Sunday, May 27, 2012

The vomit episode

In February this year I spent a week with my best friend Amy and her boys (my annual trek to South Australia for her birthday).  

The pinnacle of my visit was the night before I was due to travel back home.  I was sitting on the couch, dividing my attention haphazardly between the local tv station and giggling at Facebook updates.  She disappeared for a while, only to return and deposit crying, nappy-clad baby in my lap. 

After only 5 days slotted quietly into her life, I found myself constantly alert for the sound of a baby’s cry, swaying and rocking without thinking about it and adjusting rather easily to the concept that the new centre of my world was this delightful boy child.

So, baby in lap, I immediately commenced rocking, patting, shushing to the best of my ability.

I was standing in the middle of the lounge when it started.   Amy walked past in a bit of a hurry, said ‘I think I know what’s wrong with him’.  A moment later he stopped crying, made a peculiar noise and emitted a small blurp of warm, wet liquid onto my shoulder. 

So far, so good.  I knew babies throw up, I knew clothes could be washed. I considered it a sign of my maturity (not to mention my vast knowledge of parenting) and my love for this little creature to accept the state of things, namely that I had just been vomited on.

Amy trotted over and said ‘you might need this’, and deposited an aptly-named spew rag on my already soaked shoulder.  I was still congratulating myself on being calm in the face of baby spew when she grabbed my elbow and said ‘quick, come out into the hallway’.

I had just stepped off the carpeted part of the floor when Baby anointed me again; this time a deluge.  It ran down my back, under the waistband of my jeans and into my underwear, flowed across my chest into my bra, trickled down my arm, splashed on the floor.

At the time I was quite proud of myself.  I didn’t flinch, I didn’t drop the baby, I didn’t yell ‘EWWWW GROSS!” at the top of my lungs.  I did say, quietly, “I think Aunty Nicole is going to need a shower”.   Amy covered herself efficiently with a towel or two, took Baby from my arms (with a smothered giggle at my facial expression), and I fled to the bathroom, barely keeping down my own dinner. (It was just the smell, and there were bits with texture….)

While in the shower, removing baby vomit from my hair (to this day I don’t know how it got in my hair, on the opposite side to the arm I was holding him with), I was suddenly wracked with guilt.  Here I was hogging the shower, shampooing my hair, having left my best friend sitting in the hallway with a vomit-covered baby.  I hurried to finish the shower and emerged from the bathroom, fresh and apologetic.

While Amy and Baby showered, I cleaned up the floor and did my best to make up for my lapse in selflessness.  As we laughed about it afterwards, she told me that this just meant Baby really loved me.

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