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Every parent has been there: you’re just sitting there being a nice, normal family experiencing what you think is nice, normal food digestion when WHAM! Your little one turns a ghastly shade of pale, gets super quiet and blows his insides up all over the room.

You immediately begin fooling yourself, wishing, hoping, practically begging in vain. Maybe it won’t happen again. Maybe it was just a one time thing. Surely it’s possible that this was a singular, thoroughly disgusting event.

But you’ve been to this very messy and smelly party before. And deep inside you know: this isn’t over. This is just beginning. What you’ve got on your hands is a stomach bug and the only question now is who will fall next.

Every sloppy and sad episode leaves you pondering, for the love of all things bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, when. Will. This. End?! You’re down to your last set of sheets and your industrial supply of Clorox wipes is running low. Every single time it happens you think, surely that’s it, right? This has to be over now.

And then it’s not.

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When you’re knee-deep in puke-stained sheets, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the digestive health tunnel, but I promise you, this too shall eventually—and literally—pass.

Here are five signs that the dreaded stomach bug is done.

  1. A minimum of 90 minutes has passed since you last started a new load of towels, sheets and soiled PJs.
  2. Your kitchen has been used for something other than the dispensing of Saltine crackers and Pedialyte.
  3. The television is off—or alternatively, broadcasting a program of an adult nature (and I don’t mean the X-rated variety, just the actual human actors variety).
  4. No longer is it necessary to share the couch with a bucket and a bunch of wet spots.
  5. Your child resumes copping an attitude regarding his younger sibling, your ongoing and clearly inadequate care of him or your refusal to resume afore-mentioned animated movie marathon.

But don’t get too comfortable if you find yourself reaching all of these milestones and more. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in these offensive trenches, some bugs are built to last—and they won’t be satisfied until they’ve drained every last putrid drop.

This post originally appeared on Long Days, Short Years, Stiff Years.