Weekly Column: Barf, Smelly Barf

©2009, Stephenie B. Freeman

I’m not sure who I have to thank. Probably some character on Cartoon Network. I really don’t know where the Cheese learned it, but it was probably only a matter of time before the word “barf” entered his vocabulary.

I should have known that I was in trouble when the Cheese, sporting a Cheshire cat grin the size of Texas, asked me what the word “barf” meant. After I gave him the briefest of explanations, he walked away rubbing his hands together like an evil scientist, giggling like he had just discovered the secret ingredient that would complete his wicked scheme.

His wicked scheme apparently has something to do with seeing how many times he can say the word out loud.

“Green beans make me barf.”

“Remember that time I barfed all over my bed?”

“Mom, have you ever barfed before?”

This morning, 30 miles away from home on the highway, heading to the city for a fun day out, the Cheese hit the jackpot when his little brother ended up getting carsick…yet again.

I’m not sure what made me look in the rearview mirror. Maybe it was motherly instinct. Maybe it was because there was complete silence coming from the backseat. Whatever the reason, in the mirror I could see the Monkey, pale as a ghost, holding his hand over his mouth.

“You okay, Buddy?” I asked him.

And just as he finished saying, “I don’t wanna throw up” he proceeded to puke down the front of his shirt and into his lap three times in a row.

I went into Mama Mode. Managing vomit control while doing 75 miles per hour on the highway requires a steady hand and a quick mind. Gotta head home. Need to find an exit and make a quick turn-around. Fresh air. Need lots of fresh air in the car. Reassure the puke covered preschooler that everything is okay and pray that any possible sympathy vomiting from the backseat is held at bay.

I had no towel to clean up the mess. There was no change of clothes hidden in the glove compartment box. We were all going to have to suck it up, hold our noses, and pray that the next 20 minutes were some of the fastest of our lives. The Cheese, however, seemed delighted. This meant that he was going to be able to use his new vocabulary word over and over and over again.

“The barf is so gross Mom!”

“I know, sweetie.”

“He barfed. He really did.”

“Yes, honey. I am fully aware.”

“Look! He’s barfing some more! Mom! It stinks! The barf really stinks!”

The Cheese continued. I had to tune him out, giving my full attention on how to do a 180 degree turn in the middle of the highway without getting caught, but whatever he was saying I’m sure it was something along the lines of, “Barf, barfed, barfing, barf. Barf, smelly barf!”

Seeing that motion sickness has become such a regular part of our lives (remember the road trip incident?) you would think that I would be more prepared.

I’m not one of those moms.

I’m the mom who heads to the park on a hot summer day and leaves the water bottles sitting on the kitchen counter. I’m the mom who heads to the pool and remembers to bring everything except the sunscreen. I’m the mom who never even carried around a clean change of clothes for her babies until the potty training incident of 2006. (“There’s poop everywhere!”)

But it has become quite clear that carrying around a clean set of clothes for my boys might be a good idea, especially if we ever want to travel on the highway ever again. Maybe I’ll take one of the 2 million tote bags that I have stashed in my closet and fill it full of towels, Wet Wipes, clean underwear, and fresh clothes.

We’ll call it the Barf Bag.

One Comment

  1. Rita Ortloff

    Oh my. I've been there sister!

    And listen, it could be worse… my neighbor's 6 year old used “dammit” last week. She was both horrified, and a bit impressed. As, apparently, the situation totally called for a “dammit”.

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