The Irony of Vomit

The Irony:  Last week, I was thinking to myself, “I need to take the kids in for their flu shots.”  It had been on my to-do list since earlier in the fall, along with a lot of other items.  But I put it off (like most of the other items on my to-do list), and made a mental note to schedule them over Christmas break.

The Reality:  Bobo came home from school sick yesterday.  It appeared that she had the beginnings of the flu.

The Irony:  Yesterday while the kids were at school, one of the things I did check off my to-do list was changing their beds.  I finally got around to stripping off and washing the sheets, pillows and comforters from both of their rooms.  And as I put the freshly laundered linens back on their beds, I marveled at the warm-from-the-dryer sheets, the smell of Mountain Breeze Tide, and my own domestic goddess-ness.

The Reality:  Today, as I washed Bobo’s sheets, pillow and comforter again (plus a load of towels that were used the night before), the sparkly domestic goddess feeling was gone.  You’d think since doing laundry two days in a row is such a rare thing around these parts, I’d feel rather accomplished.  But I suppose washing vomit from sheets tends to take the warm and fuzzy feelings out of domesticity.

The Irony:  As I was changing Bobo’s sheets yesterday, I noticed she didn’t have a pee protector on her mattress.  I made a mental note that I should probably buy one.  But I wasn’t too worried.  After all, she’s 5.  She doesn’t have accidents in bed!  Sheesh!

The Reality:  As I attempted to scrub chunks off the mattress today, it occurred to me that I should have bought a damn pee protector yesterday.  Because they’re not just for pee, people.  Sheesh!

The Irony:  A few months ago, we bought Bobo a bunk bed.

The Reality:  She was sleeping on the bottom bunk yesterday.  And lo, we finally come to the silver lining of this story.

Because the thing I’d surely dislike more than changing vomit sheets?  Would be changing vomit sheets times two.

Cascading vomit? Does not sound like fun. She'll be sleeping on the bottom from here on out.

Fortunately, Unfortunately.

Fortunately, my husband had an opportunity to go to a conference in Orlando.  So we decided it would be the perfect chance to spend some quality time with Bobo, and take her to The Magic Kingdom.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t get on the same flights as Jay.

Fortunately, we had a direct, 5 1/2 hour flight, with no layovers.

Unfortunately, we had a direct, 5 1/2 hour flight, with no layovers.

Fortunately, the trip logistics went relatively smoothly.  Sure, some luggage was temporarily “misplaced” by the airlines, and a few meltdowns occurred here and there… but overall, there were no major snafus.

Unfortunately, our lucky streak came to a halting screech around 10 o’clock Sunday night.  That was when Bobo woke up, sick.

Fortunately, Jay took the late shift, and spent a good part of the night holding our daughter’s hair back… while I was able to get a few hours of sleep.

Unfortunately, she was still ralphing the next morning.  We had an early morning flight back home.

Fortunately, I had plenty of plastic bags I had pilfered from the hotel room garbage can.

Unfortunately, I ended up having to use most of them.  In the hotel room.  In the ticketing line.  In the security line.  And a couple of times on the plane.

Fortunately, we found out the hard way that a quick way to get through security is to be the proud owner of a vomiting child.  It was like a parting of the seas.  People gladly moved aside to let us by.  There was no mention of body cavity searches.

And, fortunately, we ran into some good folk on the way home.  Like the woman who inched my bag through the ticketing line while I held my sick daughter.  Or the grandpa who bought us a bottle of water and some hard candy from the sundry store, and then disappeared before I could offer to pay him.

Unfortunately, we also encountered some Grade-A jerks.  Like the businessman who rolled his eyes and made snide comments about having to sit next to a barfing kid on the plane.  Just count your blessings you’re not the one having to holding the bag, buddy.

Fortunately, we made it over 2,000 miles across the country without a single drop of vomit spilled outside the plastic bags.

Unfortunately, not more than 5 minutes after we set foot inside our house, she spewed everywhere.

Fortunately, after a hot bath and some popsicles, she was feeling better.  And, fortunately, Bobo was so exhausted last night, she asked to go to bed at 6 pm.  Fortunately, there were no cookies tossed in the middle of the night, and Bobo woke up feeling like herself again this morning.

Unfortunately, she woke up, feeling like herself this morning…  at 5 am, still on east coast time.

Fortunately, we’re home.  And, as I sit here in the wee hours of the morning, my daughter watching Scooby Doo, I’m glad we’re here.

Home.  It feels like the happiest place on earth.

Driving under the influence

I confess, I am guilty of driving under the influence. And no, I’m not referring to the controlled substance kind. I mean the kind that probably most parents have experienced at one time or another: Driving Under the Influence of Kids, or DUIK.

You hear all the time about the dangers of using mobile devices while driving. Earlier in the year, Oregon passed a new hands-free mobile device law. And I am totally on board with all this. The yahoos that drive and simultaneously text/talk on the phone/surf the internet rank high on the list of my own personal pet peeves.

That said, the irony of all the research and controversy over car mobile devices does not escape me. Frankly, I’ve found that driving with munchkins in the car CAN be, and oftentimes IS, exponentially more distracting than any cell phone conversation I’ve ever had.

Driving under the influence of kids is usually not without at least a little excitement. Some familiar hazards of the road include:

  • Danger: Falling Objects
    There’s nothing like attempting to retrieve a dropped sippy cup, stuffed animal, or binky while navigating through rush hour traffic. These are actually some of the few times I’m grateful for red lights.
  • “If you feel like you’re going to be sick, use… oops, nevermind.”
    Thankfully, I’ve only had a handful of incidents involving one of my kids blowing chunks in the car. I would like to offer my sincere thanks to the person who invented rubber floor mats… you are a true genius.
  • Next rest area: 50 miles??
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m elated that Bobo is now potty trained. I have learned the hard way, though, that sippy cups and car rides do not go hand in hand. I also find myself making a mental note of the gas stations we pass in case we need to make a quick 180 later on.
  • “Um, what’s in your mouth?
    Usually, the item in question is an old cracker or raisin my kids manage to find in one of the crannies of their carseat. The other day, though, I glanced in the rearview mirror and saw Chip in the backseat, nibbling on a mysterious non-food like item. I maneuvered to the side of the road and pried open his little jaws. Apparently, Chip found a small, plastic bunny that Bobo had left laying around in the car, and proceeded to chew the ear off it. I am glad I noticed it before he ingested it; that would not have been a fun thing to watch for coming out the other end.
  • “This here car ain’t big enough for the two of us.
    Few things can raise my blood pressure like a wailing child in the back seat. I remember driving to the coast in inclement weather when Bobo was a newborn. She screamed nonstop for the entire car ride (about 3 hours straight). By the end of that trip, J and I were both convinced she would be an only child (guess we were wrong about that one).

This isn’t to say I don’t enjoy driving with Chip and Bobo. The above driving hazards aside, my kids are actually pretty good car travelers. We’ve also learned a few tricks of the trade, including burning a CD of eclectic ” mood music” we like to rock out to (J has been giving the kids air guitar lessons), as well as having a stash of movies, toys and snacks close at hand at all times.

And sometimes, if the stars are aligned just right, the view from the rearview mirror can look pretty sweet.

Ironically, this is an actual picture taken from my phone while in the car with the kids one day. Yes, I was driving. No, the car was not in motion at the time.

Yackity yack yack

My son blew chunks for the first time today.  He also called me “Mama” for the first time.  I really hope this is just an odd coincidence, and that the two things will not be forever linked together.

To preface this, the first word that came out of Chip’s (and Bobo’s, for that matter) mouth was “Da.”  It remains his favorite word to this day, and he will happily squeal “da da da” every time he sees J walk in the door.  Lately, his vocabulary seems to be expanding almost daily, and he has added ball, uh-oh, Boo, caca (cracker), na-na (night night), he-go (here you go) and even “sissy” to his repertoire. 

Until today, however,  “mama” had not been one of those words, much to my dismay.

Today, I was sitting at my desk working when I got an unexpected call from Chip’s daycare.  My little one had been enjoying his afternoon snack, which ended up coming back up reincarnate all over the daycare floor.  There had been a bug going around at daycare, so I drove down to pick up the kids early.

When I arrived, Chip was in quarantine in his crib, but was perched over the side, happily entertaining the other toddlers in the room with his babbling.  He seemed perfectly fine at the time.  I picked up Bobo in the other room, and we were on our way.

On the way home, Bobo jabbered on happily about her day at school, while Chip appeared to be dozing off in his carseat.  I glanced in the rearview mirror to see if he had fallen asleep, just in time to see Chip open his little eyes and spew an inordinate amount of vomit all over himself, his carseat, and the back of my chair.  And it kept coming… and coming.  It was like the Energizer Bunny, vomit style.

We finally pulled into the garage at home, and I got Flannie set up with some cartoons to keep her occupied while I took care of the barf boy.  I don’t care what anyone says; TV can be an excellent babysitter.

Chip, chunks of mystery food and drool dripping from his chin, was waiting patiently for me in the car.  The poor little guy looked wiped out and completely exhausted.

As I picked him up and hugged him tight, he wrapped his soggy little arms around my neck and unmistakeably, undeniably said “Mama, mama” several times before putting his head on my shoulder.  My heart completely melted. 

It’s funny how some of parenthood’s best experiences can come at the most unlikely times.  I held my little guy and savored the moment.  It just doesn’t get any better than this. 

Well, okay, if you take away about the bits of food stuck to my shirt, the sleepless night ahead of me, and the pool of ick I’d later have to clean up in the car, then that would be somewhat better.

But still, it was a pretty sweet moment.

When dad’s out of town, it really blows

My husband doesn’t travel often for work, but when he does, I brace myself.  It is inevitable, and I mean like clockwork, that one or both of the kids gets sick when he leaves.

J left early this morning for five days on the road.  Not that this could be helped, but the timing of this trip really sucked.  I’ve been ramping up at work in preparation for officially going back “full-time” in September (ironic, as I’ve actually been working 40 hours most weeks for quite some time).  Our car is in the shop, so we had to go in to get a loaner car late last night.  Both kids just started daycare full time, and we let go of our nanny.  Let’s just say there’s been a bit of transitional chaos around the Mendenhall household lately.

And then there is the sick thing.  The first time J went out of town and Bobo got sick to her stomach, I thought, “That bites.  Perfect timing.”   The second time, I thought, “Oh noooo, not this again!”  After the third and fourth times, I bought a clue and surmised that maybe this was all more than mere coincidence.  I highly suspect much of the queasiness is psychologically induced, not that that gives me any ideas on how to combat it.

After J left this morning, I was relieved to see no signs of the telltale vomit that usually accompanies his absence.  Feeling safe, I packed the kids up to go to the mall.  We did our usual routine trucking around in the stroller, playing in the kiddie area, then topping it off with Happy Meals at McDonald’s.  All in all, a fun day.

It wasn’t until the car ride home that Bobo said she didn’t feel so good.  I can say firsthand that watching your child throw up in the rearview mirror as you drive along the freeway, unable to stop, is not a fun experience.  Fortunately, but the time we got home, the yacking had ceased, and both kids were exhausted and went down for their naps.

While they were sleeping, I attempted to clean up the McBlow from the inside of the car, and marveled at Bobo’s trajectory.  Somehow, she managed to spew all over not only herself, but also two carseats, one Baby Bjorn, one stuffed monkey, one binkie, the inside of one loaner car, and a partridge in a pear tree.  How Chip himself managed to stay out of the line of fire is beyond amazing.

J calls me on his layover just as I’ve come inside after getting the car cleaned up.  He gives me a little pep talk, and I hang up feeling slightly better.  Whenever he goes out of town, I gain a new found respect and admiration for single parents (how they do this on a daily basis and still manage to keep their sanity, I have no idea).  It also makes me so appreciative of all that my husband does for both me and the kids while he is here.  In a word, my husband really rocks.  It’s going to a long five days without him… but we anxiously await his return!