Before I had children, my most embarrassing moments involved vomit: spewing milk from my nose, barfing on stage during the school musical, getting drunk and throwing up on a frat boy. Now that I have three children under five, puke is as much a part of my routine as showering or shaving. A fact I believe recently convinced a young man working at my local drugstore to abstain from all baby-making activities until at least his mid-thirties.
That night, I dropped an armful of pharmaceuticals on the counter of a 24-hour Walgreens where the child manning the register looked like he should have ridden a tricycle to work.
“Good evening ma’am. How are you doing tonight?”
I fixed my bloodshot eyes on his hairless face. “I’ve been better.”
As I rummaged in the pocket of yesterday’s pajama pants for my wallet, the boy cleared his throat and informed me that I had peanut butter in my hair. Bless his heart.
“That’s not peanut butter. It’s vomit.”
“Oh. I’m sorry.” He shifted awkwardly and rang up my Pepto Bismol, Pedialyte, and a five-gallon bucket.
“Don’t be. It’s not mine.”
His eyes bulged and I feared he might be the fourth person to heave on me that night. At that point in time I had nothing to lose, ten minutes to kill, approximately forty different kinds anti-diarrheal products yet to be scanned, and obviously no shame.
So I regaled him with the gruesome tale of how that night my oldest threw up on the dog, who tracked it through the house while I carried my nauseous toddler to the shower. I told him how halfway up the stairs, my two-year-old puked down my back and onto the floor, where it was promptly eaten by the same chunk-covered dog. How the baby then howled from her crib where I found her rolling in her own sick like a pig in mud.
By the time he scanned my final item, his face was as white as my son’s had been before he ruined our Lay-Z-Boy and our Labrador. Finally, I tossed onto the pile a single Lindor chocolate truffle, because diet be damned, I deserved it.
“Um, thanks for coming in, ma’am. And you, uh, you try to have a good night.”
I hauled my bags to the car and popped the truffle into my mouth feeling confident that he wouldn’t be fathering any children in the near future. Before leaving, I checked my reflection in the rear-view mirror. On the top of my head, near my hairline, was a perfect dollop of Jiffy chunky peanut butter. Oh.
Bless his little heart.
*This post originally appeared on Hot Mom’s Club.