The call of duty came at 3:35 a.m. I woke to loud crying and found myself stumbling down the hall, clutching my pillow and whispering "Shhhh, you'll wake the baby." In my half conscious state, I realized the crying was coming from Katherine. I stumbled into her room and realized a moment too late what she was crying about. She was throwing up. I ran/stumbled into the bathroom and grabbed a towel, all the while rubbing my eyes in an attempt to gain full consciousness. I shoved the towel under her face a moment too late. I then ripped her comforter off her bed in an attempt to avoid getting it yucky. I pulled her shirt off and yanked her out of bed, shoving her toward the bathroom. (I'm not at my most compassionate when I'm half-awake and getting to deal with a middle of the night puking.) I got her in the bathroom and instructed her to stick her head over the toilet if she needed to spit again. My dainty little daughter refuses to call it throw up, but prefers spit as an alternative term. I finished stripping her down and returned to her room.
All this time, I had random thoughts running through my head, most likely due to the state of half awareness I was in. I recall thinking that the pillow I had stolen from my husband wasn't helping, since I had still woken up with a headache. I think I stood in the hallway for a moment looking lost. I gathered up her clothes, and bedding and tossed them in a pile in the hallway. I redressed her, finally comforting her and helping her not be cold. I made her sit by the toilet while I remade her bed, found the febreeze and a plastic sheet, and got a bucket from the garage. I tucked her back in and went to start a load of laundry. I think I was finally awake by then, though I still had random thoughts running through my brain.
I climbed back into bed at 3:54, only to be called on again ten minutes later. After rinsing the bucket and getting a new towel to lay under her, I tucked her in once again and prayed this wouldn't go on all night. However, I was too awake to ignore my headache and my screaming muscles. I took some tylenol, stretched out my sad muscles, traded pillows with my still unconscious husband and finally climbed back into bed at 4:30. Ah, the call of duty. My dear sleeping husband groaned a little, for which I am grateful. At least on some level he may have known I was up. In the early years he was merely a dead man at night. Now at least he groans.
The rest of the night was uneventful, but I have braced myself for the upcoming week. If I have learned anything in my years of motherhood it is that where there is one puking child, there will be many.