Moving With a Barfing Baby

We Broke All The Rules. TV. Pacifier.

When we got to JFK I saw 2 signs: one for the chapel and the other for the restroom. I wasn’t sure which one I needed more. Divine intervention or soap.

We had just left Brooklyn at 7 a.m. to begin our new life in LA. We looked like the Brooklyn-to-Beverly Hillbillies. We had Wayne Sanchez as one carry on, 4 other carry-ons, 4 pieces of luggage, her stroller, and of course we three humans.

The driver, like most of them in New York, kept hitting the gas and brake. Stop and go. Stop and go. I was getting worried, but just hoped we’d make it. No such luck. 10 minutes from the airport, Fia whispered, “uh oh” and out came the barf. It went everywhere. Luckily for us, I had asked to use the driver’s car seat, because I didn’t feel like dealing with installing ours at that hour.

I won’t go into the stench. All parents know how horrendous it is. Make that double horrid when you’re 7 months pregnant and your sense of smell is heightened.

Poor Fia was crying. The driver didn’t say a word. I’m sure he was furious. I told him we’d give him extra for the cleaning. Phil and I were dealing with the aftermath, trying to clean up Fia with wipes, but really there was no point. She just had to sit in her vomit. And we all had to sit in the smelly van with her vomit. The only person who wasn’t rattled was Wayne.

I rushed Fia to the bathroom and the kind TSA women who saw us rushed over some plastic bags for her clothes. Thank god for national security.

I gave her a bath in the sink and managed to get off the smell. Slightly redeemed, we rushed to our gate, the last to board, looking like the 3-ring circus we were.

The plane was packed. All our carry-ons had to go under the seat. Wayne took up so much space we were literally scrunched with our knees to our chest. Fia fell sleep on takeoff and landing. The remaining, oh, 5 hours or so, was sheer entertainment and avoiding the ambush.  Wayne didn’t make a peep.

This may have been the worse travel day of my life. Oh, but it gets better.

When we landed, Phil took one car with Wayne to the cat hotel where we were boarding him for a few days (I wished I were Wayne). I went with Fia in the other car. We installed our car seat this time and the driver took off. I could tell he was another one. I guess the west coast drivers are just as bad. Stop and go. Stop and go. But I honestly didn’t think lightning could strike the same place twice. Especially in the same day.

In bumper to bumper traffic, 3 miles from our hotel, the barfing baby let loose. This time I had the driver pull over. I was paralyzed–too numb to cry. I just went into that out of body mindset you do as a mom on a mission. You guys know what I mean, right?

I pulled her out of the car, getting barf all over me too. I stripped her down on the sidewalk, and took a water bottle and dumped it on her. So there is my beautiful baby on Wilshire Drive, naked with barf (and tears) streaming down her. The driver handed me a few napkins from his glove compartment. I ordered him to go find paper towels somewhere.

Eventually we got it cleaned up. When walked into our hotel, we looked and smelled like two people off of skid row.

I spent our first night in LA in the laundry room washing our clothes and her car seat covering.

The morals of this story:

We won’t be taking a car service or a plane ride until she’s 18. As my friend Christy says, “We’re not traveling again until my son can order his own drink.” Amen to that.

When it comes to travel, if you have to pick between a cat and a baby, pick the cat.


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  1. [...] Moving with a barfing baby ( [...]

  2. by Heather

    On October 26, 2011 at 10:57 am

    AWFUL! I’m so sorry. Have you tried sea bands? They deal with pressure points, so there’s no medication involved, and they might help keep her from getting sick the next time. My 3-year-old niece uses them when she travels — and they work like a charm.

  3. by Phil

    On October 26, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    We were traveling across the state of Florida on a trip we had planned for months, and my kid has one of those eat-anything-and-I’ll-yak-out-2x-more afflictions.

    Somewhere out there is some beautifully rendered Target security cam footage of my 2-year-old unleashing the contents of her stomach all over me in the lobby of the store. Someday I’ll be forwarded it from YouTube and say yep, that’s me.

    That was easy, though. Not much you can do when your kid is puking in the back in a rear facing car seat.


  4. by Elizabeth Lahart

    On October 27, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Love this, Jill. Oh, gawd, barf on both coasts. Little E is especially prone to car sickness too.
    We will be missing you, so keeping blogging =)


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  18. [...] wasn’t my old self was the fact that I was exhausted and crying. A lot. Still I forged on. We took 21 flights that first year. All domestic, all safe and within a doctor’s [...]

  19. [...] is the first time I’ve flown with them by myself. In Fia’s first year, we went on about 20 flights. I had it pretty down, but I would never say it was fun. I did think my experience as a veteran [...]