When you become a parent, inevitably you hear stories from other parents about horrible, awful circumstances they get into with their kids that you hope you never have to experience. Of course, odds being what they are, it's probably hard to avoid them entirely. It's sort of the opposite of a bucket list--what experiences do I seriously want to avoid?
Early on most of the circumstances probably have to deal with pee and poop...the time someone got sprayed in the mouth with pee, the poop-up-the-back blowout and awkward, poop-everywhere diaper change that follows. When you reach potty training, the fears become more centered around public potty problems. In the meantime, the fears grow into other areas, like broken bones, emergency room visits, and horrible illnesses. We've done the emergency room (twice for me, three times for Craig), his face has been glued shut, he's had a mole surgically removed from his leg, we've been through a handful of procedures that were tough to watch (mostly around the time they were diagnosing his reflux), and we've gotten through some pretty awful puking episodes and a bout of pneumonia. We've been through a lot in four years considering we have a seemingly normal, healthy kid. Oh, and we're going to the cardiologist tomorrow, just to check for one more thing. Sometimes it all seems crazy, but sometimes it's clear that we're just making sure that our little boy is well cared for.
Well, yesterday we got to cross another one of those dreaded moments off the list. We survived an in-car puking episode. A bad one. Jacob came down with a cold on Friday. Runny nose, congestion, and maybe a very low fever by the weekend. Saturday night when Jacob and I were out to dinner with my parents, Jacob started complaining about his belly hurting. It lasted for a while, but then it seemed to fade away without incident. Yesterday morning we headed out to my family reunion at the beach, just about 15 minutes down the road from Craig's parents. Jacob and I got there early, since usually there's a church service at the camp where the reunion is held. Unfortunately, for the first time in our memory, they couldn't find a pastor, so no church, either. We killed time just fine, with Jacob playing on the playground equipment and just hanging out. He'd had cereal for breakfast that morning and had a little lemonade while we waited. He was a little lower key than usual, with a low fever, but he generally seemed fine.
All of a sudden, he told me he wanted to take a nap. He clung to me like glue and started whining about his belly hurting again. I wasn't quite sure what to expect after the night before, and I just felt bad that a) he felt so crappy; b) he was so far from home; and c) everyone had to listen to him cry. I didn't mind the snuggles, but felt so bad for him. At some point he got up from my lap, and at that point, he puked right on the floor. We were in a picnic shelter with a concrete floor, so while it wasn't ideal it could have been worse. Most of what came up was liquid, so that could have been worse, too. I cleaned him up while family cleaned up the rest of the mess.
When we came back from the bathroom, I had him drink a little water. That stayed down, so we moved on to the next easiest thing among the picnic choices--fruit. He had a little fruit, which stayed down, and he seemed to be doing much better. I was hoping that it was just an isolated incident--something didn't settle so up it came. We had a birthday party for our nephew later in the afternoon, so I was concerned about staying for that, but when he seemed to make a speedy recovery, I was less worried. We went down to the beach and played without incident, then packed up and headed out.
At the party, Jacob was eager to get a costume on (he loves his cousins' selection of dress-up stuff), and he played for a bit. Later on he got a little clingier and laid near me for a bit, but for the most part he was fine, just subdued. We encouraged him to eat more fruit and drink water, and he did. He seemed to get a little more uncomfortable by the time we were ready to leave, and I ended up sitting in the back with him on the way home. He was definitely unhappy, but he eventually fell asleep. About 20 minutes later he was whimpering in his sleep and woke up...and about a minute later, he proceeded to puke all over himself and his car seat, not to mention my hands. It was pretty horrible. We stopped the car on the side of the Thruway to dig towels and extra clothes out of the trunk. I did my best to clean up the car seat and Jacob, but it was pretty futile. Pieces of partially digested fruit were everywhere! On the bright side, Jacob felt better after that and my lack of a sense of smell made the cleanup process and the rest of the 50 minute ride home much easier.
Since then Jacob's been fine. We were concerned about a wheeze he had going on yesterday so we did a breathing treatment last night, too, and Craig did go in and sleep in Jacob's room in the middle of the night when Jacob started calling for him. However, everything seems fine so far. Two pieces of toast, some water, half a PB&J, some applesauce and juice have stayed down without incident. I'm home with him today, a little cautious myself because wearing puke twice yesterday seems to up the risk that I might catch it. My stomach's been a little off--fine but gurgly at times--but I don't know if it's psychological or just a small side effect of the germs, or what. Or maybe it's just a preview of what's to come. God forbid, but what can you do?
Anyway, the good news is that we survived an in-car puking. I'm not going to say we handled it well--"survived" is most accurate--but at least we got through it. One less "unknown" to fear. I don't want to go through it again, and odds are if we do we won't have a fully packed car to use as a resource, but hey, at least we got through it once and clean-up this time around went relatively well--stains came out, car seat was hosed off and washed well. Minimal impact on the car, too. But oh, what a couple of days it has been...