Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Other Times

For SMP.  I trust this one will not make you cry~

Sometimes, parenthood is a dream.  It is moving, and inspiring and filled with wistful glances at the little miracle who you created!

But then, there are the other times.  This is the tale of one of those "other times" involving copious amounts of vomit, a sundress, a cell phone and a picnic blanket.

Last Wednesday, Trevor and I had a pretty good deal going.  I was going out to dinner with friends and then headed home around 8 to tag him out so that he could go bowling with his friends.  Ahh the best laid plans of mice and parents.

I came home at 8:30 to find Jack fast asleep in bed.  How absolutely lovely for me!  But no sooner than 10 minutes after Trevor's departure, Jack woke up.  I wasn't too upset though, because I got to see him before he fell asleep.  He seemed a little strange, but I thought nothing of it because he was just so sleepy.  I laid him back down in his crib and had no sooner taken one step out of his room when I heard that sound.  The cringe-inducing, unmistakable sound of puking.  I ran back into his room and...well...let me spare you the details, but suffice it to say (or is it "suffice to say", I can never remember, but I digress), Jack had puuuuuuuuked.

A thousand action movie cliches ran through my head, "You only had 1 glass of wine with dinner, get a hold of yourself!"  "Get it together, this is NOT a drill, all of your training has prepared you for this moment, you've GOT this, you can do it!"  If I'd had a glass of water I would have splashed it in my face.  If I'd had a helmet, I would have put it on.  I should have found a hazmat suit...

I pulled Jack off of "the pile" and stripped off his pajamas and put him on the floor.  The pajamas, the sheet and the mattress cover all got balled up and thrown into the hamper and then I turned my attention to my naked baby.

You know how they always say, "I think people should have to take an IQ test before they're allowed to make babies?"  Here is your first question:

Your baby has thrown up once.  How many more times will he puke that night?
A) zero times, you're in the clear!
B) 87
C) until a boot comes up
D) at least one more time so get him into a bathtub immediately.

Well go ahead and revoke my license to ovulate because I'll take "Zero Times for $500 Alex"

Jack had walked out into the hallway so I followed him out to wash his face and dress him in  some old Christmas pajamas.  I knelt down in front of him as he stood there looking totally fine and not like he was about to puke at all (1st mistake).  I was halfway done buttoning him up when my baby's head started spinning around, his eyes turned red and he projectile vomited all over me.
Ok, maybe just that last one.

I've never seen puke fly horizontally across a hallway. Those big brown doe eyes looked up at me and just blinked.  I knew if I started screaming or freaking out, he would too so I just looked him in the eye and said calmly in an overly happy, creepy kind of way, "Oh wooooow!  Ohhhhhhh, look what you did!"  I looked down.  My purple shirt had a large orange stripe going down the middle ending in a pool in the middle of my lap.  If I was a backboard, Jack would have scored the winning basket right at the buzzer and been the hero of the game.  Off came his pajamas, my shirt and sweatpants.  Now there were two naked babies up in the hallway (Dear neighbors- this is why we keep our shades drawn).

It was at this point I grabbed the phone and called Trevor once, twice, three, four times--d'oh!!  He's bowling!  It's probably loud in there and he can't hear his phone.  D'oh!!  He's probably quoting "The Big Lebowski" right now making everyone laugh while I'm covered in barf!!

I went into the guest room where I keep my summer/pre-baby clothes.  Jack toddled in behind me.  I found an old sundress in the back, threw it on and carried Jack downstairs.  I put him in his playpen in our room (2nd mistake) while I texted our friend who organized the bowling night asking him to have Trevor call me.  Well at least someone had their phone on him because within a minute, Trevor called back.  Dear Trevor, our baby projectile vomited all over me.  I'm sure he's fine now (3rd mistake) but I wanted to let you know in case it gets worse, that I might need you to come home.

I hung up the phone and looked at Jack who was standing up in his playpen looking over at me sweetly.  He grabbed the side rail with one arm and then...oh, then...


"AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!"  I couldn't help it, I actually screamed.  I also called Trevor back.  Trevor- this is not a drill, this is an actual emergency, this is what you've been training for.  Not since the movie Titanic has a Jack nearly drowned in an ocean of sadness like that.

I ran into the bathroom and grabbed his sweet little plastic whale tub out of the closet.  I scooped up baby Linda Blair (Google that if you don't know the reference) and put him in his tub.  I wrapped him up in about 4 towels and then sat on the toilet in my lovely summer sundress and watched him like a hawk.

...did I mention he had chicken and sweet potatoes for dinner?  No?  Well, that ought to complete the imagery...

And it just kept coming.  I was waiting for the kitchen sink to come tumbling out of his mouth.  Trevor came home and the cleanup could begin.

It bears mentioning that what follows was only possible because there were two of us.  If you know a single father or mother who has to juggle all of these tasks alone, give them an enormous hug and tell them how heroic and incredible they are and for God's sake, tell them to put you on speed dial so you can come and help them when their kids are sick because dear lord in heaven it's at least a 2 person job, if not a 2 person + Stanley Steemer job.

Saint Trevor of Regurgitated Sweet Potatoes scooped up the dirty sheets and about 38 dirty towels and threw them in the washing machine.  He also had to clean up barfy carpets.  Meanwhile I found one of the 2 clean towels we had left in the entire house and draped it over my sundress.  Apparently rookie parents, when dealing with a puke situation, literally just start throwing clean towels at the puke like they're trying to snuff out a fire.  I laid Jack on my chest and covered him with a picnic blanket we had in our laundry room.  We laid there in the dim light of our living room while Trevor cleaned.  One more blurrpechhhh and he had puked his last puke.  Make that 1 clean towel left in the house.

Jack fell asleep in my arms.  We managed to dress sleeping Jack in some fresh pajamas and take that last towel into our room and make a little bed for him in the playpen (all clean now thanks to St. Trevor).

Trevor and I just looked at each other.  Dear.God.

"Well, do you feel like a real parent now?" I asked

And, his bowling career put on hold for the time being, Trevor just answered with a weary, "Yeah."

Jack did give us a great gift that night, he slept through it.  He also gave us his flu.

Parenthood is filled with magic, with bliss, with joy.  But in those other times, keep your cell phone close and your towels well stocked.  You will make many rookie mistakes, but it's ok.

Because it's in the other times when you really feel like a parent.


  1. Nancy, You made my morning! I haven't laughed this hard since, I don't know when! (not to make light of the situation lol) I can REALLY relate to this story. I remember distinctly watching the news of the Gulf War starting (August of 90)? and baby Bruce starting to be sick at BOTH ends. Then an hour later, four-year-old Sarah with the same symptoms (only no diaper). Then, you guessed it, It was my turn. It was a solid day and a half of war on the TV and hell at home. All three of us crammed into our tiny bathroom. Me on the toilet with a bucket in one hand and a squirting baby in the other and poor Sarah, naked in the bathtub crying. Brian, cleaning up one child and bringing them back in for another round, then grabbing the other - It felt like the world was coming to an end-or maybe I just wished that at the time...
    Keep those stories coming, they are a joy. And oh, this story was the first one that didn't make me cry!

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  3. I felt bad laughing...what great imagery. Glad you are all feeling better :)

  4. Oh, Nancy, this is hysterical! I'm so impressed by your ability to keep your sense of humor about the whole thing, especially because the way you write it, it seems like a movie - just as you and the audience think that no more sweet potatoes can possibly come out of your darling baby, he explodes again.

    Have you invested in a hazmat suit yet for your inevitable future adventures? ;)

    Please keep writing!