Instead of coming down with croup, it seems that our fourth child has the stomach flu. When he woke me up at 2:30 last night complaining that he wasn't feeling well, and them promptly vomited all over the floor, I immediately feared the whole house would succumb.
This morning he seemed chipper enough.
Until he ate breakfast.
Within minutes, he was sick again.
When it happened, Henry was sitting at the small children's table in the kitchen, playing with toys, and upon hearing the splash, toddled over to investigate. Elizabeth and Carolyn immediately mobilized to the scene when their brother broadcasted, "Sisters! Sisters! I FREW UP, EVWYWHARE!!"
Scrambling to grab towels and cover the mess before children began traipsing through it, I tried moving the wide-eyed onlookers in to the other room. Where it seems, the only thing that was slightly more interesting than a puddle of vomit, was the television.
I planted the kids in front of PBS and set about cleaning up the floor. And then, I noticed that one of the kids had soaked the entire area in front of the toilet and there were gobs of wet toilet paper everywhere. So, I cleaned the bathroom floor.
Then, I started to throw in a load of mess-cleaning-up towels in to the laundry and noticed that there was a completed load of laundry in the washing machine - and a wet load of laundry in the dryer - that had yet to be dried. And sitting on top of the washing machine were two baskets full of clothes ... which a call to my husband would reveal ... were clean.
For the next three hours, I folded and put away laundry, including two baskets of clothes that the "sniff" test revealed probably were clean. (Or definitely not dirty enough to require a possible second washing.) All told, I completed seven loads. While the laundry was going, and the kids were contentedly watching PBS, I dusted and vacuumed and cleaned up from breakfast and watered the plants. And I cleaned the bathroom floor TWO MORE TIMES because even though the children are sitting on the pot, one might think that they are standing and intentionally aiming for the seat, outer bowl, floor and wall.
Feeling terribly guilty that I had parked the kids in front of the television for the first half of the day, I turned it off - despite the cries - and fed everyone lunch. It was rainy and cold and with my entire squadron sick, I opted to stay inside and read everyone stories. Then, we worked on some home school activities and I had just set up the easel and paints when William was sick again.
SPLASH! all over the kitchen floor.
Instead of showing my young son compassion, I snapped, "Can you please at least ask for a bowl?! Are you not aware that I just finished mopping this floor?!" I bring him in to the bathroom to wash his face and on the floor is an outfit that one of the girls drenched, because they waited too long and then couldn't get it off in time to use the potty.
I'm in the midst of yelling things about living with ANIMALS and the zoo is probably cleaner, when I hear the baby crying. I run out to investigate and I see him laying on the floor in a heap.
Someone had pushed him down when he was getting too close to their painting. But not before he was able to wipe his hands through the wet red paint - which transferred to two little red hand prints upon our area rug, just outside the protective area of the drop cloth.
I took several deep breaths and set about cleaning up the wet paint and vomit before starting the eighth load of laundry. And then, I planted all four children in front of the television for the second half of the day so that I could update my blog.
Because I need this, right now. OK?
Spray bottles. I've written before that a spray bottle is a must-have in my diaper bag. But today when I was whipping out my spray bottle filled with water and bleach for the umpteenth time, I figured it might be necessary to highlight the reasons I love spray bottles so much.
The variety of spray bottle that I own are $0.99 at Target. I have several in my arsenal that I use for a host of different tasks. But because I do use them for a variety of purposes, I opted to buy several colors so I can keep them segregated.
The pink bottle is used to contain body oil, that I will spray on after a shower or bath (Neutrogena Sesame Seed Oil. It's my favorite). Spraying allows me to get to all those hard-to-reach places and I've discovered I use a fraction of the oil that I would if I poured it on.
The white bottle is filled with water and bleach, that I will use for clean up jobs around the house. Vomit on kitchen floors. Urine on walls. That type of thing.
I have a few blue bottles that I keep filled with tap water. At home, my blue bottle is primarily for spritzing plants. But when we are out and about, my blue spray bottle is like having a small sink in my possession.
I use it to remove gross contamination (i.e. dirt) from little hands.
I use it to clean out portable potty chairs.
I use it to clean off pacifiers, apples or peeled bananas that have fallen to the ground.
I use it to clean off small scrapes.
I use it to stem a temper tantrum in a child. Not because I spray the child with it (usually), but because giving a child a spray bottle to squirt, is a great distraction. Particularly if the tantrum is the result of a small scratch on their knee that in their mind, requires transport in an ambulance and immediate hospitalization.
When set to stream, I use it on the child in the far backseat of the van to keep them awake so that they will take a nap at home, instead of in their carseat, when we are five minutes from the house.
"I'm not sleeping, Mom! I was just ... just ... thinking."
Some days, today included, I am amazed at my stellar maternal skills.