Sammy threw up in his bed for the first time last night.

We knew this was coming our way eventually. Like poop in the tub, it seems like it just happens to everyone. We were over at my uncle’s house having dinner earlier this evening when he spontaneously vomited all over himself and his mother during dessert (I love how kids don’t give you any kind of warning that their about to blow, you just suddenly feel warmth and wetness on your neck). Then later on he threw up again before bed, so we were had a suspicion that we hadn’t seen the last of curdled stomach contents. Still, no amount of warning can prepare you for the sensation of feeling around in the dark and finding a child covered in vomit.

In my half-sleeping state I guess I forgot about the earlier pukes, and somehow I didn’t even notice the smell right away because I was stunned when I felt it. My brain was unable to process the data my senses were collecting. Why was everything wet? Did he spill chili in his bed somehow? Had he exploded? When the smell hit me I was suddenly wide awake and I knew exactly what had happened.

About an hour later we were ready for bed again. He had been bathed, his bed had been changed and a huge, stinky load of laundry was in the washing machine. I was holding him and debating with Gretchen about whether it would be better to try and put him back in his own bed or take him in the guest room and let him sleep with me when, wouldn’t you know it, he threw up again! This time I was able to catch some of it in my hand, which seemed like a good idea in the moment. Really it did very little to help and I found myself standing there holding a crying baby with puke all down my arm.

Repeat step 2.

Another hour later and we were downstairs on the couch. At 2am we were watching Finding Nemo, me ready with the trash can trying to catch any little hint that he might be about to blow again. He never did throw up again, but nobody slept either.

Being a parent is absolutely the most difficult and most worthwhile thing I’ve ever attempted. Being a Christian I talked a lot about selflessness before, but it was only after having Sammy that I got a glimpse of what selflessness is really like, and now that Eli is here I’m really starting to get a good look at it. A few years ago a night like last night, especially after a particularly frustrating week at work, would have pushed me over the edge. I would have lost my temper and yelled or walked out. Having these guys around is showing me what patience and love really are. A few weeks ago a friend with no kids told me that he thinks children are a disease. Not only is that an extremely ignorant thing to say, but he couldn’t be more wrong. Selfishness and immaturity are the disease and, in my opinion, children are part of the cure.

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