I have to thank our neighbor for coining the term "rolling vomitorium." This is what our minvan (a.k.a. "Swagger Wagon") turned into last Friday afternoon as we traveled to Long Island to spend the weekend with my aunt.
We got off to a pretty good start. We were able to leave work a few hours early and had the car packed and ready to roll at 3:00. By the time we cruised around town borrowing pack & plays, gassing up and stopping for iced coffee, it was closer to 3:30 by the time we actually left. About two minutes later, the skies opened up, the thunder boomed and the lightening started a stellar performance that would last for hours. As the weather roared outside, the kids roared inside. "I want a snack! I want a drink! Can we watch a movie? He's kicking me! She pinched me! Why can't I have a snack? How long does it take to get there?!" Mind you, this all erupted before we even hit the highway so I should have known it was going to be a long trip.
Our first snafu? A certain young man who obviously disregarded his mother's strong urging to pee before we left the house. As we crawled along in the Friday traffic, slowly navigating the flooded roads, poor Liam started squirming in the third row... "I REALLY have to go!" he pleaded with such urgency there were tears in his eyes. Unfortunately, we were on a highway with no rest stops and not even a shoulder to safely and sneakily pee upon. Additionally, he was so crammed in the back that exiting the car required climbing over one pack & play, one large dog and his sister. Since it seemed to be a legitimate emergency and the notion of spending the next few hours in a car full of urine was unappealing, we risked life and limb to let the little man out to relieve himself. We got back in the car soaked by the rain but, figured it beat being soaked in pee and away we went!
Shortly thereafter, the fun really started. Declan was sitting behind the driver's seat in the car seat previously known as the "Barf Chair." We'd gone through a period last summer when whatever kid sat there inevitably hurled. We thought we'd fixed that problem by adjusting the seat. We thought wrong. "I'm not feeling very well," Declan announced in a matter of fact manner. Then his sweet face turned from rosy pink to ghostly white to a frightening shade of grey/green. Then he threw up what appeared to be about ten pounds of watermelon. Pink fruit-strewn stinky barf was all over him, all over that car seat and, ready for this? All over our DOG! Poor Finnegan gave me a look as if to say "Really? First you jam me in this car between kids and pack & plays and bags and now this?!"
Our next move was pulling over for the second time to strip Declan down, clean out the seat and do our best to remove the watermelon chunks from Finny's fur. This was no easy task on the side of the LIE with the rain pouring down and the lightening continuing its show -- especially since when I opened the trunk, I was nearly killed by the bags that tumbled out, bouncing off my head on the way to the ground. Not good. On the upside though, we were prepared -- a quick change of clothes, a swift cleansing with wipes and a hearty dose of Purell and we were on our way once more.
Until he threw up again. On Finny. Again. This time we had the good fortune to pull over under a bridge so at least we weren't pummeled by the rain as we stripped the kid down. This time I could feel the eyes of onlookers as they crawled by in the miserable rush hour traffic. I suspect the other Swagger Wagon drivers understood; they had a sense of "been there, done that." The swank sports cars seemed to scoff, as if to suggest "I would never allow that to happen is this sleek performance machine!" And then there were the sympathetic old folks in oversized sedans, one of whom actually pulled over to say "is everything ok? I saw the naked baby on the side of the road and was worried." Well, kind sir, thank you. To tell you the truth, we were worried too but, once again, all's well that ends well.
We put Declan in his PJs, put on a movie, passed out some pretzels and continued on our journey. As the kids laughed at something clever from the Clifford video, Des and I laughed in the front seat... we knew we had hours to go, the car smelled like puke and the dog looked like hell but really, what else could we do? Our traveling family circus keeps us entertained in all kinds of weather and when we woke up to a blue sky and bright sun the next morning, we knew it was well worth the trip. Even if it was the trip from hell!