An Exorcism in Our Minivan

We were driving out-of-town, down a divided highway, to visit Alex’s mom for the weekend with Alex behind the wheel.  I realized that Alex was driving a bit erratically – weaving in and out of traffic, stopping suddenly, and gunning it.  I asked him why he was driving like a madman, and then asked him to stop.  I looked back to check on the kids at the exact same time that Luke started projectile vomiting all over himself, his car seat, and the mini van.  I swear I saw his head spin completely around.  I told Alex to pull over … NOW.  Flustered, he pulled over on the shoulder of the highway.  I told him to keep going until he found somewhere safer.  He went about half a mile up while Luke continued to puke everywhere.  A street came up on the right to turn in.  I told Alex to stop the car. What we didn’t realize was that we were actually pulling into the entrance of a waste management facility.  We didn’t care.  The van reeked of vomit.  Anna was gagging and screaming that Luke was choking (she says that someone is choking when they are vomiting).  Luke was crying.

Alex stopped the car and we both sprung into action.  I opened the back hatch while Alex unhooked Luke and brought him back to me.  I grabbed a bag of wipes and tried to figure out where to start.  He was caked in vomit.  I just kept repeating, ‘oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh’.  I took Luke’s hearing aids out and took his shirt over his head, smearing puke all over his face and hair.  Alex said he looked back and saw strings of puke hanging from Luke’s face.  We were both gagging. While Alex attempted to mop up the puddles of puke from the car seat, I stripped Luke down and gave him a ‘bath’ with baby wipes.  I changed his diaper and decided to put him in the front seat (wearing only a diaper) until Alex was done cleaning his chair.  As I went to the passenger side to open the door, I noticed about 48 mosquitos sitting on the side of the car.  Apparently, we parked in the middle of a swarm of them.  I immediately backtracked.  Luke was only in a diaper – it would have been a skin buffet for those little blood suckers. I swung around to the other side and stashed Luke in the driver’s seat.

Nothing to see here – just up to our elbows in puke and mosquitos at a waste management plant.

Hey Mom, what the hell is going on?

Apparently, mosquitos are smarter than I gave them credit for.  As we were cleaning everything up so we could attempt to get back on the road, those little bastards were making their way to the inside of the van. By the time we were hitting the road with Luke back in his seat, there were about 27 mosquitos that had taken up residence inside our van.  We spent the next 90 miles swatting mosquitos and trying to ignore the lingering puke smell.  I made it my personal mission to murder any mosquito that came anywhere within arms length of me.  My efforts inspired Alex to start singing ‘Danger Zone’.  Luke slept through it all.  Apparently being exorcised is an exhausting experience.

The Power of Christ compels you!

Nothing Says ‘Happy Birthday’ Like a Pile of Puke

One of Anna’s little friends, Bella, had a birthday party last weekend.  The party was at Grandma’s Cookies on Main Street in St. Charles.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing one of their cookies, allow me to fill you in.  Grandma’s Cookies was established in the 70’s.  They’ve been cranking out some of the best cookies you can get your mouth on ever since.  What makes the cookies so good?  I have no idea.  But, they use ice cream scoops to ball the dough before baking.  Imagine getting an ice cream scoop of perfectly delicious cookie fresh out of the oven.  They are good enough to kill for.  Not that I have, but I would consider it.

Anyway, Grandma’s Cookies hosts small parties.  What better way to celebrate a birthday, than to bake some yummy cookies?  Bella’s mom was a rock star and made little chefs hats and aprons with each girl’s name on them.  The cuteness level was off the charts.  The best part of everything was that each girl was going to take home a box of cookies as party favors.  I can’t lie, Alex and I were really excited about the cookies.  Anna was so excited about going to the party.  She had been talking about it for days.  Although, she thought it was her party.  Lately, she’s been constantly telling people that it’s her birthday and inviting them to her ‘party’ to eat purple cake.  I had to keep explaining that she had already had her birthday this year and that we were going to celebrate Bella’s birthday.  I think the reality of the situation hit when we got there – she was throwing up some serious attitude.

Eventually, Anna started to ease up and mustered up a slight smile.  The girls ate pizza and sucked down a Capri Sun.  Anna picked at her pizza – not unusual for her at all.  The child eats like a bird. After eating only the pepperoni off the top, she exclaimed that she was done and ready to make cookies.  Anna loves to cook, so the excitement was almost too much!

The tiny chefs made their way into the kitchen to mix up a couple batches of cookie dough.  I attempted to watch so I could try to replicate the magic at home.  No such luck.  The girls took turns measuring out ingredients and adding them to the bowl.  Anna even got to turn on ‘Betty’, their industrial-size stand mixer.  The girls were all in Heaven!

Once the dough was ready, the girls were brought back to the tables so they could roll it into balls and decorate with sugar crystals (hot pink, of course).  Anna helped with a few cookies and then spent the rest of the time eating the sugar crystals.  I noticed that she was getting a little fussy, but really didn’t think much of it.  Anna can be sensitive at times.

Once the cookies were done, and in the ovens baking, it was time to sing to Bella and eat cupcakes.  Anna was still acting sad and kind of whimpering.  She refused to eat a cupcake – totally not like herself.  She usually licks the icing off the top a if she’s eating an ice cream cone.  I thought she might be getting a little overwhelmed, so I pulled her to the side.  She told me her knee hurt and that she was ready to go to the car.  I told her that the party wasn’t over yet and that we need to wait until the end.  Plus, I wanted to be sure we got a box of cookies to take home (did I mention how good they are?).  Anna wasn’t having it, and she began to cry harder.

The moms gathered all the girls together for a group shot.  It was the beginning of the end for Anna.  She started sobbing. The more we tried to get her to stop crying (and to smile), the harder she cried.  I stepped outside with her to see if I could calm her down.  I noticed that her head felt warm, but it’s a small building and the ovens were on so the cookies could bake.  I didn’t think much of it.  I sat on a bench on the sidewalk.  Anna, who was still in chef garb, laid her head on my shoulder and cried.  I kept telling her to take deep breaths and to calm down.  She would just cry harder.  (Apparently, a woman’s hatred of being told to ‘calm down’ starts at a young age.)  I kept asking Anna what was wrong.  She kept telling me that her knee hurt.  It didn’t make sense.  We sat outside for a bit until I thought she had calmed down enough.  We made our way back inside.  Anna started crying harder.  At this point, she started gagging.  I knew what was coming.  I asked her if she was going to be sick and stuck my hand up just in time to catch the puke that was coming out of her mouth.   Lovely, huh?  Luckily, she managed to only puke on herself and me.  No other tiny chefs were harmed.  The bathroom was on the opposite side of the building, so I had to squeeze through everyone to make it back there.  I did what I could to clean each of us up.  I’ll spare the details, but know that it was gross.  The manager of Grandma’s Cookies gave me a bag to put all the clothes victims in.  I grabbed my purse, apologized repeatedly to Bella’s mom, said quick goodbyes to my friends, and made a beeline to the door.  We were parked about 2 blocks away.  Anna refused to walk, so I carried her to the car.  She fell asleep on the short ride to our house.

When we got home, I was telling Alex what happened.  He was concerned about Anna, and then was greatly upset when he realized that I had to leave without any cookies.  We made our own cookies that night.  They didn’t hold a flame to Grandma’s Cookies.  Anna ended up running a fever for the next 24 hours.  Just as suddenly as it started, it ended – just long enough to spoil the party and put a kink in our weekend.  Anna has another little party to attend this coming weekend.  Fingers crossed that she doesn’t toss her cookies there too.  I’d hate for her to get a bad rap in the birthday party circuit.