Leo’s been sick since last Friday.
Yes, I feel bad for him and yes I know it’s probably quite confusing being little and sick since illness makes little sense at that age.
But today (Monday) he’s been through 5 changes of clothes, a bath, and both his car seat cover and car seat cover’s cover now is trashed.
Barf has a way of tainting everything it touches much like its companion, poop. Most parents are familiar with poop. In our case Leo’s thrice a day–or more–habit requires just a moment’s cleanup, if we’re fortunate; or typically a juggling act of wipes, legs, buttons and velcro straps; or unfortunate circumstances require a strip, dance, and bathing in the sink.
On one occasion at Red Robin, while waiting for the ferry, Leo’s diaper overflowed out of his pants and on to my clothing, requiring some desperate measures to wash and change Leo, myself, and my shirt simultaneously. People usually don’t bring along a fresh change of clothes, so in my case I had to wear a damp shirt until evening.
But barf, unlike poop, is fairly subtle. With barf, there’s often a significant amount of food particles, but it’s not really those particles that lend it its subtly offensive odor. Subtle, as in, you don’t notice it right away like, say, freshly stepped on dog doo. You don’t realize what it is immediately wrong, as cleaned up barf is invisible. But then there’s a lingering sour and putrid scent, and you understand it after a few moments. Then, bubbling up in your head are those times you threw up too, and maybe start to feel queasy.
Barf and its smell is something fairly rare for most, fortunately. I don’t remember the last time I smelled it. Probably when I threw up most recently, which may have been some years ago, maybe due to food poisoning. (And with food poisoning, the smell of barf is no match for the smell coming out the other end.) Poop you recognize on a daily basis, and for parents it is like a constant experience.
Tonight, Hitomi, Leo, and I went to a local restaurant called U:Don, which serves thick Japanese wheat noodles. Although he threw up twice today, Leo seemed much more spirited and (we hoped) possibly well again. We thought Leo could keep his food down. But there we were at the booth, Hitomi helping Leo with his serving of noodles, then he chokes and something catches and up comes thick white noodles in a different sort of broth. His bib–pink clear plastic with “Pig” in big blue letters–fortunately has a handy fold up trough that caught most of the barf. I dutifully took it off to wash, first in the toilet, and then in the sink, while Hitomi wiped him up a bit and started feeding him again.
More sensible parents might have packed up and left, but Leo was hungry. And yes, I think some unlucky customers could have seen what had transpired, but when you have perseverance a little barf won’t dissuade you from finishing your meal