In parenting it's hard proclaiming any particular situation, event or span of time to be the worst.
When it comes to the disastrous, the awful and the unbearable, Fuss spoils you for choice.
But last night?
Definitely top ten, and a legitimate part of any serious discussion of 'worst nights ever'.
To find its equal you'd have to drill back into the prehistoric shale of our tiny old place on Pismo, when he wouldn't sleep for more than 45 minutes at a stretch (the literal truth- not an exaggeration). Objectively, that entire epoch was probably worse than last night. I could probably sniff out some blog entries to provide a reminder, but....no.
So, it kicked off when he coughed himself awake at 5:30 in the morning yesterday.
He crashed out early and hard last night, and we figured that was that- a good night's sleep and he'd be back to normal.
Cut to around midnight, when his coughing woke up the both of us. He eventually started wailing and crying, drawing The Wife in from the living room.
"Mama, I want to puke in the sink!" he yowled.
It took us a little while to decipher his sentiment, he was crying so hard it was tough to interpret.
The wife brought in a bowl in case of emergency, but he'd passed out.
An old rule, possibly our oldest, is NEVER WAKE UP THE BABY.
The Wife returned to the living room & I turned out the light and laid back down.
I'd just fallen back to sleep when he bolted upright, howling like a banshee. I got the light on in time to witness an Exorcist-esque explosion of brown vomit- I managed to catch roughly half a cup in our emergency bowl, with the bulk decorating the blankets & sheets.
And he just really hates puking, so he's screaming his head off, crying and drooling into the bowl, begging me for help. By far the shittiest thing about parenting are the time when there's absolutely nothing you can do.
Oh wait, there's actually something worse, which came a few minutes later.
So the wife raced in & stripped the bed while I held him, red faced & still crying hysterically.
"Dada, I pooped in my sleep, I need a new dipey." he told me.
So I got that cleanup rolling, and it was just as vile as the puke- in fact they looked and smelled nearly identical. Come time to clean him up, and he's begging me not to.
"DON'T TOUCH MY BUP, DADA, IT'S BURN-Y! IT'S TOO HURTY!"
So I try and explain I have to wipe it up because if I don't it's only going to get worse.
You can imagine how well that conversation went.
So, finally I just...wiped up the poop.
And he completely lost it, like I'd stuck him with a cattle prod. Howling, twisting, shrieking, flailing around.
I wrestled a new diaper on him, and of course when I've finally started to calm him down, he's pooped again. But he won't tell me, because he's too scared of getting a new diaper, I just smell it. Even though both ceiling fans are on and the wife has all the windows open and has been burning matches to dissipate the acrid stench of preceding events.
"I have to change your dipey, Fuss."
Anyway, we went through probably five diapers in the next 30 minutes and it was like sitting in on the Spanish Inquisition. I can only assume the cops didn't show up because everyone else in the world was asleep. He was completely out of his mind. I'd say it was worse than when he was tiny because he could tell you what was wrong. He flipped out quite a bit when he was a baby, and it was horrible, but it's easier to handle not being able to help your child when you have no idea what's wrong.
When he's screaming "MY BUP IS BURNING! YOU'RE HURTING ME! STOP IT!" while you're wiping down another gout of liquid poop, that's a new level of guilt and misery.
So at some point the diaper trauma was over, the bedding was changed, and he seemed to be relaxing a little bit. We finally settled down to try and sleep, and maybe three minutes after the lights went out he shrieked upright and threw up all over everything again.
The tarnished silver lining of this vomit cloud was at the very end, when he was absolutely traumatized but too tired to howl any more, standing up in bed shivering, refusing to lie down, looking completely lost and feral, the Wife had a genius idea.
"Hold him like a baby," she told me.
I wrapped him in a blankie, scooped him up and knelt on the foot of the mattress rocking him gently for I don't know how long.
He slowly, slowly, slowly relaxed and then, for the first time in his life, fell asleep in my arms.
It was around 4am when we turned off the lights for the last time.