Big Family Barf Fest

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We have these bowls to which we affectionately refer as the ‘bowls of filth’. When dinner guests have food left on their plates, my children snatch the leftovers, and to the surprise of the visitors, go and place the refuse in said bowls.
We raise chickens, so every scrap of leftover food goes to them and their little omnivorous hearts sing and shoot the most delicious butt-nuggets from their dual-purpose rear-ends. The only thing we don’t give them is chicken, because, well…cannibalism is generally frowned upon and also dirty, carby things like Wal-Mart birthday cake because that stuff will undoubtedly kill them.
These receptacles I speak of are really big, plastic, 97 cent salad bowls from Walmart in colors like ‘ruby’ and ‘sea foam’ and their two jobs in life are to hold chicken snacks and barf. Yes, I said barf.
*Anyone who eats dinner with us is now making a personal note to never eat salad at our house ever again. Don’t worry, we don’t use them for food prep or consumption. They have a special station in life that only involves vomit and chicken vittles. Cross my heart.*
Anytime the Abernathys have the joy of experiencing a barf fest, we pull out the trusty ‘bowls of filth’. Hurling Holidays happen more often than I’d like to admit on account of people from the five and under group licking the bottoms of shoes, eating dog toenails and enjoying snacks made out of dirt and their own urine.
Today, I have the excitement and privilege of playing nursemaid to 75% of my children who are sitting around on the couch, wrapped in fleece blankets and watching Lego World, while expectantly holding their barf bowls and moaning intermittently.
I also have the joyous rapture of visiting the toilet every 5-10 minutes for projectile explosions of magnificent measure, but I’ll just leave that little tidbit to your imagination aside from this; my 12 year old is in the midst of Health and Anatomy for science this year and she insists that the gastroeaophageal sphincter is voluntary and that none of us should be farting or pooping ‘accidentally’.
Well, Miss Academically Advanced Smarty Pants, I’m proving in horrendous fashion that MY sphincter, in fact, is most certainly NOT voluntary today.
There are several types of throw-uppers in our household and each one must be cared for and approached differently.
We have the one who quietly goes to the toilet, relieves her stomach of its partially digested, sour contents and doesn’t want to be fiddled with. Then she’ll just lay down and go back to sleep. No intervention needed.
Then there’s the one who will writhe and scream in pain and vomit up and down the halls, the walls becoming painted with her yellow bile, whilst she holds her barf bowl in her little pale and shaking hand. She also has a knack for sick-sleep-walking into whatever room has a white rug or brand new curtains and decorating those with her spew. She never has any recollection of this.
We have a couple kids who will follow me around and mercilesssly repeat on auto-loop, “My stomach hurts real bad. I feel like I’m going to throw up. My tummy feels tight. I just farted. I want to eat spaghetti and chili. I need milk. I don’t like chamomile tea. I can’t swallow pills. I just pooped on my bed. I have a bowl full of barf in my room. Can you rub my back and my stomach at the same time?”
Then there’s the two wildebeests who like to approach barf fest with an ‘exorcist motivation’ and will just sit on their little hineys while their heads spin around and puke split-pea soup on every single item that’s not sanitizable or machine washable in the entire house. Then, they’ll typically have about 20 minutes of random, vigorous remission and finger paint with the throw-up before they calm down again.
There’s always the conundrum of food. I mean, I know I have to feed them, but I don’t want to. I know the couch or I will be wearing the food after an hour, so I really resist feeding them during barf fest.
I generally enact the B.R.A.T diet rule. If they must consume, it has to be bananas, rice, applesauce or toast. Ice cubes or water is usually allowed. No one likes the smell of curdled milk or chili upchuck on their shirt, so I have be Mean Hag Mom and draw the line somewhere.
There is one child, however, who has to be carefully monitored and not allowed to let anything but ice chips pass her lips. It is the Hallway Hurler.
If she eats or drinks ANYTHING, it will be all over everyone. At night, her roommate is tasked with the undesirable job of watching her like a hawk and making sure she doesn’t sleep-walk to the kitchen and down a jug of orange juice or a package of lunchmeat. (True story)
There was one time, her chaperone ran to my room and woke me up to tell me the sleep-walker was guzzling illegal ice water and she couldn’t get her to stop. I sprinted to their bedroom to try and stop the speeding locomotive, but I was too late.
She had drank an entire mason jar of ice water and before I knew what was happening, I was covered in freezing cold, yellow-barf-tinged liquid. The sleep-walking barfist was thrashing wildly on her bed and spewing her water out almost as quickly as it went in.
I mean, seriously. It didn’t even have time to get warm inside her roiling stomach. It was flippin’ amazing. I frantically tried to come up with a plan to avoid this in the future and briefly considered handcuffing her to her sister or lashing her to her bed so she couldn’t escape.
They both balked at this idea, so we settled on having her sleep next to my bed so I could keep an eye on her with my extra-light laser-focus-mom-sleeping-skills. This basically means that if a kid farts three rooms away during a thunderstorm, I immediately hit the floor run to their room to inspect.
Aside from the extra 5 loads of laundry, multiple baths to steel-wool the puke smell off and the little mishap in which a dog ate some throw-up, we’re all still alive.
We pretty much have a routine for everything in life, so the kids (except for that one special one) are ‘barf bowl trained’ and will fetch a puke bowl the moment they feel anything out of the ordinary in their digestive systems.
I salute you all from the trenches and wish you well in cold and flu season. May the odds be ever in your favor.
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