Perplexed that your step count has reached a paltry 7875 and fallen short of your daily milestone? Worry not! Perhaps your child will morph into the Boke-a-tron 2000 at 11.05 and send you scuttling up and down the stairs with boke soaked sheets, duvet and mattress cover. As you worry why the stench lingers even after vacuuming and mopping, more steps await when you discover THE DRAWER OF DOOM! That’s right, those handy storage devices that fit snuggly under the bed come into their own when your child is ill. Who needs a basin or similar receptable when a drawer left slightly ajar is perfectly placed when a stomach needs emptied sharpish.
After said child has been tucked up into your bed, with hugs and reassurances, now is the ideal time to survey the damage, and note how your holiday clothes and aspirational items, (the ones you hope to squeeze into again) are now liberally covered in gunk. Watch those steps mount as you shake the worst of it off outside before taking a sponge to them. Watch your heartrate soar on the little screen after you’ve loaded up the washing machine with soiled sheets, only for your other half to suggest that you wait til morning to put it on so it can ‘run off solar power.’ ‘Of course, it won’t stink out the drum,’ he says, ‘It’s self-cleaning!’ ‘Like fuck,’ you reply, but acquiesce since he’s not a bad spud and has volunteered to kip on the sofa since the Small Child will be taking his side.
Did you think a mere 1000 steps was all you were getting? Never fear! Turns out a ten year old’s stomach has an infinite capacity for half-digested Chicken with Ol’ El Paso Seasoning and now, it’s YOUR bed’s turn! And, you’ve guessed it, what does your bed share in common with the child’s little IKEA number? Oh yes, another DRAWER OF DOOM. This time, the consistency is less of a soup, more of a consommé, hence plenty of liquid to seep its way through to most of the contents. Extra calories can be burned off by unclipping the fitted sheet from the mattress suspenders and stripping a king-sized bed, before nipping back down the stairs again.*
Now it’s the turn of some upper strength training as you lift small, confused barfy child into the bath after they have ploughed through the sick. Finally, it’s time to burn some mental energy as you debate which blankets you care least about, to dress the bed lest there is, by some miracle, anything left to resurface. Only the joyful thought of the morning keeps you from sweet slumber, as you imagine the Great Wash of 2023, as you contemplate more loads of laundry than you ever deemed possible.
(In reality, the GW23 was even worse than anticipated, with cats scarpering in desperation as they thought that they too were going to be loaded in in with the clothes. Thank God for Stuart at The Washing Well, who took three loads, while my machine still went a dinger at home. It was a bad weekend to only to do the bare minimal and leave a backlog. That’ll teach me.)
*(Ironically we have 12 steps, the same number of a program I may have to embark upon if this hellscape should ever reoccur.)