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Day 5

April 25, 2010

There are a lot of things they never tell you about being a parent.  I think they mostly don’t tell you because until you’ve actually been a parent, you’d not believe it and would be certain that someone is exaggerating.

We’ve lived far from Ohio ever since we’ve had kids.  When the kids were small (and we were much younger) we discovered that the easiest way to deal with trips home was to load everyone in the car in the evening and then drive all night.  The kids would sleep all night and be awake most of the day (save a nap or two, which was normal) and then we’d arrive at either Grandma’s house or Grandpa and Granny’s house in time to get out of the car, blow off some steam, and then go to bed.  The adults would be nearly out of their minds with fatigue (especially me because I’d do the night leg and then the kids wouldn’t let me sleep during the day), but it beat two days of travel and paying for a hotel in between when nobody was going to sleep because of cranky toddlers whose schedules were all off-kilter.

One time we were traveling from Florida to Ohio on one of these overnight marathons.  The littlest Sparkette was a toddler and the Jr. Spark and the older Sparkettes were in elementary school. We’d driven all night and were trudging through the morning when all of a sudden the littlest Sparkette decided to vomit all over herself, the car, her car seat, and her clothing.  Great.  The older kids reacted exactly how you’d think they would react when their little sister begins spewing half-digested breakfast everywhere.

If you’ve ever dealt with a soiled car seat, you know they aren’t exactly easy to clean up.  Those straps don’t clean well, and the car seat cover will absorb all sorts of nastiness.  We pulled off the road in some small town in Tennessee.  I extricated a dripping Sparkette from of her car seat and took her outside and began wiping.   We had clean clothes for her because we were traveling, but the car seat was trashed.  The cover was soaked, the straps were soaked, and the seat itself was…um…well, encrusted.  And the thing stunk to high heavens.

I wiped the Sparkette down as best I could.  I then took her car seat and stripped the cover off, only to discover that the molded plastic seat had a lot of little grooves that wouldn’t wipe clean even though they were visibly full of…well, you know.

Oh…did I mention it was raining?  Not hard, but just enough.

I put the Sparkette back in the van and pulled the  car seat out.  It will forever be etched in my memory…sitting on a curb in the rain outside a Dollar General in Whoknowswhere, TN, scraping puke out of the grooves of a car seat with a toothpick.  It occurred to me at that moment that THIS is one of those things they don’t tell you about parenthood.

I finally got the car seat semi-decent and I then went into the Dollar General and bought two of the cheapest sandpaper towels a person could imagine.  I draped one on the car seat as a makeshift cover, and I tucked the other one around the Sparkette to protect against any subsequent aftershock spewing, and we then drove a little further and found a gas station to finish basic clean up of the offending (and offensive) party, as well as rinse out her clothes and the car seat cover.  I don’t remember if there were any repeat performances that morning.  I probably blocked it all out, to be honest.

We still have those nasty sandpaper towels from the Dollar General, though.  I still use them for nasty jobs.  It’s not like I can ruin them.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 14, 2010 2:53 pm

    I’m not exaggerating when I say I would have bought a new car seat at the closest store I could find.

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