She Says… Sardines and Vomit

That about sums up my Sunday.

Motherhood, I have learned, is a really good lesson in how to get over your own fears and hangups for the sake of someone else. It doesn’t really matter that I hate killing spiders… I do it anyway. It doesn’t really matter that I didn’t particularly want to get up in the middle of the night several times for several months in a row when I heard that little cry… I did. It doesn’t really matter that sometimes I want to park my butt on the couch and watch “Modern Family” episodes all day… I can’t.

Moms just have to step up to the plate, put their big girl shoes on, and do it.

This weekend I conquered two fears.

Vomit: As a child, I was that kid with the super sensitive gag reflex who would throw up if I saw someone throw up. Or even heard them throw up. Or even heard a sound effect in a movie that possibly sounded like someone throwing up. While my mother held back my sweaty hair and patted my back I remember thinking, “How will I EVER do this for my own child?!”. She always said, “You just will”. And you know what? It’s true. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t struggle not to throw up in this case. I felt that familiar urge, but I had just enough self-control not to blow my “tough mom” cover.

There is only one other time in Owen’s life that I can remember having to deal with vomit. And I mean real, chunky, smelly vomit. That was the time I gave him Poly-vi-sol drops when he was a baby. That was the first day I realized the vast difference between spit up and vomit. It’s never really been an issue, and we’re long past the days of needing a spit up rag, so I left the house on Sunday with a spare diaper, some wipes and a sippy cup of milk. Traveling light, you know? Owen chugged his milk in the car (mistake #1, in hindsight). When we were almost to our friends’ house, I hear him burping in the back seat and he started to fuss. That’s normal — he still HATES his car seat, so there’s always fussing when we’re in the car.

We approached a stop light a little too quickly and Benjamin made an abrupt stop. The motion must have pushed Owen’s little tummy over the edge, because out came all that milk. And the rice chex and peaches he had for a snack. And a lot of other, uhh, chunks I won’t describe. All over his shirt. Right into the crotch of his jeans. Right through the seat cover and into the buckle so that it squished all over the seat.

I climbed into the back seat and started wiping up what I could. But the smell. Oh, the smell! We opened all the windows and I acted like a big girl and wiped it up and kissed his little brow while Benjamin drove on. Yuck. I won’t say it was easy, but I will say that my mom was right. You just do it. It doesn’t really matter how much you hate vomit.

Sardines: On another note, in an effort to get Owen to taste and try tons of different foods, I know it is important to offer him foods that I dislike. You know, not allow myself to put my own food hangups on him. There aren’t very many foods that I dislike; I’m pretty adventurous and I’ll try just about anything. Generally I like it. However, for most of my childhood I HATED fish. The smell, mostly. Fish sticks and tuna fish were just about the most disgusting foods I could think of. Blech. Since then I have grown to LOVE fish (but still not tuna fish!), and often make Owen tilapia or salmon or cod. I have heard how healthy sardines are for you, but just could not make myself buy a can. Disgusting — slimy little fish squished into a can? Maybe it’s because I hate tuna so much, or maybe it’s just a hatred of that fishy smell, but sardines were on my “I’ll never eat” list.

Until yesterday.

In the name of healthy protein and fats, convenience (since they can sit in the pantry, which is really helpful on those crazy weeks when we just haven’t had time to go to the store), and getting over my own crazies, I bought a can of sardines. I peeled back the lid and that same pukey feeling came over me, but I forged ahead. I took out the bones (which grossed me out far more than the smell, if that’s possible) and put a few chunks on Owen’s tray.

You know what? He LOVED them. Gobbled. I’m not gonna lie — I did NOT share in this fishy feast! Baby steps, people. I’m pretty proud of myself for getting it in my shopping cart and opening the can.

What other fears can I conquer?! I’m on a roll!

What “fears” or hangups have you gotten over since having a baby?


10 responses to “She Says… Sardines and Vomit

  1. I remember Lilly throwing up at a grocery store when she was about a year old. It was a fear of mine until it happened. I thought I would be embarassed and grossed out but I wiped her up, wiped the vomit off of myself that had flown several feet in the air to reach me and we moved on. I’m sure we smelled horrible but whatcha goin do??? I am surprised everyday at the things that I do for my girls and don’t think twice. I think they call that a mother’s love.

  2. moms are awesome.

    throwup and sour milk are two smells that i know i will have to work hard to get over when i have babies. sometimes even just the thought of puke makes me feel ill.

  3. Just thinking about sardines skeeves me out. Don’t think I’ll be feeding those to the kid. It’s bad enough to watch her eat an Oreo and I LIKE oreos. Did you know you can shove Oreo creme up your nose and then sneeze it out mixed with snot?

  4. I’m with you on the vomit – I get the dry heaves just from the sound! I definitely earned my “mom card” when Ethan had the stomach flu while I was four months pregnant with my second babe. Morning sickness combined with toddler vomit – not pleasant! And when the toddler vomit ends up all over you because the little man wants to cuddle and doesn’t know to give you a heads up? Yup, you just do it. 🙂

  5. Get Benjamin to tell the story of his most memorable vomiting saga: one Christmas night driving home from a family gathering in zero degree weather. Vomit over new Ewok, himself, and all parts of the back seat. That smell stayed in the car for weeks since everything that we couldn’t clean up froze in all of the crevices over night. A lasting memory!

  6. Kate-
    Thank you for officially grossing me out , LOL!!! I have to be honest, the vomit didn’t really faze me. However sardines??? Bones? slime?? You get major props. Was Benjamin grossed out?
    I hate all fish and the smell of it as well and hmm, looks like i may be passing that one onto my daughter. Oh well!!

  7. Sardines are awesome! I eat them all the time. Try making a little salad out of them with some yogurt or mayo, mustard, salt + pepper and some diced celery and shredded carrot.

  8. Ugh, puking is the worst. Vinegar and oxygen cleaner (I like Crunchy Clean’s) works wonders on the puke smell on the car seat. I HATE cleaning puke out of the car seat. A old toothbrush will help scrub the straps. That’s the hardest to get clean.

    My 2 year old has the uber gag reflex and fits of coughing when she has a cold or some piece of food that remotely makes her gag slightly will cause her to puke. I have cleaned up so much vomit in the last couple of years. But oh, the best is now when we are able to bargain a bit at supper time with foods she won’t eat (even foods she previously liked that the suddenly stopped eating at 18 months). But, if she really doesn’t want to eat it (broccoli) she can and has “let” herself puke. Tonight it was a pink-eyed pea. We told her if she ate a bite of okra and a pea she could have a treat. She ate the okra, then the pea, and gagged/puked with the pea. GROSS.

    I’m with you on the sardines, I like fish and I know sardines and anchovies are good for us, but I can’t make myself eat them, no matter how many times I try.

  9. My first thought was, ‘at least the vomit didn’t come after the sardines!’ Urgh…
    I don’t think I’ve had to deal with actual vomit yet. Touch wood. But I’m also a sympathy spewer, and Devin went through a really long phase of making himself gag – I still don’t know why he did it, but sometimes, oh man… He wasn’t the only one dry heaving.
    Another thing that comes to mind is holding chewed up food in my hand. Like, ‘oh, you’re spitting that out, ok just… just give it to me.’ I still think it’s gross, but like you said – you just do it.
    I have problems with anxiety, and one thing in particular that makes my stomach churn is making phone calls. About anything. Even to people I know. And, having a kid means making lots of phone calls, either for appointments or for making enquiries about activities… Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten over the fear. It still sucks. 😦 Also socialising with strangers at playgrounds – I don’t like it, but I do it for him.

  10. I’ve had a can of sardines in my pantry for about a year now. I’ve been too scared to open them. Maybe I’ll try them this week…
    Right now, I’m ok with vomit, but I really haven’t had to deal with it yet…

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