So…I wrote an article on Ain’t No Mom Jeans about flying alone with kids. And I got a ton of really nice comments. So many nice comments, in fact, that I was actually starting to feel a teensy bit…smug? Like I had it all Figured Out. Like I was some kind of guru, you know? A travel expert.
Sigh. I mean really. For shame. I should know better by now. Feeling smug simply means that I’ll be blindsided by the smack-down. WHAPWHAPWHAP.
So I flew, last Saturday. Alone, with the kiddos in tow. And due to the popularity of my article, I was feeling preeeeety good about this trip. And, per my exacting instructions in the article, we were on the 6AM flight. We have a, two-flight trip: 2ish hours to Chicago, then a fast flight to Green Bay. Easy.
About 20 minutes into take off, Pax started to get fussy. Poor guy woke up at 4:30 AM and isn’t quite the roll-with-the-punches guy that R is. So I pull Pax up to my shoulder, and rub his back. ”Close eyes, Baby Boy” I coo. ”You are just a seepy little guy.” Pax snuggles his face into my neck. I smile, smugly (see? Bad form! Bad form!), and settle in.
Pax rests. For about a minute. Then….
“Whoa,” I think. ”It sounds like Pax just threw up? But no. That can’t be–”
Then I feel it: Great, big, warm chunks of vomit….soaking my back.
Shocked, I pull Pax away and look at him, “Buddy! Are you OK?” Pax answers by throwing up in my lap. I still had the Ergo clipped around my waist and laying over my legs…mostly saving my jeans. But there’s no getting around it – I was sitting with a pool of vomit in my lap.
But Pax? Wasn’t finished. In desperation, I hold up my one free hand, which he promptly fills with more puke.
Now God knows I’ve been puked on before. A bunch. But never have I been So. Totally. Soaked. with puke. Down my back. Down my front. Pooling in my lap. And filling my hand. I just can’t I don’t even know I just OMG.
“PRESS THE CALL BUTTON!!!” I yell at the guy sitting next to me, who has jumped up in shock. Instead, he runs down the aisle and returns with….ready for this one? TWO KLEENEX. Not two boxes, but two tiiiny, thin pieces of Kleenex.
We stare at each other. Both of my hands are full (one with Pax, one with puke) so I can’t even take them from him. He (sheepishly) lays, very carefully, each of the Kleenex over my puke-covered hand.
I think that’s when I start giggling uncontrollably. I mean OMG…it smelled. So, so bad. It was all I could do from tossing my own cookies. And really? Those two pathetic Kleenex that I couldn’t even use? I didn’t even know where to start. I just stared at the soggy, smelly Kleenex mess in my hand and could feel the puke dripping down my back and down my stomach and UGH!! You know how they say your brain protects you in times of crisis? Yes. That was me. The whole thing was like an out-of-body experience.
The guy next to me finally pressed the call button, the stewardess came by, acted completely horrified and grossed out then offered up a vomit bag.
I stopped laughing.
“Are you kidding me??” I said through gritted teeth. ”GET. ME. A TOWEL…RIGHT NOW! GO! GO!” God help us in a real emergency. Sister was a little slow on the uptake.
But she did return with a few washclothes from first class. I one-armed Pax onto Raines’ lap, and told Raines that he MUST hold onto his brother. It may have been the wild look in my eyes, (or the fact that I was wearing Pax’s entire breakfast, and – uh – dinner) but Raines immediately stopped freaking out about the ONE DROP of puke on his arm, and just held onto Pax.
I then had the new sensation of puke squashing between my fingers as I tried to clean out my puke-filled hand. Oddly, this feeling was the worst part.
Once I had both hands relatively clean…what next? I mean seriously: WHAT THE F*CK NEXT????
If I stood up, the pool of puke in my lap would…what???? What would it do? Slide down my legs? Not good. Get flung into the aisle? Better for me maybe, but these other passengers might actually try to do me harm. I mean…we still have an hour and a half to go! An hour and a half. Not to mention that I have to navigate through Chicago’s airport….then board yet another plane to Green Bay. There’s NO FREAKING WAY I can do this for another five minutes, much less an HOUR AND A HALF.
So I look down at the pool of puke. I don’t have many options. I unclip the Ergo from my waist, and ever-so-carefully roll up most of the pool of puke in the Ergo. I let it drop to the floor. There’s still a small pool of puke clinging to my shirt, and I’ve sort-of scooted down in my seat so I can lean back….preventing it from getting all over my jeans.
But the shirt? It’s gotta go. It’s just…gotta go. Like…now. I take a deep breath, not even bothering to see who is watching. Because, honestly? It doesn’t matter. I start with the bottom hem of my shirt, and roll the puke up in it. Bit-by-bit I roll my shirt up and off and then YES:
I am sitting topless on the plane.
It’s a funny thing, reaching rock-bottom. The place where you have no shame left. Not a shred. Or a shard. Or whatever shame looks like (in my case, a shirt). I’d like to say it was liberating…but I’d be lying. Instead, my breath was coming out in funny gasps, and I was wiping the puke off my skin as fast as I could, as my brain raced, “Scarf! Put on the scarf! I’ll wrap it around me….NO WAIT!!! I DO have a SHIRT!! GET THE SHIRT! FASTFASTFAST PUT SHIRT ON OMG ARM IS TWISTED GET THE F*CKING SHIRT ON SHANA WHY WON’T IT BUTTON OMG???????!!!!!!!!”
Ah. There. That’s better. All better. I am now shirted, and nonchalantly acting like everything is normal. Like my seat-mate wasn’t just sitting next to a crazy topless woman. I glance over at him and smile. His eyes are glued to his magazine. (It happens to be an ad for Depends. Snort. Think he’s reading?)
I pick up Pax, strip him down, grab a new outfit and head for the back of the plane. I just need some air and to change the poor guy’s diaper. Once I’ve returned to my seat, I look down and realize that my shirt is mis-buttoned…by three buttons. And one side of my postpartum-pooch is on full display. Which explains the embarrassed, averted gazes from the passengers in the back. Sigh. I’m not even “one of those mothers” you hear about on the plane. I’m worse. In a class all my own.
Thankfully, the rest of the flights were fairly uneventful. As long as you count turbulence so bad from Chicago-to-Green Bay that Raines was shouting, “WHOO HOO!!! WHOOO HOOO!!” as uneventful. And after a particularly big drop – BOOM – Raines throws his hands in the air and yells, “BEST! FLIGHT! EVER!!”
Yup. I’ve pretty much been drinking since we landed. Smack-down.