The call to action was heard loud and clear as the sound of retching broke the silence of the night. A quick glance at the baby monitor confirmed what I already knew – there was a toddler sitting in a pool of vomit, quietly waiting for someone to rescue him from his own filth.
My feet hit the floor and I rushed to my son’s room as my husband followed closely behind.
A flip of the light switch revealed a little boy whose skin was glistening in regurgitated milk, and a sheet that was soaked in it.
“Mama, Dada,” he chirped with glee, not seeming to understand his predicament. I picked him up and we got to work.
We stripped off his pajamas as well as the crib sheet. My husband did the bathing. I did the laundering. All the while listening to the cheerful chatter of a toddler who was thrilled not only to see us, but also to have been broken out of the confines of his crib at such an exciting hour of night. He was in a cheery mood, so we let him explore the mysteries of the darkened playroom before settling back into our standard bedtime routine.
Freshly bathed, with clean pajamas and a new sheet, we hugged and kissed our little boy and placed him back in his crib.
We fell back into bed ourselves, hoping to enjoy undisturbed sleep for the remainder of the night, but silently acknowledging that it was unlikely.
Thirty minutes later, that awful sound came screeching through the baby monitor again, and we hurried upstairs. As expected, there was another pool of vomit, this time revealing undigested scraps of dinner.
Again, we bathed. And laundered. And tucked in.
We labored through two more cycles of vomiting. And bathing. And laundering. And tucking in.
Once again, I crawled into bed, waiting expectantly for another call to action. But that call never came. I instead found myself being called to a place of gratitude.
While there have been many nights where the call to action resulted in grumbling rather than gratitude, something about this night highlighted an abundance of things to be thankful for.
I was grateful that I had, for once, remembered to turn on the baby monitor before falling asleep. Thankful that I heard the call to action before it turned into cries of desperation.
I was grateful for a husband who is 100% in this parenting thing with me. A husband who doesn’t wait to be nudged or prodded or guilted into action before helping me with the yuckiest parts of parenthood. I was thankful that he handled the situation without waiting for instructions from me.
I was grateful for a little boy who needed his mama when illness attacked. And thankful for a little girl who slept through it all.
But mostly I was grateful that the night’s problems could be solved with a little water, some laundry detergent, and a lot of love.