In the month of October, my children threw up 17 times in 17 days. This is one of their stories.
Once upon a time, I decided to take my kids out on a fun trip all by myself. Usually, I try to avoid leaving the house . . . ever, but every once in a while, I’m overtaken by this idea that I should, you know, try to expose my children to fun learning experiences. I want to be a Supermom—you know the kind, those ladies who take their kids out, dressed adorably and coordinated-ly, for the requisite hour of active play every! day! with water bottles and Craisins and carrot sticks, and then they return for hour number five of reading and mind play . . .
Actually doing this in a tiny way, especially with some small amount of forethought and planning (like making them sandwiches to eat in the car!), makes me feel like an incredibly good mom.
So to be completely honest, doing this is at least a little bit to make me feel good about the job I’m doing as a mom. Which is probably totally hypocritical.
Amazing how much three little sandwiches can lull a mom into a false sense of competence, isn’t it?
But how hard could it be? It was a place geared for kids, so it couldn’t be as difficult as, say, visiting the dentist, grocery shopping, or walking down the street.
My kids believe they’re bored and living in near-prison conditions by the end of the average commercial break, so naturally they rejoiced, especially when they realized we weren’t, say, visiting the dentist or grocery shopping—because, hey! sandwiches! Oh, and the dinosaur place.
All until we got inside.
Which was, of course, Mommy Code.
Naturally, once she got out of the stroller and played with the exhibits, she loved every minute.
But when it was time to leave, she began complaining again.
Rebecca had already complained over 12,000 times (approximately) that she didn’t wike dis p’ace, that the dinosaurs scared her, that she didn’t like the noise, that world peace was taking so long to achieve, that gravity was a cruel mistress, &c.
Having exhausted all her logical arguments, Rebecca devolved into vowelless mumbling arpeggios in the key of whine.
Being the kind, understanding mommy that I am, I’d kind of had it.
I was unprepared for the sight that I found waiting.
I’d naively assumed that because it had been four days since the last time anyone had vomited, we were puke free.
Not so. Not so.
After wallowing in the horror! the horror! for a minute, I leapt into Competent-Mommy-Mode. (If you’re counting, that’s mode #3 after spontaneous & fun and fed up.)
Unfortunately for competent-mommy me, rather than using a floorplan with flow-through to the lobby, this museum had funneled us into a closed circuit, hiding the exits to the lobby behind doors with ominous warnings, like emergency alarms were going to screech if we came too close.
Rebecca, of course, is still crying, now covered in cold puke. I’m trying to reassure her, and yet get her to remain completely motionless—because she’s sharing this stroller with Rachel who has miraculously remained clean so far. Hayden is trotting along after us as fast as he can. This stroller was not built for jogging.
After running through the same tracks about three times, I finally gave up and opened the surely-alarmed doors that were about ten feet from where we started.
Who’s doing the pleading? Oh, it’s me.
And hello, lobby (with no emergency alarms).
Finally, after cleaning up my daughter, her clothes, her hair, her shoes, her stroller, and me, using mostly my bare hands, and clothing her in the spare jackets I’d brought for her and Hayden, I plopped Rachel on my hip and maneuvered us all out to the car. And I could move into Mommy Phase Four of the day:
Two hours ahead of schedule!
But I think the real punchline came just after dinner that night. Rebecca was convalescing on the couch, until round 2 began. Hayden ran to tell me—and mid-shout . . . well, that should probably be censored, too.
Have you been through Pukeageddon? Share your war stories!