12.30am and I heard the familiar pad pad pad pad of Bethan’s feet on the landing…I opened my eyes, called to her through the gloom and she clambered onto my bed. Every night she does this – then we cuddle and she falls asleep again, but this time I detected a horrid stench of something untoward and turned on the light.
Bethan was covered in chunky, pink vomit.
I carried her to the bathroom and took her stinking, slimy onesie off and wrapped her in a towel while the bath was running…she looked very sorry for herself and I felt bad for her as she shivered and looked up at me with a bewildered expression.
One hot bubble bath, removal and replacement of a substantial amount of puke-encrusted bedding and a set of clean pyjamas later and we returned to bed and I just sat in silence, cuddling her until she was on the verge of sleep.
Then she vomited again.
More clean pyjamas, bedding, etc. and back to bed again. This time she fell asleep and I lay next to her watching the colour return to her cheeks. I couldn’t help but think about the ‘what ifs’…I didn’t hear her being sick, what if she had choked while I slept?!? I stayed awake and listened to her breathing and the occasional car passing the house outside until there were more cars and my alarm sounded.
She was really chirpy when she woke up and enjoyed throwing plastic balls around the living room with her sister and shouting ‘boo!’ at random people we passed on the school run. I concluded that she must have eaten something bad (although I have no idea what) and I reflected on the silver lining that, having finished work last week, I wouldn’t feel the guilt of having to call and say I couldn’t go to work today.
All was fine until she stole a mini babybel from the fridge while I was upstairs for a few minutes wrapping Christmas presents. I found the plastic wrapper, but not the cheese. An hour later I found myself on my hands and knees cleaning chunks of half digested cheese with the purple wax still attached out of the carpet as Bethan watched and grinned at me.
I know I can’t protect her from everything, but I do feel like such a bad mum when she is ill – like it is totally my fault – and I will worry about her and think about the worst case scenarios long after she has forgotten she was sick, while she is busy thinking about how to maximise her mess-making opportunities. I guess I always will worry about her and her sister, even when they are adults.