For starters, I had a great trip to LA with Aspen. We met up with the lovely, hilarious, and cute as cake twinsies, Ms Mila and Emma Stauffer, who are famous for their knee-slapping videos. And we played inside a lot because it rained the whole time we were in (usually) sunny LA. Oh yea, and this happened:
I had a brunch meeting in West Hollywood with a business partner I had never met in person before. Prior to leaving Aspen had some milk and a beet and berry packet (they’re like baby food smoothies). We then drove 30 minutes in surprisingly mild LA traffic to meet her. During the ride Aspen kind of watched her Ipad but mostly watched the cars and looked at a baby picture book.
I valet the rental and walk hand in hand with Aspen into Cecconi’s, the most beautiful, non-kid-friendly brunch place you could imagine. “Oh well,” I think, “We’re doing this.” My partner is sitting at a table in the far corner and we walk over to her. She stands to greet us but Aspen is whining (very unlike her). I tell her to use her manners and say hello, and oh boy, did she.
Aspen vomits. Full-blown-projectile-entire-contents-of-her-stomach vomit. A lovely shade of deep and stainable pink that will forever induce a wretching response from me.
And then she vomits again. And again. And again. And each back-to-back time produces a volume I didn’t think was possible from this child even ONE time. And it happened at least six times.
Amidst my terror, shock, and deep sympathy for my child I beg to be told where the restroom is located. As I carry her in front of me with finely pressed white linen napkins attempting to catch the contents of her stomach and then some, she continues to empty her abdomen THE. ENTIRE. WAY. TO. THE. BATHROOM.
The bathroom is beautiful with dimly lit lighting and cloth napkins to wipe your hands. I hurl her in front of a toilet, just missing one more vomit sesh, when she turns to me with her bright pink stained face and says, “All done.”
Her sweet white cardigan is toast. Off to the trash it goes. Her cute white converse are now pink converse. Her dress has to be taken off (which I attempted to spot clean with the white hand towels). Her tights are speckled with “the evidence”. Her face and hair look like she has dived head-first into a mud puddle, except not a mud puddle at all but a pink vomit bathtub.
My white cashmere sweater is now tie-dyed pink. My black jeans are doing their best to disguise “the evidence” but inevitably it dries and doesn’t look so inconspicuous after all. My Chanel boots are covered.
We clean up and march back out to the restaurant while profusely apologizing to everyone I pass. (Side note: Despite this being the first time Aspen has EVER vomited she is completely fine and asking for food. Hm, wonder why.)
We have a new table! Not only that, but the entire section of the restaurant where the scene of horror had occurred only moments before had been cleared out; obviously due to sanitation hazards and the offensive odor that I’m sure had permanently penetrated the flooring and ceiling.
Ever the persevering businesswoman I am, we commenced and then wrapped up the meeting but not before Aspen spilled two glasses of water. We parted ways without touching (aka transferring bacteria) but with having created one deep and unforgettable memory for us and everyone at the restaurant.
Did you guys think that was bad? Oh, it’s not over yet!
Then this happened:
The next day we drove to LAX to catch our flight back home to St Louis. I must say I was quite pleased with myself for juggling four large suitcases, two carry-ons, a rental car, and a 2 year old without a stroller and making it to the gate with time to spare and zero anxiety. “I deserve this break after my horrible, terrible, very bad day yesterday.” I tell myself.
The Southwest attendant announces it’s time to board. So Aspen and I pick up our area. (She had built a “fort” between two seats and was putting her baby doll to bed while reading several books and neglecting her Ipad, but all of these items were scattered.) As the passengers board I smell poop.
“Damnit! I thought I avoided this when she pooped this morning before we left!” I think. And I AM NOT changing her on the plane if I can help it. I pick her up by one arm and run to the nearest family restroom. A woman who did not need the f-ing family restroom saunters in right before me. So I run into the regular restroom. A baby is sprawled out mid-change. So back to the family restroom we go, I knock, knowing someone is in there. “I’m in here!” She responds. Yeah, I know, bish, hurry the f up because I know you don’t need it. “Oh, sorry!” I say and then very loudly next to the door say things like, “I know honey, be patient!” and “We are boarding but we need to wait!” and things like that. When a couple minutes later she opens the door and says, “It’s going to be a while.” (I steal a quick glance inside to see her suitcase opened, I think she was taking a shower in the sink, swear to god.) I think the fire started coming out of my ears.
I pick up Aspen again by one arm and run down the airport to find another bathroom. There’s a line at the family restroom. I run into the women’s bathroom and two women are doing their makeup at the changing table. “Sorry but I need this NOW!” and they fretfully oblige to the crazy woman who carries her kid by one arm as the kid whimpers audibly. “None of us want to be here Aspen but do you see me whimpering about it?” I don’t say to her.
It’s diarrhea. Lovely. It’s beyond disgusting and so is the changing table she’s on that I haven’t sanitized or put any barrier between it or my daughter. All my good mom skills from the morning are out the window in times of crisis, clearly.
“I should pee really quick since I’m in here.” I think. So I go in a stall, (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT UP NEXT) and when I wipe I’m terrified to find that someone has been murdered in my toilet. Ok, not really, but that’s what it looked like. Well, what a time to show up, Aunt Flo!
“DOES ANYONE HAVE A TAMPON!!??” I scream as the fire is blasting from my ears. Nope. I halfway pull up my jeans and don’t bother with the fly or button (efficiency, people! Time is of the essence!) and find a little tampon machine in the bathroom so I desperately search for a quarter when an angel appears and hands me a tampon. I do my business after I shuffle Aspen and my luggage into the stall for the second time in 30 seconds and do my thing. Aspen insists upon washing her hands so I slap my clean but undried hands on hers before I pick her up by one arm and run back through LAX to my gate. Aspen is pissed she didn’t get to wash her hands so she’s throwing a fit (or am I just hurting her? Whatever, we don’t have time for this.) when I hear over the loudspeaker “ASPEN EDMONDS (why did they say her name and not mine? Is it because they know she’s running the show?) PARTY OF TWO THIS IS YOUR FINAL BOARDING CALL!!” The whole thing is a reenactment out of the climactic airport scene in “Home Alone” and we nailed it.
We made it on the plane, back row. But she went poop again and I had to change her in the plane. Diarrhea. This time it got on her jeans so the occasional whiff I got for 2 and a half hours kept me on my toes because I never knew when it would hit. Or maybe it was just vomit residue on some hidden part of her body from yesterday. Anybody’s guess to be honest.
Anyway, for those of you who are still with me after this very long and detailed disgusting horror story, the moral is that we made it home alive. And that’s the only moral because it was borderline traumatic for me and I’m still processing. Maybe one day I’ll laugh about it… after I finish this laundry.