It is not every mom who can smile while reminiscing about her kid’s holiday projectile vomiting. I assure you that during those unfortunately timed episodes, my son Harry’s puke was about as humorous as the green slime Linda Blair spewed into the face of that cute priest in The Exorcist. But in hindsight, chuckling at the Science of Parenthood pie chart above, I can look back at how comical a few holiday barf sessions actually were.
EMERGENCY FLASHERS ON
“Okay, Andy, that’s enough,” I said, watching my adult nephew repeatedly toss nine-month-old Harry into the air above his head for a second before catching him. It was a few days into snowy January 1991. Harry’s dad Ken and I had taken two cars to dinner at his sister Shirley’s in Sussex, Wis., where their sister Gail’s family was spending the night en route to Minneapolis after Christmas in Florida.
I knew Andy was having fun seeing Harry laugh so hard with each release. But it was getting late, and I worried Harry would be too over-stimulated to sleep. I bundled him up in his striped snowsuit, and Ken buckled him into the car seat. The heater in my car hadn’t even warmed up before Harry started to cry uncontrollably. I turned on the overhead light only to see him squirming and screaming in the rear view mirror. With a 40-minute drive ahead of us, I decided to pull over onto the shoulder of the freeway.
I put on my emergency flashers and pulled Harry out of the back seat. Wearing the blue fur coat I was sure my mother would have wanted me to buy with the money she left me, Harry started to upchuck. I quickly turned thrust out my arms, turned him over onto a gloved palm and let him empty his liquid mess onto the side of the highway, while I silently cursed Andy. Back in the car, contented Harry fell asleep. And I drove home both splatter free, quite pleased I had nothing to clean up.
NOT ON MY BLANKET
“Harry wants to kiss you goodnight,” Ken said. It was Christmas 1995, and Ken’s sisters and I were finishing up kitchen duty. Harry was sitting on his top bunk when I crossed the threshold.
“I threw up,” he said. “But not on my blanket.”
I didn’t move. If Harry hadn’t puked in his bed, where was it? My eyes darted to the periwinkle blue carpeting that now looked like a Jackson Pollack drip painting. Holy crap.
“Are you okay, Honey?” I asked, overwhelmed by the stench and the urge to hurl myself.
“Yeah, I feel fine,” he said, cheerfully. “Isn’t it good that I didn’t get any on my bed?”
I was sure Harry remembered that the last time he barfed in bed I’d had to take all of covers down to the basement laundry sink. But he was in the bottom bunk then.
“Yes, Thank you for being so considerate. But you know what? Now that you’re sleeping in the top bunk, it’s okay to throw up on your blanket.”
For these looks back, I have only Norine Sworkin-McDaniel and Jessica Ziegler to thank. Or blame. In their hilarious new book, Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations, the writer-illustrator duo uses fake math and snarky science to examine the follies and frustrations of modern parenting. The book drills deep into the core sciences—biology (my fave section), chemistry, physics and mathematics—to provide tongue-in-cheek “explanations” for the ridiculous situations otherwise capable adults find themselves in as a result of birthing and caring for tiny humans.
Blending their Science of Parenthood blog wit and brightly colored cartoons with flow charts, infographics and the kind of higher math typically seen only on physicists’ whiteboards, Science of Parenthood answers such mystifying questions as:
* Why do children grow up so fast, yet Candy Land drags on so s-l-o-w-l-y?
* Why must children sleep perpendicular to any adult lying down with them?
* Seriously, how is it possible for one kid to lose so many thermoses?
I can recommend Science of Parenthood as required reading for any parent who has despaired of ever showering, sleeping or excavating their living room from layers of primary-colored plastic toys again.
As for me, mom of a grown-up kid, instead of stressing over a Hanukkah gift that UPS has yet to deliver for Harry or the blown fuse on a string Christmas tree lights, I just turn to a random page in Science of Parenthood for the chemical reaction of laughter.
Anyone who thinks science is trying to make human life easier or more pleasant is utterly mistaken. ~Albert Einstein
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