Do you ever look at your toddler and think, gee I’m lucky that he/she doesn’t… (insert gross/awkward/scary/dangerous/obnoxious thing that other kids do)?
Well stop right there. Whatever you do, don’t complete the thought. Why? Because the universe has a way of punishing smug parents. And the punishment is brutal.
Of course, those who are publicly smug cop it in spades down the track, we all know that. We have all stood back and quietly chuckled as the parent whose child “never has tantrums” is carried out of the supermarket over a shoulder, kicking and screaming, shoe missing and snot flowing, all because they weren’t allowed to have a Freddo Frog.
But I’m here to tell you, don’t even think that smug thought. Not even for a second. The universe can hear that smarmy little voice in the back of your head, and the universe will do it’s very best to punish you for it.
How do I know? Because vomit.
Just the other day I was sitting at the dinner table with my daughter. I watched her happily much away on whatever she was eating (I can’t remember, but I bet it had cheese in it. It always has cheese in it). A thought popped into my head. A little, seemingly innocuous thought, right out of nowhere. I thought to myself, “Gee, I sure am lucky that Hannah never vomits. Some kids vomit all the time, and if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s spew.”
The thought was there, and then it was gone. A flash of lightning in an otherwise clear brain. If you had been there, you wouldn’t have even known it had happened. The thought didn’t even hang about long enough for me to stare into the middle distance contemplating it.
You wouldn’t have noticed it, but the universe did…
Not even 24 hours later, I was driving my car with Hannah strapped safely into the back seat. We were driving to my doctor’s appointment less than five minutes away from home.
By some kind of apparent miracle (it was not actually a miracle, it was the beginning of the universe’s great act of vengeance) we had made it out the door early and still had some time to kill.
Rather than sit in a dull waiting room where Hannah would quickly become bored, I thought I would treat her to a nice scenic drive. After all, she was in a new booster seat that was much more upright than her last and she was able to see out the side window far better than ever before (can you hear the evil laughter yet?).
The drive took us up a winding hill (surely you can hear it now…). It was really pleasant. Until it wasn’t.
I heard a harsh cough come from the back seat. That was nothing unusual, Hannah often picks up little bugs that make her cough. She coughed again, and this time she cried. That was unusual. I was just around the corner from the doctor’s surgery, so I thought I would keep driving and give her a big drink of water when we arrived.
Then I heard the sound.
The sound of cough, followed by a splatter of wet. It is a sound that is etched into the back of my mind, right in the spot that the smug thought briefly occupied. It took me a moment to register, and in that moment, the rest of Hannah’s stomach contents was unceremoniously dumped all over her, her new car seat and my upholstery. My precious car – the car that I have loved for years, the car that I have kept free of accidents and diligently maintained – was covered in vomit. Oh yeah, and my daughter, she was also covered in vomit.
The smell hit me like a slap in the face. My first reaction was to vomit in sympathy (I really don’t do well with vomit). But I held it in. My car may have been wounded, but a chunder-covered dashboard would be fatal blow. I had no choice, I had to drive us back home and deal with the mess.
I made a sharp turn and jumped on the accelerator (right up the legal speed limit, Mr NSW Law Enforcement, if you are reading). Hannah was now crying, distressed and confused about what had happened. I tried my best to console her, but that is very difficult to do while
manically weaving in and out of traffic driving in a calm, sensible and safe manner.
On the way I called the doctor’s surgery (yes, on hands-free, get off my back about the road safety already) and politely informed them that I would not be making my scheduled appointment due to a vomit-covered toddler. The receptionist sounded sceptical at first, but the screaming from that back seat of a toddler who really doesn’t like being covered in her own regurgitated lunch helped to reassure her that I was telling the truth.
Finally we were home. I scooped Hannah out of the car and removed the soiled clothes, right there in the garage. I wiped off the vomit that was on her hands and immediately she calmed down. Turns out Hannah just really hates having vomit on her hands.
We went upstairs and I bathed the now perky toddler. I washed her hair thoroughly, but as vomit does, it clung to her hair in a desperate bid to remind us all about the experience. It took another solid wash that night to return to normal.
Once Hannah was all good, I returned to the car to survey the damage. I won’t gross you out with a written recount of the gruesome clean-up effort – why waste words when pictures can fill in all the gory details?
After much scooping, scrubbing and disinfecting, all the visible vomit was removed. The new car seat (thankfully) has removable and machine-washable fabric, so it may, just may not have to be thrown in the bin.
As for my car… anyone want to buy a second hand hatchback? Never been in an accident, diligently maintained, always garaged… smells vaguely of child vomit.