When the Vomit Monster Comes to Town

Please note – in case you hadn’t figured it out from the title, this post is about vomit. If you are eating, or get queasy at the mere thought of vomit, you may just want to click away now.

It started in the wee small hours of Saturday morning. First the baby, then one of the girls, then the big boy. By 3am I’d given up on the idea of sleeping and was just waiting for the next round of vomiting to hit and trying to decide if I felt like hurling myself or if I was just really, really tired.

Thankfully the spewing was short lived and by the morning (the real, day light, kind of morning that is) it seemed to have stopped and I was just left with four pale, tired children who had mild temps, and a really really tired mother.

It’s days like these that ABC kids is my bestest friend, and we holed up on the couch and watched TV all day, some of us through partially closed eyes. I decided the piles of spewy washing, the messy house and a nutritious dinner could wait until tomorrow, I had coped with enough for one day.

Coping with vomit is just one of those things you have to do as a parent. When I was teaching preschool I had a yearly agreement with a fellow staff member – “Poo or spew?” We’d agree which of us would deal with which thing. I always got spew because my work mate just couldn’t manage to deal with it without joining in herself. I still think I got the better deal because working with three and four year olds there was a lot more poo than spew! These days I draw the short straw on both accounts, I get to deal with both poo and spew.

We use the ‘Sara Lee Method’…. you know… “layer upon layer upon layer.” Whether in bed or on the couch I make a protective strudel (cause that’s just what you want to think about when dealing with vomit right?) with alternating layers of towels and garbage bags. My big kids are all pretty good at managing a bucket, but this was the baby’s first experience with an backwards stomach (apart from all the refluxy vomits, but that’s not quite the same) and even the big’uns sometimes miss time things, especially when they are asleep. The towel and garbage bag strudel means that I can just whip off the top messy layer and chuck it straight into a bucket, and I don’t have to change the whole bed, or worse, scrub the couch.

Unless our kids have been vomiting for a couple of days I don’t bother with fancy bought re-hydration fluid. They are expensive, require a car ride into town with vomiting kids (so un-fun!), and my kids usually refuse to drink them anyway. Instead, we go for a water bottle beside the bed or couch with constant reminders to drink, and home made icy poles. Morgan won’t drink anything but water (which is usually fabulous) but he will have an icy pole made from fruit juice or weak cordial if he’s unwell.

I am a big fan of toast and vegemite as the first food when appetite comes back, but my girls are not vegemite fans (I know… I can’t believe it either!) so instead we go for toast and jam…. and lots of water.

So how do you cope when the Vomit Monster Comes to town?
Anyone got any great tips on how to cope with the washing? What’s the best way to deal with the chunky bits?

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Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:

  1. Jenny says

    Blech, my big guy had it for a day too, and half the time was just throwing up the water he was drinking. Luckily the baby avoided it.

    My tip for dealling with the yucky washing is to wear a pair of disposable gloves, it somehow makes it more bearable if I know there is no danger of it getting on my skin. The same goes for accidents in undies too. Hope they are all doing better now.

  2. says

    Our recent bought of gastro was all poo and no spew, and I think Miss 4 found it a lot harder to deal with. I prefer dealing with spew, it no longer makes me queasy, I just hate that when it hits town Miss 4 hits my bed so I have to be sure to be alert otherwise I have a lot of washing in the morning :S

  3. says

    Kate! the last question is gold: “what to do with the chunky bits”….

    erk. I try to ignore them, throw them in the washing machine and hope they dissolve. If really bad, I shake them out over the garden and let the chooks free-range through the area. A friend of mine calls the dog.

    …..erk indeed.

    • katef says

      that’s exactly what I did…just chucked em in and did a double hot wash and hoped for the best… worked well. Oh and we are on tank water so I don’t even feel guilty about all the extra water! LOL

  4. Nikki says

    Great blog, I have enjoyed reading your posts.
    Did you know instead of using expensive disgusting electrolyte rehydration products from the chemist you can use sports drinks like gatorade and powerade for the same result? They are more palatable to the kids (and me) Just make sure the kids rinse their mouths with a bit of water after as these sports drinks are bad on teeth.

    • katef says

      my kids won’t drink sports drinks either… the funny beasts really just prefer water :)

  5. says

    Oh god I am having flashbacks! We have only had three spew events with Amy, one in the car and I wanted to just close the doors and walk away and pretend we never had a car! The other two were bed spews. Wow, how much vomit is contained in one small person never ceases to amaze me! As for the chunks. Well I strap on the rubber gloves and scrape. I never thought I would be able to cope with spew but apparently a sympathetic spewer can grow out of it when she becomes a parent! I hope you are all recovered now and your washing pile is managable!

  6. Jacquie says

    Hi Kate, My oldest had a few good spews on Friday night – including in the shower – which you would think would be ok as you could wash it away. But no – it was way too chunky so it had to be cleaned up by me with paper towels and plastic bags -eeww..
    I always just give lots of drinks and follow the BRAT diet when they have gastro – Bananas (although maybe too expensive this year!), Rice, Apples and Toast – they are the best things for their tummies. Although I never worry if they don’t eat anything much as long as they are getting fluids. Good luck with the washing :-)

  7. says

    For the chunky bits, I’ve got a hose on the laundry trough and put my finger over the end to squirt hard then blast them all down the drain.
    We do grated apple as a first food, very popular with both girls.
    Hope everyone’s better soon!

  8. says

    Ooo I feel for you! This has happened way more than I care to remember. I like putting them in only underwear (nothing worse then pulling off a spewed-on shirt over hair), and wrap them in big beach towels. Our hose outside is perfect for squirting off chunky bits with a big bucket waiting to carry the load to the machine.

  9. says

    We very recently had a bout of vomiting and gastro. And it was a bad one. We all got to have a turn.

    We now have learnt to have some nappies/towls placed in each room so should vomiting start at 2am the towls are within easy reach. I hate running around half asleep in the dark trying to find them. As I usually cant find anything at that time. Oh and have spare clothes in an easy spot too.

    I hate chunky bits. I usually try and shake them off in the bath. EEEWWW

  10. says

    I like the BRAT advice and like most, I use disposable gloves and hose the chunks off in the garden before putting them in the wash. I also toss in a bit of baking soda (bi-carb soda) or vinegar to make sure I get the smell/germs out.

    I never met the Vomit Monster until I had kids. What a rude awakening. Nothing can prepare you for it. Yuck.

  11. says

    I also layer bedding, though I’ve never thought to call it the Sara Lee or Struedel Method. I’m totally stealing your name for it.

    As for chunks, I try to scrape it off into the toilet, though I’ve been known to just shake it all off into the garden too.

    I don’t worry about pedialyte either. Over here it is watered down apple juice, weak chicken or beef broth, icey poles. First food are usually buttered toast soldiers or plain soda crackers like Salada.

    Thankfully I can almost count on one hand the number of times my kids have had gastro. I think they have iron stomaches. I

  12. Rebecca says

    Love the BRAT advice and the Sara Lee Method. Could have used both the last week. Although hubby and I got the vomiting so no mess there, Miss 4 and Mr 2 got the runs and I was sure to make sure Miss 4 understood not to try and hold it in as it would be a poo mess and not a wee mess. She was great so no big messes to clean up for me. Hope your kids are on the mend.

  13. says

    Looks like it is going around at the moment. It went through our whole family a week ago – baby (7 months) and middle child (almost 2) had no hope of aiming into a bucket. Our eldest (3) did all her vomiting in one night and was so exhausted in between, that she also struggled to aim for a bucket. My husband and I made it to the bathroom, but we still had to wash our sheets multiple times when the baby vomited after night-time breastfeeds. We were on holidays and so thankful we were in a house with a washing machine and dryer (actually better equipped than our house!). We must have left them a big electricity bill with about 5 loads of (hot) washing a day.

    My biggest piece of advice is to stay on top of the washing! In my mind this helps reduce the spread of germs (but I’m probably just dreaming). As for the chunky bits, I rinse at an outdoor tap first for really bad spews. And, as for the other end… I ended up throwing a pair of my daughter’s pants away, as I just couldn’t face the cleanup when I felt terrible myself!

  14. Jac says

    What a great topic!! Ughh.
    Well in this house when ever the vomit monster comes, the male member of the household deals with the chunky bits – aren’t I lucky!
    We have one little girl, who saves it all up, has one big event and then no more and the other that tries hard not to be sick and thus making it last longer!! Luckily she doesn’t get tummy bugs often. We use sanitiser whenever such icky bugs are going around!
    Try crackers as a first food work for us.
    And I remember my mum giving us lucozade when ever we were sick which I guess was the first energy drink. It was yummy.

  15. says

    awww, poor babies. The vomit monster has descended on our area of the world now. So, I tried your protective layers…. genius!