You might be a parent if, when dripping with chunky vomit that is not your own, it isn’t even your primary concern.
Or, I suppose, you might just be really drunk.
Yep, we got a visit from the Vomit Fairy again. I really hate that guy. Rebekah’s been going all Linda Blair everywhere. I must say that I’m really impressed with the spread she manages to get out of what must logically—if not by appearance—be only a couple of ounces. Poor little thing just looks so stunned when it happens.
Cough. Urp. BLEAAARRRRRGGHHH!!!SplOOOOshh…
That’s been my last 24 hours or so. But it does remind me of a funny travel story. And by funny, I mean horrible and nerve-wracking, but, hey, it happened a couple months ago so I can laugh about it now.
Or at least ride it for a journal entry.
So, back in November, we’re headed to Virginia for a week. Getting the kids into the car takes longer than expected (doesn’t it always? See, we even EXPECT that and STILL it takes longer) and we leave the house at 4:08 instead of 4. Relax, my wife tells me. We could have left at 4:30 and still been on time. My wife, knowing me, has lovingly lied to me about what time we needed to leave. I might have to admit that it is effective, even if duplicitous. Anyway, we’re making our way to the airport as rush hour is getting underway. Rebekah, having just woken up from a nap and it being close to dinner AND having not eaten much for lunch, is hungry. I’d grabbed the bananas on the way out the door because, face it, those suckers weren’t going to last the week. So, she eats one happily in the car seat and Reed has one. A little later, Amy starts in on one and Rebekah starts raising cane from the backseat. She saw Mommy having something and—hey—she didn’t have one! So, presuming she’s still hungry, we give her another banana. And she downs it. Like, we had to make sure she didn’t eat the peel.
We’re on the interstate exchange about ten minutes from the airport when I realize: Oh Shit. Yeah. That’s right. I capitalized it. It was that kind of Shit. We’d forgotten the car seat for the airplane.
Now, for those of you uninitiated in child air travel, ‘car’ seats are actually designed for land yachts. SUVs, minivans and such. Frankly, they’re motherfuckin’ big-ass things. I had to search to find one that would fit behind the driver’s seat rear-facing in our car, a family-sized sedan. Needless to say, these things simply will not fit in an airline seat. So, we’ve got this spare travel seat that is really minimal and fits in the airplane seats. We’d done 30+ flights with this thing without a problem.
Only, now, our problem was that it was still at home.
Shit. (See, still capitalized.)
So, I take the interstate exchange in the other direction back to our house. I am hauling. We do some mental calculations and can just make it back in time to get checked-in at the airport. I take the back, curvy way to our house, skid into the driveway, snag the seat, repack the trunk (shoving a bag on my wife’s lap so everything would fit), hop back in and peel out for the airport.
We’re slinging through the turns (here, my wife refers to me as ‘Mario Andretti’) when a curious sound comes from the seat behind me. I glance up into the baby mirror to catch the first discharge of digesting bananas roll out of her mouth, down her front and into the seat cracks like so much fruit-n-bile lava. Seriously, she only ate two bananas, but it was more like ten that came out. In hindsight, that exchange rate is really good and I might consider feeding her hundred dollar bills next time.
At this point, I pined for the knowledge and skill to pull one of those high-speed, 180 degree turns. We went straight back to the house and dived out of the car. I handed Rebekah to Amy, who sprinted inside, stripped her, hosed her down and re-dressed her. Meanwhile, I began feebly trying to FIND the car seat under that mountain of puked produce while simultaneously trying not to vomit myself. I gave it up as a bad job, yanked the entire car seat out, set it in the garage (“That’ll be nice after a week!” I thought aloud), fished out the travel car seat and snapped it in just as Amy was coming out with the clean-if-still-a-bit-damp daughter.
All the while, I’m pretty sure we’re boned regarding our flight. Which is, pretty much, the only flight that will get us to Virginia in time for my Dad’s wedding. Didn’t I mention that part? Yeah. He kind of postponed it from it’s original date especially so we could be there.
As I navigate the traffic, Amy prepares me that we, in fact, might not make our flight. Fortunately, I’m outdriving the feeling of screwed-ness for the moment at least. We, being the engineering types, strategize our attack for arriving at the airport. There’s no way we can all go to long term parking, get out shit on the bus, then get to the terminal, check our bags and make the flight. We decided to go directly to the terminal, drop off everything and I’ll take all the bags and the two kids in, drop off the bags and make my way to the gate/plane while Amy parks the car and hopefully gets to the gate in time, unencumbered by any bags at all and aided by all kinds of uber-traveler first class status.
Though, in retrospect I’m thinking she was secretly hoping to get to fly solo.
Anyhoo, even though it’s about 40 minutes before departure, I’m able to check my bags curbside, whisk the kids through security (and, seriously, my 18-month-old is not a terrorist; why must I take off her shoes? All the dangerous stuff is in the diaper, anyway.), meet Amy and make it to the gate just as they begin boarding.
Oh. And Reed? He slept through the entire ordeal.