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.