present moment, she has me feeling itchy too after showing me so many photos of flea infestations on the internet. You should go online Ask Jeeves this question. “Can fleas live in your bedding without a pet?” Anyhow, she’s finally sleeping downstairs on the sofa and I am left wide awake now staring numbly at the ceiling thinking…. Why? Just why?? Why can’t things like this occur at 3 pm instead of 3 am?

  2. I swear we went through a couple of years when they only and often barfed at night. Endless sheet changes, with interrupted sleep and kids in our bed and trying to keep them from spewing on my clean sheets. And then there was The Boy, who for several months at age four vomited in the night EVERY THURSDAY NIGHT. I suspected it was his subversive plot to avoid going to our church’s Mother’s Day Out program on Fridays…but he continued the Thursday night special, even during the summer break. An eternal, disgusting mystery.

      1. Yeah, it’s funny in hindsight…15 years of hindsight. We never did get to the cause of that bizarre phenomenon. But honestly, our youngest child is so incredibly stubborn I think he could have cooked up the barfing ruse during his Mother’s Day Out weeks and then got so hooked on it he just kept it up in the summer!

      2. Stubbornness had my eldest refuse to eat or drink for 10 days because she’d hurt her mouth at baby gym. Despite being surrounded by chocolate cake and hooked up to IV drips she refused point blank. It also saw her refuse to sit down for a week after she scraped her knee and hold her hand in the air after she grazed her knuckles. Kids’ minds aren’t half weird places. :-/

  3. Wow! Way to celebrate your daughter’s 17th birthday: with mattress vacuuming!
    3am is indeed evil. 3pm’s bad enough as it’s when the kids are unleashed from school and back within earshot. But everything’s always worst at 3am: thunderstorms, noisy neighbours, sickness (how can a child seemingly on the brink of death at 3am be jumping on the sofa by dawn?!), TV… If Google had any moral fibre it would shut down in the early hours allowing only imaginations to do their insomniac best to scare the bejeezers out of us, rather than allowing for ‘fact’ to creep in too.
    I hope you get some sleep. Or at least get to make your daughter a birthday and then eat all the cake mix for yourself. You’re gonna need a decent sugar fix to get you through the day after all.
    PS I must be misery because I ALWAYS love your company. Xx

  4. OMG. I’m really sorry that I’m laughing, but I really am laughing. Not at you, mind, certainly I feel your pain with the rude awakening you’ve had….that is the worst! But your writing just captures it all in such fine detail that I can only imagine how you must’ve looked at that “not-so-rapid response team” when he deigned to show up and “help.” OMG. Poor Gluestick Mum….how in the world did she end up surrounded by people that just don’t get the proper order of things!????

    1. I’m sure there are couple out there who come together in adverse situations. Funnily enough, we’re not one of them. But at least it allows me to use the withering single raised eyebrow, so it’s not all bad.

  5. So…. yeah. Puke I can’t do, but I will muster through it… now, my sister on the other hand? She would puke just reading this post and all it’s lovely, eerr repulsive details. She almost puked in my car once because my son sneezed and had snot. I kept screaming, “Don’t you dare puke in my car, bitch!” It was pretty hilarious hearing her gag while wiping his nose. Hahaha.

  6. OMG, ha ha ha!!!! My son went through a phase of vomiting chunkily at night (I think he was about 3 or 4). Fine when it happened in summer, bedclothes were gathered up and thrown on the back lawn, so dry enough to shake out and then wash in the morning; winter was another pile of poo altogether. What used to get to me was, you can’t just plonk it in the washing machine, the chunks have to be removed first otherwise you have chunky, awful, not-really-clean sheets and blankets- ergh! Now 20, he rather sanctimoniously declares that it wasn’t him as he has never spewed in his life (I had a large pile of slightly off-smelling but clean bibs when he was a baby, testament to that being wrong!).

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