My husband and I turned to each other and laughed. What else could we do? I actually got the giggles, which is laughter at a different level. These giggles are the kind that makes you feel like a young child in church, trying desperately to suppress the laughter under the irritated eye of Mama.
Why was my laughter so taboo? Our middle son had just barfed all over himself and the backseat, narrowly missing his older brother who shifted in his seat at just the right moment. Safe. A bit did get on the corner of his sandal. Nasty.
We knew it was coming. We were driving over the Coast Range, heading to Tillamook. I would venture to say that even the locals find the route we were on, curvy. C had been gagging and coughing for the last mile or so. We’d passed back the customary bag with instructions to puke into it, please. He often complains of motion sickness, and nothing comes of it.
B was curious. He was fixated on his green brother. I wonder if he thought it would never happen; we were all beginning to think this was becoming the standard for riding in cars with C: complaints with no real outcomes. B kept leaning into the bag, checking it for contents. Still empty. A, our youngest, was just jabbering away, oblivious to the impending doom.
I guess we, the adults, were hoping the road would straighten out soon, and C’s complains would be a distant inconvenience. And then it happened. All of McDonald’s was covering his chest, shorts, legs, car seat, and floor.
I think the part that made me laugh was how instant his joy was after he emptied his stomach, “Oh, I feel much better. I am all better now!” Then he looked down at his mess and started to cry, “It is on my Easter shirt.” I tried to reassure him that it would wash out and that I could save the Easter shirt, this in between giggles of helplessness. Bren was definitely no longer interested in seeing his brother explode and was now struggling against his own reflexes due to the scent of fresh vomit. A, however, was very interested and leaned way over to see what had just happened and caused such stir.
“Well, are you going to pull over?” I asked my husband as we continued to S-curve through the mountains, “I do need to clean him up, you know.”
We kept looking for a good place to pull over and finally chose a slight straight-stretch. Lovely. I had a limited number of baby wipes to do the job with and one newspaper to wrap C’s stinky clothes in. The puke bag was clean and empty, a bright side in our latest adventure. Unfortunately for my husband I wrapped C’s nastiness in the newspaper’s crossword puzzle.
The cars whizzed by. The Oregon drizzle was now coming down. Perhaps the mist might aid my struggle to clean and disinfect.
B and A were now out of the van and playing on the hillside. C was nearly wiped clean and into his pajamas when B, the oldest, started to cry---he was quite upset. “What happened? What’s wrong?”
“I peed on myself.”
“I peed on myself.” In B’s goofiness and joy at being free from the car and our arduous journey he’d lost his focus while doing his business.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” Now I had another boy to clean and put in his pajamas. By now all feelings of car sickness had subsided in C and he was back to his joyful self, “I love vacation! When are we going to be there! I can’t wait! I’m never eating McDonalds again. That made me so sick. That is sick food.”
We loaded up, got everyone strapped back in, and handed C our last plastic sack with the expectation that if he felt like throwing up again he really did need to get it in there and not on everything else.
We pulled around the corner and there was the town of Hebo: a much better spot for changing children and stretching legs. I bet there was even a place for a boy to properly use the facilities. Of course we’d be that close to civilization. I laughed again. More giggles.