We learned something new about Owen on our trip this weekend:
He gets car sick.
Now THAT was a lesson I could have lived without.
I have written before about how Owen hates his carseat. Ever since he was teeny tiny, he would fuss and fuss whenever we put him in the car. He rarely slept in the car (though now he has figured out how to do that, thankfully!). He is cool as a cucumber in a carrier, stroller, walking or in my arms, but the car just makes him frustrated. Now that I’ve seen the evidence of his motion sickness, I think I understand.
Here’s how it went down. Our plan to exhaust Owen with a morning of playing at the kiddie gym was a success. I stayed home and packed up the car and the food and all of the last-minute stuff while Owen and Benjamin played. We had a nice lunch and then hopped in the car for our 3.5-4 hour drive up North. That was where the success stopped, unfortunately. Instead of just shutting his tired little eyes, Owen expressed his dissatisfaction with our decision to have him nap in the car. He cried and cried. I crawled into the back seat (WITH the gigantic labradoodle AND the carseat) and shhhed him and cuddled him as best I could in his carseat. Finally I laid my head in his lap and he tucked his little arms around my neck and fell asleep. Once he was out, I slowly moved my head out of his lap, tucked a blanket around him and climbed back up front.
About 1.5 hours later we needed gas and a pee break (damn those Dunkin Donuts coffees we got when we started!). We were trying to go as long as we could without stopping to keep the nap going, but the gas tank won out. We stopped. Got gas in the middle of nowhere and let Owen run around the gas station parking lot. We peed in a port-a-potty. Hopped back in the car and immediately Owen needed something to keep him occupied. Normally it would be milk time since he got up from his nap (even though his naps are usually longer), so I gave him a sippy of milk (in hindsight, of course, NOT the best idea!).
When he got fussy I hopped in the back again. We sang, we played hand games, we chatted and made faces at each other. We sang some more, played with Schnitzel’s nose, read a book and sang some more. He was doing fine! We were actually having fun!
Cue the twisty turn-y mountain road. We looked at the (unbelievably gorgeous) foliage and talked about the leaves. Owen started fussing. No amount of silly games or singing would make him stop. His face changed. He started burping and then crying. I knew something wasn’t right, but I didn’t put two and two together until the puking started.
And once it started, it just didn’t stop.
He puked. Instinctively I stuck my hand out to catch it (WHY is that my instinct?!) while simultaneously turning my face away so that I didn’t puke too. “Daddy, open the windows!”. I patted Owen’s hair as we drove, and the puking just didn’t stop.
I have never. In my life. EVER. Seen anyone puke this much. It just kept coming. I found a towel on the floor and started putting it over the puke so Owen (and I) would have to smell it/see it. Every time he puked again, I folded the towel over and covered it up. We had a carseat filled with a puke-and-towel layer cake.
Benjamin and I shouted to each other over the sound of the open windows:
ME: What should we do? Stop the car?
BENJAMIN: We can’t stop the car… there’s nowhere to stop. And nothing here but trees!
ME: And if we stop the car, what are we going to do about the carseat? It’s FULL of puke! Just DRIVE.
We decided to get where we were going as fast as possible. We were probably about 45 minutes away. 45 minutes of Owen wedged in a puke-filled carseat and Mama holding back his hair.
Poor, poor baby.
Once we got there we pulled the whole carseat out of the car. It was like a bomb ready to explode as soon as we pulled out
the pin Owen. We extricated the baby (puke and all) and took him straight to the bathtub. I cleaned up Owen and Benjamin handled the carseat.
I would say one of us got the better deal in that scenario. It was me.
We left the windows open all weekend, but the smell of puke-slash-Fantastik was nauseating.
On the way home we were prepared. We nixed the milk in the car (can you imagine how much sicker you would feel with a stomach full of dairy ON TOP of being motion sick? Eww.). We had a full tank of gas and tried to extend the nap as much as possible. We had trash bags and a clean towel at the ready. Instead of continuous snacks we munched on some dry crackers. I was on the lookout for the burping and “puke face”. Now I know what Owen’s “puke face” looks like.
And do you know what? We needed all of that prep. Because it happened again on the way home. About a mile from our house when I thought we were in the clear. We turned a few sharp corners and hit the brakes and – BAM! – puke. It’s quite clear that the sickness is caused by windy turns and hitting the brakes simultaneously.
Benjamin’s mom commiserated. Apparently Benjamin had a knack for being a car puker when he was little too. The next time we have a long drive we will do many things differently (like stopping and breaking up the trip BEFORE the puking starts).
Have you ever dealt with carsickness? What do you do about it?
P.S. Lovely pictures from our picturesque hike and weekend in the mountains are to come. Had to get the puke story out first.