Until about 3:00 pm. Our babysitter only speaks Spanish, and my husband, who is fluent in español, is the de facto communicator of all things important and trivial. Just before Alex and I left on a psuedo-date (gelato! museum! art gallery!) I went into the kitchen to find them whispering.
Before I go any further, I need to give some context. Aiven has been sprouting dry patches on his skin as of late. I am not terribly concerned, but my husband is. According to what I’ve read this is perfectly normal and should disappear on its own in due time. Aiven has also not gained his usual weight and seems to have leaned out. Once again, I am not worried, but Alex is. I attribute this weight plateau to Aiven’s lack of interest in eating last week while teething and his increased physical activity.
Back to the kitchen scene. In Alex’s hand was an empty can of coconut milk and in Aiven’s mouth was a bottle with a creamy, white substance that was definitely not my breast milk. I asked Alex to translate his conversation with the babysitter and he told me that Aiven had not been drinking as much water as usual. So, Alex thought a bottle of coconut milk would be great! He told me it was very fatty and Aiven needed the calories. He also told me it was hydrating, and that Aiven was dehydrated. Well, I thought to myself, I have to pick my battles. Sometimes I need to let Alex try things out that I would never in a million years try myself.
Fast forward three hours later. We came home to find out that Aiven had been both the victim and perpetrator of an epic poop-through. It was one of those gems that required a hose-down and a quarantine of the affected area. About 20 minutes later, I was at the computer checking my email. Alex and the babysitter were sitting behind me on the rug chillaxing with Aiven. I heard a cough and then an odd squishy sound. I turned around to see Aiven spew coconut milk out like a geyser. I watched stupefied at the sheer amount of vomit spewing from his sweet lips into the hands of Alex and the babysitter futilely trying to catch it! They sat there paralyzed with handfuls of vomit as it spilled onto the carpet.
Mind you, this was not fresh coconut milk. It was partially digested. It had marinated in gastric juices for three hours and stunk like the most sour, vile, old milk you can imagine. If you left for vacation and forgot to throw out the milk, the rotten curds you’d discover upon your return would not smell half as putrid as this vomit.
I didn’t know what to do first. Bring them something to empty their cupped hands? Get paper towels? Laugh? Cry? I followed my momma instincts, grabbed my terrified son, and cradled him to my chest. He thanked me with a fresh wave of vomit right down the front of my shirt. The warm liquid covered my breasts and slithered its way down to my stomach. I held him tighter and wiped the vomit leaking out of his nose.
As Alex and the babysitter cleaned up the mess, I managed to peel off my shirt and towel down my little boy so he would not have to simmer in vomit. Our babysitter was a real trooper. Poor woman, she had to walk home in the heat and must have smelled something awful by the time she arrived.
It took an hour or so before Aiven felt like himself again. But the smell would not dissipate. It permeated the air. I decided to run a bubble bath, and we all jumped in! We had a great time playing with the bubbles and we were relieved to see our little boy smiling again.
When Alex and I finally crawled into bed a few hours later, he whimpered, “I don’t feel so well. My stomach is really upset. I think I may throw up.” I asked if it was something he ate at dinner, He didn’t want to tell me what was making him sick. But I badgered him until he fessed up. The smell of the vomit was in his nose. He could not get away from the odor of his guilty conscience. There wasn’t anything I could do except hold his hand. From the other side of the bed — I was not about to get puked on again.
This post originally appeared on Kveller.com. Kveller.com offers a Jewish twist on parenting, everything a Jewish family could need for raising Jewish children--including crafts, recipes, activities, Hebrew and Jewish names for babies...and advice from Mayim Bialik.