I'll warn you right now: this post is not for the faint of gut. If you have a weak stomach at all, you probably just want to skip this one.
I got puked on yesterday. Hardcore.
My daughter has only thrown up one other time in her life. Sure there was plenty of spit-up during the infant days, but the only other incident involving actual barf was a couple of months ago, when a wicked cold caused her to cough so hard she upchucked on our freshly-shampooed carpet. Other than that, our house has been pretty much a puke-free zone.
Yesterday, we went out to dinner with another couple, some friends of ours who love Piper but have no kids of their own. We were at some Southwest-themed bar & grill, eating burgers with jalapenos and hot sauce slathered on top. Piper seemed to be happily munching on her fries, kid-size burger (minus the jalapenos and hot sauce, of course), and chocolate milk. Her appetite had been a little off for a couple of days, but she'd already sucked down most of her chocolate milk and was plowing through her fries, so I figured it was nothing. She said she had to go potty, so I took her to the bathroom. We came back, and her eating slowed down. She asked to sit on my lap, so I took her out of the booster seat and settled her on my leg. She snuggled into me like she was cold, so I took off my gauze scarf and draped it around her. I held onto her and continued eating one-handed.
She turned to the table and seemed to be looking for something. I gave her my phone, which she'd been using earlier to play a spelling game. I asked her if she wanted another drink of her milk and she whispered, "Yeah." So she took a sip, put the cup on the table, gave a funny little cough, and hurled down the front of my shirt.
We are talking gallons of chocolate-milk and french-fry puke here, people. Right in the boobs. She heaved again, with a loud belch, and unleashed another torrent of vomit onto me. She immediately started to cry and ask to go home and change her clothes. I grabbed my one paper napkin and dabbed pathetically at the mess. Dimly I heard my husband going "Phone! Phone! Phone!" and I realized that I was still clutching my iPhone, which had taken a direct hit and was dripping with puke. I handed it off, grabbed some more napkins, and gave an emphatic yes to whoever asked if we needed some real towels. One of our friends was looking a bit green and scooting out of the booth really fast; she's a nanny for two four-year-olds, so she has seen her share of messes, but she'd just taken a bite of chicken wing when the eruption occurred and very nearly gave the old heave-ho herself. Our other friend was asking the waitress for towels.
I stripped Piper out of her dress and left her wearing just the tank top and leggings beneath; it didn't help much, because it was all covered. She was crying and I was trying to reassure her. I worked quickly and calmly, trying to clean up her, the booth, and the table. I ignored the fact that my jeans were soaked through and there was vomit dripping down my shirt. The blonde-early-20's-college-student waitress, who had been remarkably absent for most of our meal, suddenly appeared and asked for the towels even though I was clearly not done with them.
"I'm sorry, could you just put that towel on this plate?" I guess I couldn't blame her, I wouldn't want to touch some kid's puke either.
"Yeah," I said, "just a sec." I worked even faster to wipe down the booth, the table, and everything else within reach. I gave up the dirty towel and reached for a second, which was soggy with the remnants of someone else's table-dirt.
"If you could just put the towel right there on that plate, that would be great," she said again, watching me as I scrubbed at the vinyl seat-back.
"Um, okay, yeah," I answered again, giving up the only wet towel I had. I reached for the dry one and had no sooner dabbed at my shirt than she asked for it. I relenquished it, which left me with only a pile of puke-soaked paper napkins. The waitress disappeared through some secret doorway, and was not seen again. Ten bucks says she doesn't let her birth-control prescription run out for a good, long while.
Luckily my friend appeared with a pile of wet paper towels from the women's restroom, which I used to clean up Piper. Ryan came back with my cleaned-off phone in one hand, and his undershirt in the other. He offered it to me, but instead I stripped Piper out of her wet tank top and pants, and put it on her. It was enormous, but she stopped crying. Our wonderful, dear friend took her to look at the pinball machines while I continued to wipe down the booth and table. I was finally able to asses the damage to myself and quickly concluded that nothing short of a long, hot shower was going to fix this. I gingerly took off my t-shirt (getting that thing over my head without dumping chunks in my hair was quite the feat) and sweater, leaving me with barf-soaked jeans and a barfy tank top for the ride home.
I was sort of laughing as I worked, because really, what else could I do? It was like a scene from a sitcom or something. Less than five minutes earlier, our friend had complimented us on how cool we were. "You guys are parents, and good parents - your kid is awesome. Piper is an awesome kid who's fun to be with," he said. "But you also still seem like yourselves, just with a few extra responsibilities. And that's cool. You guys are very cool."
Three minutes later, my "awesome kid" covered me in a river of partially-digested french fries and corn-syrup-laden dairy products. Real cool.
I was apologizing like crazy to our friends, who seemed a little shell-shocked but mostly surprised at how well I handled it.
"You're just...just taking it all in stride," he said. "That's amazing."
I had wiped down the entire seat and gotten pretty much all of the mess up, and without towels there was nothing more I could do. I balled up the sodden clothes and wrapped them in my sweater, tied the whole thing shut with the sweater arms, dabbed at my pants once more, and scooted out of the booth. Piper was giggling in our friend's arms, proudly holding two rubber bouncy balls wrestled from the clutches of the $0.25 prize machines in the video-game room. As we walked to the car, I realized that not only were my jeans soaked, so were my underwear. And I stank. Ye Gods, I stank.
When we reached our vehicle, my husband asked, "Uhh, do we even have plastic bags in the car?"
"Yup, we certainly do," I said. "Because your wife is awesome." I opened the door, retrieved the pile of plastic grocery bags I'd stashed in the car, and tossed the ball of puke-clothing into one, then tied it shut. I spread more bags on my seat and put one on my lap so the seat belt wouldn't get vomit on it. We rode home with the windows open, until Piper started howling "I'm COLLLLDDDD! I'm cold cold cold!" from the back. Then we had to shut the windows and I was left to ride in a cloud of my own stink, holding the seatbelt away from my vomit-covered chest.
As soon as we got through the door I hit the shower with Piper in tow. I stripped off my sodden tank top to find that not only had the vomit soaked through my bra, there were chunks of my daughter's dinner in my cleavage.
Yeah, I thought as I herded my daughter into the shower and started scrubbing her off, real cool.