Why It’s Good to Train Them Early…

When the teenagers were very young, for about a year and a half, we lived on my husband’s grandmother’s property. There were all sorts of sucky things about the arrangement, and one of them was the house itself–only 1/4 of it sat on a foundation–if you dropped a baby bottle on one side, you’d find it in another room because the floors looked like an acid dream during a midnight showing of The Who’s movie Tommy. None of the doors hung plumb, and the house sat on 6 1/2 acres of fucking wilderness, so you never knew what would roll in on the frickin’ old carpet.

One day, when Chicken was about six months old and just learning to sit up, it was a tomato worm.

I was sitting next to her on the floor, dozing, because Big T had us both up at dark-thirty a.m., and I looked at her smiling face, and there was a tomato worm (ugly, green, crawly, fat and squooshy grub of my nightmares tomato-fucking-worm!!!) dangling out of my baby’s mouth.

I screamed and swatted it away, and then screeched for Mate over the sound of her confused wails. (She was just sitting there and then mama started screaming and SLAPPED her–of course she was crying!!!).

“MATE! GET YOUR ASS OUT HERE AND HELP ME!!!!” (Because I was damned if I was going to pick it up, right?)

Mate’s response? And this is very very very important to the rest of the post: “I don’t do vomit.”

My response was, “Get your ass out here or I’m gonna vomit!!!!” but that is immaterial.

What is material is that there are two things that Mate doesn’t deal with in our house–one is spiders, and the other is vomit.

Now, Mate was not always the model Mate he is now. For the first two children, getting the baby was, 90% of the time, MY JOB. I had the breasts–I had the a.m. wake-up calls. This was not really because Mate was insensitive to my need for sleep, either, and certainly not because he didn’t want to help–it was mostly because if the task called for waking up between 12:00 and 6:00 a.m., Mate was out. Wasn’t gonna do it. Completely unconcious. Nada. Zip. Zero. No dogs, no lights, nothing but a loud snore and a grunt.

Baby 3 ran a clockwork schedule and slept for six hours–he was easy. Baby 4 woke up randomly, and sometimes just for play. I started kicking (sometimes literally) Mate out of bed and making him go sit with her, and Mate started taking his ‘get up with the baby’ responsibilities a little more seriously.

This morning, it paid off for him in a huge way.

This morning, the Cave Troll sat up in OUR bed and said, “I don’t feel good.”

Then he barfed. Three times.

Mate, who, heretofore, would have woken up barfed upon, was down the hall before the first splatter hit the pillow.

I sat up and cleaned the Cave Troll off and stripped the bed and got the poor stuffed tiger ready for the wash (while the now much better Cave Troll apologized–“I”m sorry I barfed your room mom. I”m sorry I barfed my tiger, mom.” Yes, it did make it all better, why do you ask?) and Mate tried twice to come in and help me. Both times he put his hand over his mouth and ran back to the living room before we would all be sorry.

But I’m betting he’s not sorry I taught him how to get his ass out of bed before the alarm rings, is he?

0 thoughts on “Why It’s Good to Train Them Early…”

  1. Danielle says:

    I’m not sure if I ever told you, but one of the first things that I noticed and really liked about you was how honest you were about life–it was totally real, and you didn’t sugarcoat the hard times at school or at home–but you clearly really enjoy life. Life hands you lemons? You write a funny blog post, like this one. 🙂

  2. TinkingBell says:

    Aah yes – our deal is that I deal with the room and Mate with the child – he strips them down, washes them off and gets the vomit out of the hair and the child into clean PJs while I change the bed and clean any on the floor – he’s a good man!

  3. Galad says:

    I seem to remember being the primary one dealing with vomit at our house. Daughter usually never made it out of bed, so I can relate to the whole sheet thing. One of our favorite songs when the kids were little was Peter Alsop’s “My brother threw up on my stuffed toy bunny”. It is a classic.

  4. Louiz says:

    Poor cave troll, poor you, poor tiger and poor mate.

    Our deal is that the first one to reach Kathryn deals with her and the other one deals with the room. Sometimes this is the better part of the deal as she has more than once been sick again (I have had sick down my cleavage so often that it hardly bothers me. The first time she did this… it was my birthday and it really bothered me)

  5. Donna Lee says:

    I have a hard time with the vomit which made being the mom tough when the girls were little. I could do the dirty diapers so we had a deal. Unfortunately, the vomit always happens at night and I was ALWAYS the one who woke up as the child with the yuck streaming out of their mouth started crying. I learned to deal with the vomit without vomiting myself. And the husband learned to deal with the dirty diapers. He still does bugs and dead things, though.

  6. roxie says:

    Who would have thought that being sexually abused at a young age would come in handy? I learned early on to “not be there” in order to get through distateful events. Very handy for cleaning vomit chunks out of the bathroom sink by hand or sanitizing the area after someone has had a bout of explosive diarhea.

    And it’s wonderful to see that Mate is still learning. Good lad!

  7. Neither of us liked to deal with vomit. So we got to take turns. Thankfully, the girls didn’t throw up much. The cats on the other hand…

  8. LOL – I bet he’s not sorry he’s a fast runner! 🙂
    Hope the wee one is feeling better and that you have a barf free weekend!

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