What To Do When The Kids Start Puking

That is a great puke bucket.  (morguefile.com)

How do you handle the stomach flu when you have children?  Seriously, is there any way you can be warned on what to do when the kids start vomiting?

I remember a time in my life when I could count on one hand the number of times I had thrown up.  Now there are weeks where I need a calculator.

When you find out you are pregnant people say, "Congratulations!"  What they should really say is, "I hope you have a strong stomach because VERY soon you will be surrounded by bodily fluids.  Oh- and congratulations!"

It must be flu season everywhere.  All over Facebook everybody is posting about their vomiting kids.  As of last Thursday my house is no exception.  I suddenly realized that I now have a vast body of knowledge when it comes to puke and I would love nothing more than to share it with you while it is fresh on my mind.

Rule 1)  Men cannot handle vomit.

I realize it sounds like I am being sexist.  There MAY be men who can handle puke, I just didn't happen to marry one.  I realized this when I was pregnant with our first baby and I had the morning sickness.  When I would head for the toilet he would first: A) Try to talk me out of it and then B) Run from the room with his hand over his mouth telling me in a muffled voice that I would have to clean that up myself.


It's OK.  He is good at other stuff.  But I seriously don't know how a man who got through countless gross anatomy labs and cadaver labs cannot handle puke.

Rule 2)  The key is to breathe through your mouth.

The reason I never puke when the kids puke is because I refuse to smell it.  When it comes up I start mouth breathing.  If you can't smell it, it can't make you sick.

So- mouth breathe.  Don't smell.  Turn your face away if you need to but don't let the vomiting kid see you look distressed.  Remember- Mom has got everything under control.  Puke is no big deal.

Rule 3)  Rub the back.

There isn't much you can do once someone you love starts spewing.  The only things I have found are the gentle back rub and softly muttering, "good job, it's OK."  I know people say you shouldn't praise your children unnecessarily, but I still praise them when they puke in the bucket and not on the floor or sheets.  And everybody needs to be comforted if they are vomiting.  

Rule 4)  Keep up on the laundry.

I used to think that finishing the laundry was a sure fire way to have somebody get a flu or food poisoning.  But then I had it happen when the laundry was overwhelming.

Do not tempt the universe.  Stay up on the laundry and even though it will suck to wash all those extra towels, it won't make you cry if you did a load the day before. 

Rule 5)  For the love of all that is holy, keep some bleach in your house!

I am pretty big into vinegar and natural cleaners and essential oils and all that jazz.  But for freaks sake DO NOT GET RID OF ALL THE CHEMICALS.  I can guarantee that you will one day have a contagious, virus filled mess that cannot be stopped by vinegar alone.

I am so very glad that somebody invented bleach and that it is still sold over the counter.  It makes me feel so clean.  (Please don't tell me that bleach melts skin and causes cancer.  You should see what I cleaned up an hour ago.)

Rule 6)  You are NOT allowed to get sick too.

Oh, didn't anybody mention that?  Yeah, it was in the fine print.  Mom is not allowed to get the pukes.  And if she does she just has to pretend that it didn't happen.  I find that mind over matter works well.  Even if I feel like hell I just keep telling myself that I am NOT sick.  I don't have time to get sick.  There are towels to wash.  I AM NOT GETTING SICK.

Rule 7)  Keep a bucket on hand at ALL TIMES.

I swear it- my daughter came out of her room the other day, said she felt nauseous, and I had an empty Tupperware under her before the puke hit the floor.

That was the moment I realized that I had FINALLY ARRIVED.

Still trying to figure out how I can work that into a resume...

Anyway- a sick kid goes to bed with a bucket.  They walk with a bucket.  Their best friend is a bucket until they have proven themselves trustworthy to be bucket free once more.

Mastering this rule will save you hours of work.

Maybe you thought you were going to get lots of natural remedies in this post-  some homeopathics that magically cure the puke.  My hubby is a big fan of apple cider vinegar.  (It helps everything, by the way.)  But I am of the mind that sometimes when people start puking you just better hold on, grab a bucket and a bottle of bleach, and try to find the humor in it.

Good luck-

I'm rooting for you.


Jenna said…
>>Rule 1) Men cannot handle vomit.

My husband deals with all vomit that occurs in our house. I run in the other direction while dry heaving.

I am a veterinarian, and my capacity to cope with disgusting things is high. I'd rather drain an abscess, or flush maggots, or amputate a gangrenous limb. Vomit drives me right over the edge.

Men do not get a pass on this one!
Allison said…
Rule #4 addendum

Be sure that if you are actually keeping up on laundry to never leave the basket or pile of freshly washed things in the path between puking child and bathroom.

(currently have a child with bucket downstairs watching a show...)
Megan Hutchings said…
Haha. My hubby can handle puke ONLY if he's the ONLY one available... and even then it's iffy.

A week ago we were doing this too... only I DID get sick. Did I mention only being 6 weeks post partum? And it wasn't just coming out the top if you know what I mean :P
Unknown said…
You should really have a disclaimer reminding moms like me to NOT read this while eating lunch ;)We have only dealt with this issue once and I was without hubs but thankfully at my mother's house so she was lots of help until it hit her, too. Yuck. I don't even want to think about it anymore.
Mommy Baby Spot said…
Laugh out loud funny (I feel like LOL is just overused when I actually did laugh out loud) thanks! and yeah I was totally there the other night, no bucket but I just left him in his high chair which caught 99% of it then up to the tub we went and Dad cleaned the offended material items (yeck)!
Jeanna said…
Hee hee! I'm with Jenna, though (which is weird, because my name is Jeanna). I'm the one in the house who can't handle barf. In fact, when I was pregnant, there were a couple times when my husband cleaned up my barf (believe me, you don't need more details). If he hadn't done it, I just would have added more.

I have a friend who says that you know you've arrived at motherhood when your child starts puking and you put out your hand to CATCH it! And I thought, are you kidding me? That's the most disgusting idea ever! I would rather let it spray and then deal with it--with lots of towels and washrags and such, so I don't actually have to touch the stuff. Blech.

Oh, and hooray for buckets! I'm always a fan of buckets.
Mama Birth said…
I HAVE TOTALLY CAUGHT IT WITH MY HAND! And I have to say, it really beats the times I have caught vomit with my shirt and it went down my shirt. Oh my gosh. I must love my kids.
Jeanna said…
Just one more proof that, despite having two children, I still have not yet arrived at Motherhood. :)
Stephanie said…
I remember the first time my baby puked. We were moving. He was 9 months old and fussy. I was throwing him in the air, trying to make him laugh. Instead, he puked. In my mouth. We all went on to get that virus (I was next, you know, since he puked. In my mouth.) It was so awful. I live in fear of puke bugs...