Last night my son puked on me for the first time. He’s eight months old and he’s puked before, but miraculously on the floor or only partially on me or my husband. Last night, as I was lying him down to breastfeed, he nuzzled in my chest and unfurled an unholy amount of puke directly into my chest.
I don’t know what I would have done if my husband wasn’t home. He went into commando mode and took the baby onto the changing table to get him sorted. I went into the bathroom, wiped off my chest, took my shirt off and realized that my nursing bra also serves as a great puke receptacle.
I probably should have just gotten into the shower with my clothes on. Instead I tried to stem the tide piece by piece. An hour later, the lingering aroma of puke still clung to the bathroom. We ate dinner, we talked about work. It was time for bed. Did puke get in the kitchen? Was there any puke on the covers of our bed? I was too tired to do more than a cursory look.
I woke up this morning, showered and dressed for work. Wait, did I get puke on my shoe?
Looking back on my childhood, there are a lot of memories that make me feel bad for my mom. The entire decade of my teen years for starters. But the thing that I worried about most was puking sickness. Looking back on all the times that I lay in my parents’ bed with a bowl next to my head or leaning over the kitchen sink in my footie pajamas, I got really nervous about how I would handle those moments as a parent.
I’m an easy puker and had fears of having a Stand By Me moment every time my kid came down with a stomach bug. Who knows? Maybe that is still in my future. I’m pretty sure sympathetic puking is not a helpful parenting trick.
This time, though, the puke didn’t freak me out. It was a surprise, but one of those things that gets dealt with, like all the other parenting jobs I wasn’t expecting/prepared for that just need to get done. And I cleaned it up like all the other things we’ve cleaned up in the last eight months. Except for maybe I didn’t get it all? I could swear there was a lingering smell in the shower this morning. I put on clean clothes before I left. It’s probably all in my head.
But also, I have a big meeting in an hour. Do I still smell like puke?