So, remember in my last post several weeks ago, where I made a passing reference to a two-day road trip with my friend and her kids, and promised I would write about it later? Okay, so this is a bit later than I originally intended, but here it is.
Despite what I and many other people predicted for a road trip with two young kids, it was actually mostly uneventful. We left a little later than originally planned (as I expected), made a few extra restroom stops (as I expected), and had some difficulty locating gas stations where we could fill up my friend’s car which runs on diesel fuel (I admit this was unexpected because I didn’t actually know there were still cars that run on deisel fuel).
There was one minor incident where I falsely accused the toddler of having a poopy diaper, even though she insisted that she had not pooped. It turns out she was indeed telling the truth and her diaper was clean and then I felt like a complete a-hole. In my defense, we had just passed a cattle ranch or something because the smell of poo was powerful and ubiquitous. But that was not the most exciting thing that happened on the trip.
The most exciting event of the whole trip happened on the first day. I warn you, this story is probably not for the squeamish. And if you are eating anything, you might want to put that down, just for now.
Anyway, we had booked a hotel for a planned overnight stop in Omaha, about halfway to Minnesota and also planned to have dinner with another friend and her two kids. A couple of hours before Omaha, the 6-year-old announced that he was feeling queasy, so we pulled off at the next available exit to give him some fresh air. Thankfully, he did not get sick. We had a snack, sat on the grass for a while, then got back in the car and continued on our way. Soon we broke out the iPad as a means of pacifying the kids for the remainder of the trip. We would shortly realize this was a big mistake. HUGE. The kids did pretty well taking turns, but shortly before the toddler’s turn was over, she suddenly started to fuss and complain. Even with the air conditioner running, it was hot in the car so we decided she was probably just uncomfortable from the heat. I reached back and pulled the waterproof seat cover out from under her, thinking that would help. And this, friends, is when it got ugly. She threw up, just a little, so I reached over my seat to grab a wet wipe and clean her face… which is when she erupted in a fountain of vomit, the volume of which was so astounding that even a bevy of college students after a night of partying would have been hard pressed to match it. And it just kept coming!! I was frantically trying to catch it with whatever I could find – tissues, napkins, and yes, even my hands. This is probably an experience that most parents have had, and everyone wishes they could forget. Surprisingly, you never really lose that unfortunate parental reflex. When the vomit starts coming and doesn’t stop, you stick out your hands before you even know what you are doing, and by then there is little point in withdrawing them because you already have disgustingly vomity hands. Sadly, even my hands were just not enough to contain it and there was a significant amount of overflow. Then I remembered the seat cover I had just pulled out from under her, so I grabbed it and held it under her chin with one hand while desparately trying to wipe her face with the ever-dwindling pile of baby wipes. The poor little girl kept crying “I sad. I sad.”, her sweet little face dripping with tears, and snot, and vomit. Meanwhile, I am reaching around the back of my seat as we drive down the highway, desperately wishing for a gas station or a rest area or SOMEWHERE we can stop and let everyone out of this car, which now smells like an ancient Roman vomitorium. Or at least like I would imagine a vomitorium would have smelled in the days before Febreze existed. Finally we get to an exit, but ay this point I am still hanging backwards over my seat, holding a blanket full of vomit and desperately wiping pukey snot from a crying toddler’s face as we hurtle down the road at 70 miles an hour, while her poor brother is pressing his shirt to his face complaining about the smell so I while I was containing his sister’s emissions, I was worrying that he might be next and what would I do if that happened because I was almost out of wipes. It was like the worst roller coaster ride OF ALL TIME.
But, wait! There’s MORE! Because after all that excitement, we still had to clean out the car, and the car seat where the toddler was sitting when Vesuvius erupted. Even after cleaning the car with every baby wipe we had left plus lots of paper towels from the gas station bathroom, it still smelled sort of vomity in the car for the rest of the trip. Of course, the whole time this was happening I was kicking myself (figuratively speaking) because this was (perhaps surprisingly) NOT the first time I had experienced an Old Faithful of vomit from a child on a road trip. The same thing had happened to us more than once when my own children were small, and after the first occurence we were certain to always pack our car with extra supplies for this eventuality. But, when your kids grow up and become teenagers, you forget these things.
SO. The moral of this story, friends, is always, always, ALWAYS keep a bucket and a full-sized towel within easy reach in the car when on a road trip with small children. Also probably a giant bottle of Febreze, just in case.