The Sadder-But-Wiser Car Seat for Me

>> Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Well, that didn’t take long.

It has been 4 months since either of the girls vomited in the car. In that time, we’ve lulled into vomit-free complacency. While we didn’t dare utter these thoughts out loud, we hoped that perhaps the weekly (sometimes twice weekly, sometimes thrice weekly) moments of stripping down and cleaning one of the girls in the closest parking lot were over.

With renewed optimism, my husband came home Sunday afternoon with two shiny new black car seats for our ever-growing girls. They played hide and seek inside the enormous boxes while he assembled and wrestled the seats into the car. On Monday morning, we happily strapped the girls into their “big-girl” seats, and demonstrated their new cup holders and padded headrests.

I can only blame too much homemade lemonade for what happened that afternoon.

10 minutes into the car ride home, Elizabeth complained that she had a tummy ache. She then proceeded to complain that she had a toe ache, a nose ache, and a finger ache, so don’t blame me for not taking her too seriously.

Then I heard that sound -- that wet, water gushing from somewhere, which doesn’t make sense because we’re in a car so it could only mean...vomit! sound.

My heart cried a desperate No! Since I was driving on the freeway, I could only glance back in frequent intervals, creating a road-vomit-road-vomit montage in my brain which I’m sure will give me nightmares someday.

Are you OK, sweetie? I asked, glancing over my shoulder just long enough to see her nod Yes and start again.

Then something unexpected happened. With each additional spew (there were at least four), I felt myself relax a little bit (spew-relax-spew-relax...) A pleasant surrender slowly washed over me. It was over.

I don’t mean that the vomiting was over (although it stopped eventually and Elizabeth felt as good as gold afterwards.) No, I mean the stress of keeping the new car seat clean and pristine was magically and violently washed away with each enthusiastic spew. I no longer have to obsess over every crumb that falls between her legs and the cushions. Who cares if she eats a lollipop in her new seat, anymore? Here, sweetie, have a Jamba Juice!

So I must confess, in a strange way I’m glad it’s over. Until yesterday afternoon, there was nothing but stress in my future. I suppose I should consider myself lucky that I only had to endure the stress of keeping her car seat clean for 16 hours. (Damn, I’m a “half-full” kind of girl.)

Now that the seat has been disassembled, scrubbed and washed (God, all those little crevices), it will never be the same again. It is corrupted -- like the rest of is. My robe, the rug, my shirts, my naked shoulder, and the car seat that came before have all been christened in this personal way. Welcome.

And once again, I have learned that new, breakable, and/or shiny things are intimidating and to be avoided at all costs. I'm learning to love things that have... experience. Mr. Harold Hill (aka The Music Man) once said, “The sadder but wiser girl’s the girl for me...”

Well, Music Man, it’s the sadder by wiser car seat for me.

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