Having 2 kids is a challenging situation. Hell, having 1 kid is a pretty challenging situation. 2 just lets you know further more that you are not in any form of control, even though you may think you are. You see, when you have 1 child and something goes wrong, you have 2 adults capable of finding solutions. Even if 1 of the adults is gone, the other is fully capable of dealing with whatever may arise. Now when you have 2 kids and something goes wrong, you are outgunned and on your heels. Immediately when something happens with one, you have to secure the other, you immediately need more hands.
I want to use puking to drive home this example. As you know if you ever read this blog, we have 2 daughters. The oldest is now 2 and the youngest a bustling 7 months. We have been a part of the puking dilemma multiple times, as I am sure many of you have. In the first example my wife was home with our oldest and actually pregnant with our youngest. Our oldest threw up everywhere. I think the original nucleus was in the kitchen, then up the stairs and into the bathroom. I got a message from my wife to come home, so immediately I headed that way. About 30 min later thanks to trusty LA traffic, I had traveled 6 whole miles and made it home. I came upstairs to see my pregnant wife sitting on the bathroom floor with our daughter, both naked covered in puke. This was the first of the puking incidents. It was apparent that the tag team that was to come was gonna give us a run for our money. The issue was that our daughter didn’t want to move or do anything after she threw up and she fell asleep on my very pregnant wife. So the easiest place to stay was just on the floor. Good thing my wife is a warrior and took this in stride.
The next time I got a text about the puking was probably a year later. My wife texted me the same thing. So I dashed out of work and headed towards the house. Luckily, one of our close friends was at the house. Because the puke was once again everywhere. But this time it was different. We had a fresh baby in the house. Well 4 months fresh, still pretty new to the equation. So immediately when 1 pukes, the other is exposed. Thank the Good Lord our friend was there to hold our youngest. Because I don’t envy anyone that is being puked on by a large toddler, and having to fend off/keep safe a curious baby. When I arrived home, our Godsend of a friend helped the girls up to the shower, and helped clean up.
Just 3 days ago, my wife left for work and I was attempting to get the trifecta. Getting both girls to sleep and then myself is my new goal anytime I am watching them. The sleep is amazing, but the glory in this moment is unmatched. I had gotten our 2 year old to fall asleep, just by about 82 seconds. I was still laying there, not to make any sudden movements to bring her out of her slumber. The 7 month old was on the other side of the bed playing with some toys in her own quiet way. Then I heard it, the guttural blluuuppp, a sound heard anywhere and immediately recognizable. I was laying right next to her, so I was a goner. First launch was a small amount of puke on the pillows. By that time I picked her up and headed for the bathroom, as smoothly and quickly as a possibly could. In the 27 feet to the bathroom, I got 3 rushes of warm toddler contents down the front of me. I don’t wish a puke shower on anyone, but I would have to say, my concern was only on my girl. I wanted her pain/puking to be mine immediately just so she could feel better. This is a very strange change for me. I thought I would be grossed out for sure, but I was not at all, and I was covered. Its amazing the changes that take place inside of you that you are not aware of with kids. When the time arises, you all of the sudden have some new tools in your tool belt. I took off all of our clothes, laid them on the floor, and turned on the shower. Where is the 7 month old? SHIT!! I very calmly told my post puking toddler that I had to go check on sissy. I quickly washed my hands, and ran my naked ass into our room. She was just playing away. Thank GOD!! I put her in her pack and play (essentially a small baby looking cage) and headed back to the bathroom. My oldest and I took a shower and cleaned all of the puke off. She literally projectile vomited into the undercarriage of my beard. Getting this out was quite a feat. I still don’t regret having a beard, even after having it filled with toddler vomit. Manstuff really. If you have a beard, you understand.
We headed back into the room, to meet up with our screaming roommate. I now have one limp and tired toddler that is soaking wet, and a screaming 7 month old that keeps getting on her knees and falling down in her baby pen. Triage folks, its about triage.
#1 Dry off and Dress Toddler
#2 Put Toddler to bed
#3 Get 7 month old out of pen
#4 Take her out of room where Toddler (hopefully finished puking) is now sleeping
#5 Fail miserably at putting 7 month old to sleep
#6 Check on sleeping toddler 28 times
Survival. Its about survival. We are trying to keep the 7 month old alive, and keep the toddler from going Godzilla on her. This is a story about love. But its always a battle. Someone needs to sleep. Someone needs to eat. Someone needs to be changed. Someone is doing something new that we cannot figure out. Did we eat? When did I shower last? Can we do laundry now?
Having 2 is incredible and incredibly challenging. Our oldest is just getting to where she can tell us what’s wrong, when she wants to at least. Otherwise, we find ourselves sifting through screaming fits, and dirty looks. I am assuming this is a small preview of how the teenage years will go. We are all constantly learning about each other, and this is a beautiful thing. Turns out when you have another baby, you already forgot about all of the shit you had to do for the other one at that age. Not forget like you don’t know what to do, just conveniently forget so you are so viciously made aware with the new one. I completely forgot how a young baby will incessantly scream and cry in the car. Our oldest grew out of this , and I guess I just thought we were done. I was definitely mistaken. This was a rude awakening. Then the much louder toddler joins in. The glory of this situation is hardly done justice to with words. We and you are totally screwed.
It’s an illusion. Control is completely an illusion. I mean you are in control to a certain extent, like you pay for everything and you are the one that can reach the high shelves. As far as antics go, you are a guest. When both of your kids are mobile, you will start to realize the lack of this so called control. You suddenly start dreaming about padded walls and naps. Children reframe life. When you have 2 its man to man defense, so awareness is heightened for sure. When you are by yourself and you have 2, you are currently losing with zone defense. I am not sure how 3 or 4 or 5 go, but thankfully they get older and they learn. When they outnumber you, this is where elegance comes in. Say few words, get maximum response. Triage and elegance folks. Put out the biggest fire first, and be direct with your tasks and actions. Parenting truly is a jungle. Kudos to all of you in the trenches on the daily.
2 years later commentary
I look back on this night and laugh hysterically and remember it like it was yesterday. The warm surge of toddler vomit on the underside of your beard and chest is not likely a feeling that will wash away anytime soon. But thankfully it hasn't happened again, but we have had more nights with puking as the main event. One night all four of us got a bug that until today has us unsure as to what happened. The best guess was that we had bad food. It started with a barrage of puking from our oldest in the bed, in the bathroom and all over our room. Then our youngest started in. Then mama brought her violent puking in the already tumultuous scene. She was having her way with the toilet for six bouts with the exorcist sounding experience. All of our towels, all of our sheets were covered. I was so confused to whether I felt the puke coming on because of everyone else's puking, or because I actually felt the same way. I went downstairs and gagged myself just to get it over with. This is always a fun experience. I kinda felt halfway here and halfway there. The semi puking didn't really make me feel better, it just knocked me just enough off normal that everything else became harder.
The cleanup was pushed to the next day. We literally just left a pile of wreckage in the bathroom, that we then just threw into multiple trash bags straight to the dumpster. No one wanted to clean that mess up, and not to mention we were all so depleted that it really didn't matter anyway. Sleep and hydration became the priority, nothing else really mattered.
You know what really sucks that no one ever talks about. Sick kids really make life a challenge. Wait till your sick too. The magnitude of throwing up yourself, and caring for a throwing up child is crazy town. Its all consuming on multiple levels. It literally seemed like it took us a week to recover from this night. Between yawns all day, to tantrums, to thousands of cups of coffee, we were feeling it hardcore. Other than those instances puking really hasn't been a big hurdle for us.
As the years fly by and the days drag on we have become very accustomed to dealing with situations with the girls. Its always about triage, and thats honestly the easiest way I have to relate to it. Who is in the worst condition? Take care of this first. Then deal with the next most threatening fire. Usually by the time the worst is resolved the other is dwindling, as toddler problems aren't always long winded occasions.
To be real honest at one time in my life, puke made me puke. After having being puked on multiple times. I really don't care any more, it doesn't bother me. Kids have their own magnificent way of destroying your irrational but very real phobias. Space doesn't matter with kids and neither does time. Your relationship transcends this and you will never be the same. I see all you parents out there killin the game. High Five and big hugs to you. Tell me your puking story in the comments.