This week for the first time I experienced car barfing.
Just to give a little background:
1. My car is a mess. Okay, a certain kind of mess. Like once, I had a friend from university that I met in Vermont and she drove up in her car and it was FILLED with stuff. She used her trunk as a drawer for her clothing. I am pretty sure she had a home or at least that is what she told me at the time. Regardless, my car isn’t my clothing drawer but it is covered in dog hair and dust and crumbs and straw wrappers and tiny rocks that my son collects and leaves from 2010. I started apologizing about the state of my car maybe a year ago. When I apologize, my friends don’t say “Oh! It isn’t that bad!” they say, “Oh, don’t worry – you have a kid, you must be busy.” So, you can tell that it must be fucking gross.
2. At Holden’s daycare you need a doctor’s note for everything. The other day, I had to get a doctor’s note for diaper rash that was – no joke – about the size of your pinky fingernail. It takes a month to get an appointment with my doctor, so I have to go to a walk-in and I don’t trust walk-in doctors because if you went to med school why would you work at a walk-in? I am pretty sure most walk-ins are portals to hell. My hatred and fear of walk-ins often lead me to act irrationally (read: like a bad mother).
So, barf in the car.
I picked Holden up. He was eating oranges. We walked outside and I popped him in the car seat. I was just about to buckle him in when he said, “Oh, sorry mommy!” And then he barfed everywhere. The seat in front of him, his clothes, his car seat, the boot mat below him. It was orange. “Oh, sorry mommy!” he said again. And then barfed again and again and again. Each time, I held out my hand to catch the vomit.
Let’s take a moment here to reflect. What on earth is the instinct that causes us to put out our hands to catch our child’s vomit? I can’t actually catch all of it. It runs through my fingers. Why do I do that? On the same note I have also found myself fishing poo out of the bathtub with my hands. What is that all about?
Anyway, a good mother would have marched back in to the daycare, washed everything off and gotten a new batch of clothes. But I knew I would have to take him to a walk-in clinic. And even though I would catch his poo and barf in my hands, I will not go to the plague-ridden walk-in.
I had five wipes. i took off Holden’s clothes and stripped the car seat. The vomit has soaked through and was in the styrofoam. I popped him in the back seat and buckled him in – which is illegal and extremely naughty of me. I used four wipes for his face and hands, one for my hands and I drove home. Well, not before texting Mercedes and asking her to bring every cleaning product and utensil we had in the house and put it on the lawn so I could clean the car.
The New York Times made a cool video about Eddie Stern that I watched a few months ago. Eddie is so cool, I want to call him a hipster, but he is way cooler than that. And he lives in New York that is so cool, and his studio is cool and his temple is cool. Sigh. One the many cool things he talks about is nurturing independence with the Ashtanga technique.
I have been thinking about that a lot with my teaching and with my own practice. Where do I demand attention? When do I relinquish responsibility for my practice and say it is difficult because of an adjustment or the room or the time of day or my body type? How can I transmit the responsibility that Sharath makes me accept to the students who come to my class? This has been one of the hardest lessons for me in Ashtanga because I am quite fearful.
The longer I am a parent, the easier (although still totally challenging) that part of the practice becomes. I love those practices when I go all the way through without speaking to anyone. It doesn’t happen often because I love saying stupid shit to my teachers when they come to help me with backbending or whatever. With parenting that independence can be way spookier because you are the last stop on the responsibility train. But taking that responsibility can be so liberating. The panic I felt holding puke on the street faded in a few short minutes and that night the car was cleaned, the laundry folded and the child bathed by his big sister and asleep. I think it is important to remind ourselves of the many small and magical victories of self reliance and independence we achieve every day. on the mat and off.
And just so you know, that night Holden threw up three more times. Each time I put my hand out.