Scene: It is very early in the morning and you are lying in bed enjoying a peaceful sleep as you do every night. Next to you is the tiny figure of a child, who makes their way into your room every night for snuggles, but tonight is not like every other night as you are about to find out.
1:58am: You notice that the figure next to you is more restless than normal. This fact barely registers in your sleeping thoughts, but you do notice it through your dream.
2:00am: You are woken up by the first choking sounds of an impending spew by the body next to you. In your sleep addled state you have the presence of mind to throw the blankets off her before the spew-pocalypse begins. There is no time to do anything else after that.
2:01am: You turn on the light and see the huge task that awaits you. There is now a vomit covered child sitting on a vomit soaked mattress crying. You run to the kitchen to grab a bucket in case there is any more vomit to come, but you might as well not bother, the damage is done. You insult the small child by offering her the bucket as she no longer possesses the desire to throw up.
2:03am: You gingerly strip off the child and send her towards the bathroom to await cleaning. You figure that area is all tiles and lino so it will be easier to clean if her reassurances she doesn't feel sick anymore turn out to be all lies.
2:04am: You turn to your bed, which now resembles a scene from Dante's Inferno and begin stripping the bedclothes. You sigh as you add this stain to the long list of pre-existing stains that your child has already kindly donated to your mattress. The bedclothes are piled up outside the laundry along with the pyjamas.
2:06am: You grab some clean pyjamas and a towel for your child and head to the bathroom to break up the argument that has started between her and your mother, as she insists that YOU are the one who must now clean her up. You throw the clothes on the floor then remember that you forgot underpants. You dash to the bedroom, nearly breaking your next in the process on the mountain of toys on the floor that she insists is her shop. You run back to the bathroom where the argument has continued in your absence and confirm to your child that you are indeed going to be the one who cleans her up. Your mum heads off to make you a coffee. You are going to need it.
2:10am: You end up having to get into the shower with your crying child, because she has just remembered she is terrified of the shower and is refusing to enter alone. It doesn't matter that you already showered today, you're now going to have a record breaking two showers in one day.
2:16am: You have scrubbed your child from top to bottom and she is finally not crying, and no longer afraid of the shower. In fact she is now "swimming" on the shower floor and giggling, her recent stomach fireworks a distant memory. This is the point at which you realise you never grabbed a towel for yourself.
2:17am: You are now standing naked and dripping wet in your bathroom drying off your child. Both of you are shivering, but only one of you is covered by a towel and receiving a rigorous drying off. The other of you is a grown adult and has to suck it up. You quickly throw on your nightgown after a quick check to make sure you ducked the contents of her stomach earlier and curse as it sticks to your wet back. You get your child dressed quickly and send her to the lounge room where your mum has turned on the heater. There is a coffee waiting for you, but you want to complete your next task with an empty stomach.
2:24am: You have dragged all of the soiled bedding to the bathroom and commence rinsing everything off before you put them in the washing machine. This task comes complete with gagging and heaving, because of course, you are a sympathetic vomiter. This is why you needed an empty stomach. The mess compels you to ask your child exactly when they ate lettuce, because you know they hate lettuce, but you have evidence on your sheets that they have somehow consumed it today.
2:34am: Gasping for fresh air you march to the laundry with your newly rinsed pile of laundry and get it into the washing machine. You add a double scoop of laundry powder and some soaking agent with anti-bacterial stuff in it. You hope this is enough to convince your brain that these bed sheets are not horror tainted evil forever more so you can put them back on your bed tomorrow.
2:35am: Before you head to the lounge room you go back to your bedroom and throw open the window as wide as it will go. You hope this is enough to get rid of the smell.
2:36am: You finally get to sit down to a coffee. This is the point where you realise you have nowhere to sleep tonight, as your bed needs to be scrubbed down and blessed by a priest before you will lie in it again. You decide to grab the mattresses from your child's bed and the trundle bed you keep for sleepovers and drag them into the lounge room. But first, coffee.
2:50am: You watch your "sick" child dance around the lounge room with a seemingly endless source of energy. You wonder for about the millionth time since becoming a parent whether she is siphoning energy from you. It is at this point where you remember that her dad is meant to be taking her to the park tomorrow so you send him a quick message explaining that she is possibly unwell so tomorrow's excursion will need to be cancelled. You do not expect a reply because only an idiot would be awake at this time of the morning.
2:55am: You drag the mattresses into the lounge room and set your child up to sleep. You turn on the TV to get her to sit still. Your mum returns to bed, having kindly kept you company during the grossest parts, she is relieved of her duties and free to fall back into the kind of sound sleep only someone whose child has not just thrown up can have. You envy her that luxury.
3:05am: You turn off the lights and try to fall asleep to the sound of Dora the Explorer. This fails as you haven't seen this episode, so you can't resist the temptation to watch. This is why you watch the same movie every single night to go to sleep. You can't sleep through something new.
3:30am: You finally turn off the television. Neither of you are sleeping and you can't handle the excitement of Nick Jr. any more. You spend the next twenty minutes reminding your "sick" child that she is meant to be sleeping right now and stroking her back. Every time she makes a new noise you feel compelled to ask her how her stomach is feeling, just to hear her say it feels good and calm. This doesn't fill you with as much confidence as it should. You do not trust your child anymore.
4:00am: Your child is finally asleep. You think this would be your cue to sleep as well, however this is the point where you discover your daughter makes really loud noises with her mouth in her sleep. (Has she always done this?) Every new noise jolts you awake and you regret not putting a bucket on the ground next to her.
4:30am(ish): You finally fall asleep somehow, but it isn't a restful sleep. You are still paranoid there will be a repeat performance and you can feel the ground underneath the paper thin mattress you are lying on. You resign yourself to the fact that tomorrow is going to be a bad day.
6:00am: You are woken up by a bright eyed and bushy tailed child. She is feeling fabulous and wants food. You turn on the television to distract her and go back to sleep. Might as well catch some more sleep while you can.
9:00am: You are woken up by the telephone. Her father has been trying to get on to you for an hour now and wants to make sure everything is OK. You reassure him it appears to have been a one off event, but she needs to stay home today just to make sure. He informs you he is coming over today to see her, and you resign yourself to the fact that your sleep is over. Thank God for coffee.