Of All the Vomitters in All the World…

Of all the vomitters in all the world, my son is the very best.

Truth be told, in a puke-off, I’d put my money on Ian any day of the week. And I’d win. And then I’d have a lot of money. So if anyone knows anything about the International Hurling Circuit, please private message me right away, because I am SO getting my son in on that action. I’m going to be, like, the pageant mom of puking. There’s going to be a reality show. It’s going to be fabulous.

Because, truly, of all the vomitters in all the world, my son is the best.

You think I’m kidding because I do that on occasion, but I assure you, I am dead serious.

My son is what you’d call a prolific puker. And although it’s lessened over the years, my son still involuntarily barfs for all sorts of occasions.

Nervous? He’ll puke.

Excited? He’ll puke.

Tuesday? Puke.

But not only is my son a voracious vomitter, he’s also very, very good at it.

Last night, a couple of my kids were wretched. Retch-ed, I tell you. A bug is apparently going around school, and my kiddos flagged him down and invited him for a sleepover. The darn bug eagerly accepted and hitched a ride home.

It started with the girl child, Miss Aden, who led with a broccoli-studded explosion that covered her bed, her wall, her door and her floor. And, because our rooms are always immaculate, it also covered her deer, her horse, her blanket, her dirty clothes, her books, and her toys.

I used to think that “projectile vomiting” was an exaggerated phrase that people said to be dramatic. And then we had Aden. And she had red Kool-Aid. And I had white walls. And it was stunning. Now I believe in projectile vomiting like I believe in the sun. I’ve seen it. I’ve felt it. It has warmed my body.

Last night, following the initial Event, we moved Aden to our bedroom to better monitor her nocturnal activity. We know her. We know her eruption style. And we know we all have a better chance of survival if we work together. See, Aden’s what we call a stealth bomber. She’s calm. She’s quiet. She’s painted matte black, and she sneaks in under the radar. In fact, not even Aden knows when she’ll flip the Vomit Destruction switch, so the first warning we usually get of impending disaster is the veritable fountain of up-chuck raining down upon us.

When she’s finished, we need shovels, HazMat suits, a delivery truck full of Lysol, and a fool-proof evacuation plan. It takes a lot of man-hours, but we’re experts.

So, as soon as Aden was ensconced in our bedroom, we lined it with towels. Floor to ceiling. Ceiling to floor. And then we waited for the explosions to come. Blast after terrifying blast, we whisked the towels away to the laundry room for a spin on the two-hour “extra sanitary cycle.” I rubbed Aden’s back and said, “I’m sorry, baby. Shhhhh. I’m so sorry.” We bathed her and washed away the aftermath. I braided and rebraided her hair while Greg shot anything that moved with his sharp-shooter Lysol skillz.

Then we crashed back into bed to the scent of aerosol bleach and the ker-clunk, ker-clunk sound of the washing machine and readied ourselves for the next round.

And the next round and the next, ’til Aden finally settled down around 4:00am.

Which was the exact same time that Ian grabbed the barfing baton and began his early morning, cross country trek for the gold medal of gushing. The sound alone was tremendous, as Ian tried to turn himself inside out, starting with his toes. He heaved in enormous and enthusiastic bursts. Of course, we checked on him time and again, because that’s what parents do… and because we needed to be sure the house was still sound amidst the shaking. And every single time, Ian gave us the thumbs up and asked us…

…to do absolutely NOTHING.

You know why? Because Ian is a Heaving Hero. He’s a Super Spewer.

And he always – and I mean always – has perfect aim.

Have you ever seen an expert javelin thrower cast his spear with perfect precision? Or a quarterback find that split-second opening and, across 45 yards, hit his wide receiver exactly in the sweet spot?

That is Ian with vomit and a toilet. I don’t care how far away this kid is from the privy – at home, at school, in an airport or on a train – in a box, with a fox, in a house, with a mouse – when Ian starts to blow, I can count on him hitting his mark. In eight years as his mama, since we adopted him at the tender age of three, I don’t believe I’ve ever had to clean up his vomit.

And I will tell you right now, in the middle of a sea of pukers and feeling some serious sympathy-nausea my own self… I LIKE that about my son.

ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
  1. […] he’s not the kid of mine who always makes it to an appropriate vomit-receptacle, either. Nope; this is the kid who ralphs without warning, but with great enthusiasm, and we never, […]

  2. OMGoodness. We are going through this in our house. Right now. And I have one with perfect aim! Weehee! At 3yo she figured out to hold her bowl, never miss, gets up, dumps her bowl and then washes it out in the bathroom sink. Are you kidding me? What an amazing precious gift she is. I think I’ll keep her. On the other hand we’ve just spent three days with a 2yo that is fond of puking anywhere and everywhere. Lay down for bed? Puke all over pillow, sheets, floor, toys, hair, mom’s new book, pajamas. Walk out the door? Plaster the entire porch, including mom’s feet and legs. Totally overfilled liquid diaper? Whip it off and throw it at your mother. Although maybe I shouldn’t get too upset. Because yesterday, while navigating morning chaos with five little people and sitting ‘tightly’ trying not to move and recreate the previous diaper catastrophe from/on myself, I managed to, um, share my tummy contents with the porch, feet, legs, the back of my shorts? What? How does that happen? I need to take lessons from my 3yo.

  3. Ok- truth be told, I couldn’t actually finish reading this but I know it was awesome. I just got a little gaggy and as someone who NEVER made it into the bathroom and now I’m the MOM which means I’m the one who cleans it up, I had to stop reading. Ian, I’m in awe of you. You are my new super hero. Also – who am I kidding? My husband cleans the puke.

  4. […] Child Of The Overly Sensitive Gag Reflex (read: prolific puker) began involuntarily to try to get those imaginary kittens out of his tummy.  Bless his heart, he […]

  5. I realize I’m a late commenter here, like a year late – but I’m new to your blog so please forgive me. 🙂
    It sounds like your dear Ian and I have something in common. I’m a serial puker, too. Nervous, angry, depressed – all great reasons to puke. And I always hit my mark (even if I’m driving at the moment thank you very much). Not only do I always hit the mark, I usually feel better afterwards.
    I’m currently 7 months pregnant and dealing with gallbladder issues, so my puking tendancies are dialed up a notch – but I haven’t soiled any clothing, floors, or car seats yet. 🙂 Way to go, Ian! And thanks for the laugh, Beth!

    1. Welcome, Kelly. Glad you’re here! We love having serial pukers in the house. 😉

      p.s. Congrats on that pregnancy!

  6. […] — KABOOM! — the fireworks started. Cai exploded like a volcano and molten rivers of vomit cascaded spectacularly down my […]

  7. […] one-half of one mommy butt-cheek is rendered nekked to the hallway where my 11-year-old son, the prolific puker, is making gagging noises at so much of my exposed […]

  8. […] I said to my dog:  “Seriously?  You have to make a choking sound when you’re excited?  Why can’t you just go ahead and throw up already?” […]

  9. […] “Seriously?  You have to make a choking sound when you’re excited?  Why can’t you just go ahead and throw up already?” […]

  10. There is a great deal to be said for perfect aim. Way to go Ian! Does he give lessons?

    1. I had to laugh… my friends in Holland and Japan are the ones wondering about lessons from my son who hates travel more than vampires hate the sun. Maybe if I put together a powerpoint based on Ian’s lessons, he’ll let me travel in his stead? 😀

      1. I just saw that your other friend had asked about the tutoring gig too. LOL Yes, Power Point would be great, albeit sterile. Maybe YouTube, with Ian’s personal advise thrown in too.

        1. That’s a sure You Tube hit if I ever saw one! 😉

  11. Oh my. Only you could making puking funny. So sorry that you have a house of sick. Knock on wood we haven’t had it in our house in awhile… my older son is pretty good at hitting Mr. Bucket after the first round (when we had no clue and he pukes in his bed) and the younger one… we don’t really know about yet. But if it’s anything like the poop bombs he leaves us I can bet we’ll have a much harder time cleaning up after him… oy!

    1. Ha! Oy, indeed! Sounds like you already have your hands full with the Poop Bomber. Here’s hoping he’s a good puker so you only have to deal with one cannon at a time. 😉

  12. Aw, how horrible! Hope its a quick-shot 24-hour thing! I have one puker who used to make himself barf when I forced him to eat foods he hated (or had any sort of inkling that he might possibly only *kinda* not like), but I got wise. You don’t like it? Don’t eat it. But I put it on his plate anyway. Nine times outta 10 the kid eats it anyway and YAY! NO PUKING!!!

    1. Hooray for problem-solving moms! Nice work, Colleen, and thanks for visiting!

  13. wow… Ian IS amazing! What’s his secret, do you know? More importantly: does he tutor? (Yes, I’m asking for myself I’m afraid 🙁 )

    1. I think it must be a natural area of giftedness. And, sure enough, when we sent him too quickly back to school (what can I say? we really, really like sending our kids to school!), and he inevitably lost his cookies, he STILL managed to find a bag (from where? we have no idea!) and was neat and tidy all the way.

      As far as tutoring goes, Ian’s not much of a talker. Or, rather, he’s a BIG talker, but it’s hard to understand what he’s saying. However, giving the sheer frequency with which he vomits, I’m certain you could learn all you need to know from observation alone. Too bad he abhors traveling, or I’d send him on the next plane. 😉


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