Tuesday, November 18, 2008

i don't give advice so much as throw it at you and hope it sticks

My cousin Hannah, her husband Jarred, and their wee baby Noah get to come to Montana for Thanksgiving! Hurray! They are going to Billings, not Bozeman, and I have no plans (yet) to be in Billings myself. Boo!

Still, it's exciting that they are closer than Seattle, I guess. I'll take what I can get. She expressed some concern about not knowing what to pack for the first plane trip with a two-month-old and was asking (probably) rhetorical questions about what to do. I jumped right in - are you surprised? - and my first tidbit of wisdom was to bring a change of clothing for herself and her son on the flight. She'd probably only need a spare top, but might toss in a spare pair of pants too, just for good measure. See, I learned this one the hard way...

Blake was four months old, and we'd been invited to come along with my friend Molly's folks to her graduation from seminary. In Philadelphia. I was a little nervous, but decided that with the help of J. and K., I could handle a plane ride. Well, the trip out was fine (at least, I have no memory of it, which is a good sign - J. or K. might disagree, but this isn't their story!). Thing is, K. was going to drive with Molly all the way back to Montana, so J. and I got to fly back together. With a four-month-old. That I was still nursing. Oh yeah, and J. is Molly's dad.


Close seats, but J. was sleeping during Blake's first meal, so no worries. I was all proud of being self-sufficient and private, despite being on a freaking airplane. I went to burp little man B, who had gastroesophageal reflux for the first, oh, eleven years of his life. I might be exaggerating, but when your baby spits up one-third to one-half of every liquid feeding, it doesn't seem like they'll ever outgrow it, or like you'll ever smell like anything other than sour milk. GER is like acid reflux in adults, and where adults can usually keep their food down, the sphincter on babies' esophagus isn't well-developed... but their stomach muscles are.

I learned to burp my kid while on a linoleum floor, standing very straight and/or leaning back a little. It made the mess easier to clean up and rarely required a fresh shirt on me.

So, I was in the midst of burping Blake, and he proceeded to spit up all over me, but mostly all over my burp rag. Success! Of course, he got it in my metal watch band and wedding/engagement rings, but those things will wash... so far, so good! He was still young enough to be a lap child, so I sat him on my lap, facing the very exciting seat in front of us. Most babies tend to poo immediately after getting a full tummy, and my child did not disappoint. He ripped a big one, and I was glad that our positioning muffled the sound a bit, right up until I felt dampness on my shirt.

I leaned him forward and was horrified to see the yellow stain of a breast-fed baby poop smearing up the back of his onesie. I'm not kidding, it was halfway up his back (liquid diet = mostly liquid poop). Oh yeah, and it had transferred onto my shirt.

I apologized to J., who may have been awake by now, but I don't recall, and got out into the aisle, firmly holding my son against my front. No WAY was I going to show off THAT mess. Everyone facing us smiled and cooed (Molly was actually taken aback by how many people stopped me on the street in Philly to remark on my beautiful baby), as I made my way to the tiny plane bathroom in despair. I didn't know how I was going to clean this up with no counter space, but I at least needed to cry in privacy if I was going to be covered in barf and shit.

Once in the bathroom, wonder of wonders: the whole back wall folded down into a changing station. It was gloriously big. I got him cleaned up and in fresh clothes (the offending clothes in a plastic bag carried for just such an occasion), then tackled myself. Stripping off the tank top, I praised God for having a zip-up hoody with me, then wiped myself off and just zipped up. Having created a shiny clean family and feeling more human, I decided that I was going to be VERY amazing. Rather than walk Blake all the way up to J. for holding so I could use the facilities, I figured I would just balance him over my knees and do what I needed to do, then put him back on the changing table/wall while I washed my hands.

Proud as punch and grateful for generally being over-prepared, I was peacefully balancing and practically patting myself on the back, when I felt something wet on my legs. Blake was spitting up IN MY PANTS.

Motherhood is so glamorous.

That beautiful baby (Molly has one of him in his banana hat - which I think is what got us stopped - and I can't find a digital copy to save my life):


Anonymous said...

God has graciously allowed me to forget the entire trip back! jgr

Emily Nichols said...

Ha!! What a great story Addie! Hi J!

Joy Joy said...

That is hilarious!! (and I'm terrified!)

Anonymous said...

You can't leave us hanging! Did you have another pair of pants??

Addie said...

No. No, I did not.

I cried, then laughed immediately, wiped out my pants (thanked God they were black), and showered upon getting home.

Anonymous said...

even thought you just told me this story, I had to read it all again. You've got a captivating way with words. I love it

Dave and Kasey said...

I'm glad I checked your blog today. I needed to laugh! I remember Kale exploding all over me at the worst imaginable times. often. He had the same issues of launching a good portion of each meal.