Our second road trip with L was to Tempe, Arizona to visit B’s cousin and her boyfriend. This was in the beginning of August (he was 4 month old), a terrible time to go to Arizona, but I had a week of “baby bonding” at that time and thought why not.
Our first road trip was smooth sailing. We fed him on our way out the door and he slept the entire 2-hour drive to Palm Springs. We didn’t think this one would be as smooth; he was a month older and sleeping a little less. But honestly, we never expected the drama that ensued. WHO WOULD?!
Let me set the scene. We have a hatchback car. We had suitcases, baby gear, and dog gear in the trunk. The baby was in the middle of the backseat and the dogs were next to him behind the driver’s seat. I was in the passenger seat and B was driving. We knew I wasn’t going to be able to spend the entire trip in the front, but we needed to stop for food/gas, so the plan was for me get back there then.
We had left our apartment Friday around 4:30pm, which really was already off to a terrible start because we were getting going in the middle of Friday traffic. Because of this, the GPS app took us down some back roads. We’re still on one of these back roads, still in San Diego County, less than an hour into our 5-and-a-half-hour drive, when I ask B “what is that smell?”
(I promise, you haven’t figured it out already.)
I look in the backseat-nothing. I look specifically at the dogs and neither of them look suspicious.
B: “It smells like McDonald’s”
Me: What?! Nah, it smells like dog food.”
Again, I look at the dogs and on the floor in front of them. I can’t see directly behind me, but they would’ve had to jump over the car seat to get there, something B would have seen. We also have a mirror in the back so we can see the baby. So, when B asks if she needs to pull over, I told her no. I could see the dogs and nothing seemed off at all. Then, I randomly added “dude, what if they puked and ate it?”
A few more minutes go by,
Me: But why is that smell still in here??!!
B: What if it’s on the baby?
Now, let me pause this story for a quick second at this point. The baby has been WIDE awake this entire time and is just silently riding along. Also, my wife has a habit of thinking of the worst outcomes and panicking about them. So, I was thinking, no way it’s on the baby, but since I knew once this little idea got in her head, it wasn’t going anywhere, I unbuckle my seat belt and look into the car seat.
Me: (calmly) “Pull over”
Me: (again calmly as I’m turning to sit back in my seat) “Pull over right now”
Me: (calm still) “It’s on the baby.”
B: “WHAAAT??!! I can’t pull over here”
She wanted to wait until we got to an exit so we weren’t pulled over on the side of the road, but I was like, no girl, pull this car tf over. Haha!! When I got out, it was much worse then I had even realized. The dog (we strongly suspect it was Leo!) had puked all along the right side of the baby and the inside of the car seat. I got his hand…yes, IT WAS ON HIS HAND!!…wiped off and got some of it off his arm but roadside wasn’t going to cut it, so I told her we need to stop at a bathroom.
We pulled into a Carl’s Jr. I took the baby as she tackled the car seat. Now, as I mentioned, his entire right side was covered in stank dog puke, and I didn’t want it on me, so I was holding him funny. I got inside and in the tiny space between the two bathroom, this guy was like, “Oh, I can tell he eats good,” and…ya’ll it happen so fast…. he touched L. Right on his leg where the dog puke was. I thought about telling him, especially before he got to his food, but really STOP TOUCHING PEOPLE’S BABIES! I kept walking and hoped maybe he’d made contact with a clear spot.
When I finally got in the bathroom, there was NO CHANGING TABLE. There wasn’t even a counter. There’s just a tiny sink with two hot and cold water nobs. So, I there I was, holding L with one hand, at a distance, and trying to take off this pukey romper with the other, all the while trying to make sure I don’t get it everywhere. Then, I started washing him up in the sink with soap and water as best as I could.
I took him out to the dining area to finish…in a fuck-ya’ll-cause-ya’ll-really-need-to-have-a-changing-table-up-in-here moment. I laid down the changing pad in a booth, put him on it, changed his diaper, and put on his change of clothes (always pack extra clothes in the diaper bag!!). Nobody batted an eye.
This entire time, ya’ll, Baby didn’t make a peep. He didn’t whimper, cry, scream, nothing. He was just like, oh this is normal shit, I’m always getting puked on and having to get washed off in a public bathroom. We are SO lucky that he didn’t put that puke-covered hand in his mouth or that we didn’t have to also have a screaming baby while we were trying to deal with all of this.
Back outside, B could only do so much with the car seat and we ended up smelling the residual odor of dog puke the rest of the ride, until we threw the lining in her cousin’s washer. The dogs were moved up to the front and I sat in the back and picked out fun podcasts for the rest of the drive.
Leo eventually made amends with L.