A Mess

We’re standing in front of the dairy case when Evan starts coughing. “Cover your mouth” I say sharply. I can feel the eyes of the other shoppers boring into my back and I know they’re thinking “Ugh, kids and their GERMS.”

And then he throws up. On me. On himself. On the cart. On the floor. It’s awful and smelly and EVERYWHERE and all those people who were watching us just a few seconds before have suddenly disappeared. Evan looks up at me with huge eyes and said “I spit up. Spit up on you Mommy. Spit up on Evan. I sick.”

I think “No crap, Kid” but I say “I’m so sorry buddy! It’s ok! Let’s clean you up!” I use a handful of baby wipes to clean off his face and hands and hair and neck and ohmigod how did he get puke in his EAR?! I pull of his sweatshirt and throw it over the mess on the floor. I grab the extra pair of pants from my diaper bag (thank goodness I restocked it this morning) and lickety-split change him right there in the aisle.

A few shoppers slink past, avoiding eye contact.

I use his dirty clothes to wipe everything down but we both still stink. Or maybe it’s just me. I grapple with my desire to abandon the cart and flee with the kids but I hate to waste our shopping trip so I suck it up. By the time we’re in the next aisle Evan is running around like crazy, bouncing off the walls, getting in the way, shouting and laughing. I guess he wasn’t so sick after all.

I think for a minute about how this sums up motherhood – surprising and messy and gross and horrifying but you DEAL WITH IT because there’s no one else who will and seeing your kids happy makes it all worth it. But that doesn’t make me smell any better, so we head home to shower.

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20 Responses to “A Mess”

  1. oh my goodness! not fun! but so. so. true about motherhood. those gnarly situations, that somehow you make it through only faintly smelling like vomit…and you check yourself out in the rearview mirror on the way home and say “I did that! I totally handled it.” – – way to go, mama!!

  2. MomEinstein says:

    That’s simultaneously disgusting and hilarious. Nice work dealing with it, and I’m glad he’s not really sick.

  3. Swistle says:

    Oh, man. Elizabeth did that once in the check-out at Target. With many other lanes full, and ours the lane everyone who was done had to walk past to get out of the store. Mortifying.

  4. Kimberly says:

    Wow. Go you! Now I know what will be in the back of my head every time one of my kids coughs. I never bring the diaper bag with me into stores, but I think I will start doing it now. And is it weird that neither of my kids has ever thrown up? (I’m knocking every piece of wood I can see.)

  5. Sarah says:

    Attia did that once in a fabric store. Sean was holding her while I was waiting for the lady at the cutting table to cut my selections. It all happened in slow motion, he was walking with her, down the middle of the aisle (thank God) and she vomitted everywhere – eggs, the milk she’d just finished, everything she had eaten for the entire day. All over her poor dad (but she missed the fabric).

    He didn’t know what to do, she was scared, the ladies at Fabricland were mortified. I just sprang into action, cleaned up the baby, the daddy and asked the lady at the cutting table for a mop so I could clean the floor. Can you imagine, she had the nerve to be snippy about getting it for me? I was halfway tempted to leave my fabric and the pile of puke behind and waltz out of the store — but I cleaned it up! Then I stripped everyone and we drove home in underwear/diapers. Oh the smell!!

  6. Finn says:

    Oh man the worst. O threw up in car last week, and I thought that was bad (clean-up was a pain) and of course we were between exit 16 and nowhere on RT 2. But, I think the grocery store might be worse.

  7. Krista says:

    Oh no. Poor Evan, poor you! Motherhood is not exactly glamorous, huh?

  8. wow. you handled that like a champ!! poor little fella and poor mama. but you are right…we just DEAL WITH IT and move on. motherhood is both beautiful and messy-dirty-yucky at times. i welcome both- not always at the moment received but thankful just the same!

    great post suzanne

  9. Elaine says:

    I used to be afraid to re-stock the diaper bag because I thought maybe it would be foreshadowing – ha! Glad you did though and so GLAD that is over for you! It’s surely bound to not happen anytime soon (Or hopefully EVER again!)

  10. Kate says:

    The other day I had lunch with a friend of mine who I used to think was a huge princess, that is, until she had two boys 14 months apart. At lunch, we were outnumbered. 4 boys and two mommies. but we dealt with it. Across the course of the hour, her littlest started to look a bit green. As he heaved his first heave, she calmly reach under his chin, her perfectly manicured hand forming a cup. Barf all over her. On his second heave, without missing a beat, she calmly, and quietly stood up and walked outside, holding him.

    She came back, hands washed, and lunch continued as if nothing happened. That’s what happens to us as mothers. We deal with it because nobody else will, and well, it’s our kid. No matter what we were before, we’re mothers. Well said

  11. Audrey says:

    Man, I can’t imagine dealing with that at a store. Am I jinxing myself saying that?

  12. gretchen says:

    Last year Max threw up while in line for food at a funeral reception. He narrowly missed most of the food. I had nightmares about the entire church congregation coming down with his stomach flu. It was all such a blur, but I am so thankful the church ladies were so quick, helpful and efficient. And the funeral was for a mom of four boys. I can only hope she could kind of relate from heaven.

  13. heather says:

    oh no. not the public puke. you know what? I want to be the kind of person that stops to help, even if I’m risking getting sick. Just saying.

    Thank you for joining in with Just Write, lady. I heart you.

  14. Olivia says:

    oh man. bravo lady! And yes, that sums up motherhood perfectly.

  15. Ewwww. I dont know how good of a mom I would be in that situation. My inclination would be abandon ship everyone needs a shower! It reminds me of the time that Elena projectile spit up/threw up and it was perfectly aimed for my mouth. It was horrible and I washed my mouth for 15 minutes in the sink after that and then drank a Dr. Pepper. Worth it for her? Yes. Is motherhood nasty? OMGosh YES!

  16. Perfect “mommy” story :)

  17. Erin says:

    We had this very same experience last Sunday at Church. I high tailed it out of there though. Sounds like you handled it pretty well. It sounds like you are gone pro at this Mommy thing. :)

  18. Erin says:

    We had this very same experience last Sunday at Church. I high tailed it out of there though. Sounds like you handled it pretty well. It sounds like you have gone pro at this Mommy thing. :)

  19. Erin says:

    oops, can you fix that one for me?

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