Thursday, May 14, 2015

They Had to Close the Pool

Freddie is a barfer.  He’s ten months old and still eating pureed food because if he has anything chunky or dry, his gag reflex kicks in and he chokes.  And if he chokes?  He vomits up EVERYTHING in his stomach.


When we’re feeling rushed for time, we stick to yogurt and refried beans and fruit/veggie purees because the last thing we need when we’re all trying to get out the door to work and school is an immediate hose-down of the baby, high chair, table, floor, and sometimes the dog.  We’re a bit more “adventurous” at dinner, always trying to give him Cheerios or teeny, tiny bits of pancake or strawberry or whatever we’re eating.  The result is that Freddie forcibly ejects his stomach contents (usually plenty of breastmilk along with whatever we were feeding him) nearly every night. 


That’s what the high chair tray is designed for, right?  A puke-catcher?


We have huge bibs made out of tea towels to hopefully save most of Freddie’s clothing and we’re pretty quick on the draw with nearby napkins.  The dog, disgustingly, makes it a point to be on hand for vomit patrol.


We’ve learned this: the grossest-smelling vomit is plain Greek yogurt vomit.  The best is blueberry-banana oatmeal vomit.  We like to think of ourselves as “lifelong learners.”


Jamie was the same way, vomiting every night at dinner after choking (he wasn’t allowed to have tortilla chips until he was at least two years old for this reason), so I don’t worry about Freddie and his overall development – it will fix itself in time.  However, I am haunted by a time when Jamie’s barfing was more dramatic than usual.


He was young, a bit over one year old maybe, and we decided to go to family swim at the YMCA on Friday evening, after dinner.  We ate, loaded up our swim stuff and headed over.  Jamie had been going to Baby Swim for several months, so he was totally used to the water.  I carried him in and we played and splashed and moved around while Charles and Tony swam nearby. 


And then Jamie got some water in his mouth.  He started to sputter.  I turned him toward me as he started to cough and choke.  You can see what’s coming here, can’t you?


He vomited all over me, right down my front, into the chest of my swimsuit (I was still nursing, so there was some significant cleavage to fill with barf).  It just kept coming and coming and coming.  So much vomit.  All the tiny chunks of food from dinner.  I just held him, a stunned look on my face as the slick of puke spread out over the water around us.  I looked up at the teenage lifeguards, eyes wide, and said, “Oh. My. God.  I am so sorry.”  We got out of the pool and the lifeguards began their “hazardous waste” cleanup protocol.


As we were showering off in the family locker room, Tony helping me to pick the chunks of partially-digested food out of my swimsuit, we had to humbly inform the family that just got there that they wouldn’t be able to swim; the pool was closed for the night.


Since that day, my goal with any swimming outing is “no one barfs.”  We aim high, you know?  We’re going swimming tonight, so cross your fingers for us – we don’t really want Freddie to follow in Jamie’s footsteps on this one.

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