My second born child has been diagnosed with a mitochondrial disorder called Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome.  It is a neurologic disorder and she wakes about twenty days of the month between one and five in the morning and vomits for hours, often dry heaving endlessly.  She has trouble eating and continually complains of a sore tummy.  It is better in the last two months since we have had the correct diagnosis and with the medication we have only had a couple of episodes.  So, that, along with being a doctor gives me more than an average level of experience with vomit.

She had a breakthrough episode the other night and when I went to wake her sister for school, I found my three year old asleep, hugging her “vomit bucket” which was pretty full of puke.  I had some mixed emotions about this.   I was sad as a parent that she didn’t call for me, and that she is so used to this at three years old, that she didn’t wake me.  But the part of me that has gone with very little sleep over the last three years did a secret dance of celebration.  It was a milestone akin to potty training in most homes.

Then, her older sister got some sort of bug a few days later.  About one in the morning,  Z leaned over and puked squarely on top of her sister.  I was thinking to myself that this was going to go badly with one kiddo puking and the other crying, but I was pleasantly surprised that Baby Bird has had enough experience with puke to know that this is no emergency.  In fact, she slept through it as I changed the sheets, and took the bazillion toys from her bed, and threw them all in the washer.  She slept through me wiping vomit off her face with a wet wipe.

She was completely nonplussed the next morning when I told her she had to take a shower because her sister threw up in her hair.   When she asked me about her toys, I told her, “Your sister vomited on them too.”

“My sister puked on my toys?” she wailed.  She was pretty upset about that.  Glad she is gaining a handle on this vomit problem.  On the up side, if someone can puke in her hair, and she can sleep through it, and just be mildly annoyed the next day, I’d say she’s half way prepared for college, so there’s that.


  1. I had a vomiter. Hospitalized 13 times before it was discovered not to be Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome. In our case, my daughter had an esophageal ulcer. In any event, it’s not easy watching your child vomit for hours at a time and over months and years. I’m glad they have medication that’s helping your child.

  2. Poor dear. What a challenging thing for her to go through at such a young age. Must make it hard on her and on you. But yes, that breakthrough is important. And I like the way you tell the story.

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