Sleep. It’s the only time us mothers get to properly recharge. It’s utterly precious and keeps us going from one day to the next. It keeps us sane. So when you have a bad night’s sleep, it’s bad. And it’s especially bad when it involves sick. Lots of sick.
Last night I had one of those nights. And it went a bit like this:
7.30pm Put the boys to bed, feeling smug that I got them down early.
10.30pm Get ready for bed myself. Hear a groan. Then another. Then a croaky ‘bleuhhhhhhh’ sound followed by whimpering. Rush into my youngest’s room and find him sitting on the floor cupping a whole heap of sick and shivering in shock. My other half comes to help and carries him to the bathroom to wash and change him. Helpful husband manages to forget our son is covered head to toe in puke and leaves a trail of it on his way to the sink. Great. Get to work on the mess in the bedroom…
Spend the next half an hour sorting out bedlinen, putting a wash on and scrubbing the sick-covered rug with carpet cleaner (that’s down to its last drop). Hang stinking, ruined rug over the bannister to dry and then sort out the puke trail. More scrubbing.
11pm Put little one to bed, lying him on a towel with a plastic bowl by his side. Go back to my bed.
12.30pm Hear loud croaky ‘bleuhhhhhhh’ sound coming from son’s room, followed by sobbing. Luckily the sick has landed on my cunningly placed towel, so it doesn’t take long to clear up. He goes back to bed and so do I.
1pm ‘I need the loo!’ comes from my son’s room. I go to help. Whilst sitting on the loo he is then sick all over the floor. Cue more cleaning.
1.30pm Finally get back to bed.
2.30pm Hear crying noises coming from eldest’s room. Get up and find him sitting up in bed with his torch on, convinced that there are trolls camping out under his bunk bed. Spend the next ten minutes searching for said trolls and insisting that there are in fact no trolls under his bed, just a whole load of junk.
2.45pm Go back to bed, this time to the spare room because my husband’s beginning to make exhausted huffing noises (he has an important meeting in the morning, so I’m prepared to let him off clearing-up-sick duty).
3.30pm More puking noises. Rush to bathroom to find my youngest in a sleepy heap next to loo. Thankfully he’s managed to get there in time, so no cleaning needed. Take him back to his room and hear a squelching sound whilst lying him down in the dark. Turn on the light and notice a large patch of warm sick. More sobbing, more cleaning, more changing of clothes, more washing…
4pm Go back to bed, feeling delirious with tiredness. Finally drift off to sleep.
5pm Hear more belching noises coming from my youngest’s room. Clever boy has managed to catch the sick in the bowl. I empty the bowl and go back to bed.
5.30pm Hear a weary little voice coming from my youngest’s room: ‘I don’t want to go to school today!’ I get up and settle him back to sleep so that he doesn’t wake up his brother. Whilst crouching by his bed and stroking his hair I too fall asleep, my head resting half on and half off the bed.
6am Wake up to the sound of belching (plus a very sore neck). Deal with the mess then go back to the spare room.
6.30pm Eldest son comes bouncing in and shines his torch right in my eyes. ‘What are you doing in here?’ he asks curiously. ‘Long story,’ I answer, totally shattered. Go downstairs to get him ready for school.
6.35pm Pour myself a seriously strong coffee and sit on the sofa in an exhausted, mangled heap. Feel relieved that the worst is all over.
6.45pm My eldest screams ‘Mummy!’ and then lets out a very loud, very familiar ‘bleuhhhhhhh’ sound.
Oh no, here we go again…
A Guest Blog from Fiona Pennell
Fiona Pennell lives in the Cotswolds with her husband and their two boys, Jack, 6, and Otto, 4. A former magazine sub-editor, Fiona now spends her days being trampled on, going on slug hunts and dreaming of lie-ins. Check out her motherhood blog: http://