snakes on a plane

05 March 2014

Simon and I were totally those snakey parents on the plane last night hogging an entire aisle with the baby in the middle seat, dodging looks from boarding passengers, and really hoping that the repeated, "this flight is almost full, folks!" warnings from the flight attendant meant that there were at least a couple of seats to spare. In our pathetic defense, there was only one other child (looked to be not a day younger than 10 but .... my speciality is the 3 and under crowd so maybe he was a healthy five year old ... on steroids) that joined us with his parents for family boarding and ... um .... the defense rests right there. All we got.


Here's the thing. There's always a thing with kids and parenthood and kids. Always.

Theo could sense that the trip had gone too smoothly. Titan had only delayed our flight by 10 minutes (after the local news told me 1000 times that over 1000 flights departing from DC had been canceled), security was relatively pleasant, and there had been enough time to get some food (back when Simon and I were dating we took a trip to New Mexico to visit my family ... I went to get breakfast at the airport before our flight took off and Simon refused to budge from the gate lest he miss the flight .... with or without me).

Too smoothly.

No sooner had we taken off and I was fumbling with my phone trying to get a grainy shot of the Capitol (the life of a blogger ... it is fast freaking paced) when Simon frantically tapped my arm and gave me the, "wtf wtf wtf wtf" look as I turned to see both he and Theo covered in .......

WHAT IS ......



no, please no.

no no no no no no no no no. 

But YES.

It was precisely that .... toddler vomit of the projectile variety

that just kept coming

and coming

and coming.

Later Simon would say, "he puked himself a pair of overalls" and Grace would say that was an understatement because he puked himself a straight trough of vom to frolic in ... Wilbur style.

You can only try to imagine the smell that accompanied that excitement and the volume of Theo's cries as we peeeeeeeeeeeeeled off his clothing and tried to spare anything that could be spared (nothing - even my diaper bag fell victim) while we threw a million baby wipes at the situation, and sheepishly asked for two trash bags ... one for all of the soiled clothes that were appropriate to remove from our persons and one for the now two million baby wipes that were lost to the cause.

Of course Theo popped right back into happy mode when he was clad in just his diaper and vom crusted hair while I kept making the fatal mistake of switching from mouth to nose breathing while dodging his new trick to give wide open mouth kisses (overandoverandoverandstopplease) and eventually just had to laugh because what else can you do?

It could've been so much worse.

We could've had the other two kids with us, it could've been a really bad "other end" blow out, I could've been flying solo with Theo (and to be honest it would've been very tempting to stop, drop, and roll right off the flight into the night if I had been fighting that losing battle all by myself ... too morbid for a family blog? fine!), we could've been on some trillion hour flight overseas (I mean ... let's be real but ... still), and I could've not had the foresight to throw an extra pair of pants in my accessible bag for the vom monster.

His zipped up jacket doubled as a shirt and he eventually accepted my shoulder as a mediocre blankie substitute and passed out. Or ptfo as some like to say.

But during the, "eventually" portion of the flight while he was thrashing and wafting his scent every which way when the pilot's voice came booming over the loudspeaker ...

what mama bear actually heard was ...


But we made it and it only took us SO long to deplane that a mere five passengers had already been allowed to board for the next flight (and each and every one of them took a nice look at my formerly blue .. now patterned and colorful maternity jeans and breathed an audible sigh of relief that we were getting off off off the flight) and we made it home. Theo did have one more episode at 10:30 juuuuuuuuuust as Simon and I were drifting off to sleep so we had to have the ...

Simon: (half-heartedly) oh, I don't mind bathing him
Grace: (quarter-heartedly) oh, no. it's fine. you have to go to work tomorrow ... I'll bathe him
Simon: (happily) well ... I'll get a clean towel ready at least
Grace: (1/8-heartedly) okay, thanks.


You KNOW you know the one. And no one is ever keeping score around here and it all comes out in the wash and evens out in the end (and even if it didn't ... that's not the name of the marriage game ... I know, I know) and Simon does always have to get up so much earlier than this lazy bones.


Snakes on a plane.
Don't hate them too hard.
They just might have your best clean-clothed/vomless lap interest at heart. 
You never know.

oh! And Theo is fine today. I think he went a little overboard with his Fat Tuesday confection intake and/or he has no tolerance for turbulence.




  1. Oh man!! That is horrible... Did you get any snarky remarks from people on the plane or were they just content to send you sympathetic glances? People who dislike babies annoy the heck out of me, mostly because they were once a baby and did the same thing!

    Glad you are home safe and sound.

  2. Yea, that was definitely me, not my husband commenting. ALthough, I read him parts of your posts before we go to bed, I'll be laying on the bed crying because I am laughing so hard.... He's starting to get into it too. :)

    1. haha no one said a word! I think it helped that it was dark. I did feel awful though. For Theo and everyone.

      and myself ;) ..... kidding. sortof.

  3. I have lived this. Except I was alone with my then almost 2-year-old. And he threw up during take-off and then again during descent. Yes, soiling his second (and last) set of clothing. He's 4 now, and I've gotten over the trauma (mostly).

  4. As someone who has lots and lots and LOTS of toddler vomit stories... yours is still worst. Ugh. Blech. Sorry you had to deal with that. And I'll be conveniently trying to forget it next time we fly with our boys.

  5. That's the stuff nightmares are made of! Glad Theo feels better today.

    And your husband sounds like me - always worried about missing the flight and/or losing the boarding pass. My husband, on the other hand, travels so much for work that he typically is one of the last people on the flight. Show off!

  6. Do your kids do the same things mine always did when they were throwing up - you know, not move one millimeter forward so as to avoid getting the vomit all over themselves/their bed/the couch. It's like they missed the memo on how to bend at the waist and aim for a toilet or at least a trash can. Did you not show Theo the barf bag on the plane? When Austin was 14 he threw up right in the middle of the living room rug. As I was hauling the rug to the dumpster I said, "you're old enough to freakin' AIM". He's done better since then.

  7. This had to be a nightmare...but it had me laughing out loud. my fav....sorry to share...but my 12yr old puked all over the floor at a water park. can never show my face there again.

  8. Ha!!!! (My) Grace's second plane ride started with two barfs all over me, and a third one just to rub it in, since I had no extra clothes.

  9. The 12 hours before we were leaving for a family vacation (party of 4) we had a vom-fest at the house (courtesy of some bad yogurt - took me 6 months to get near any yogurt after that). We left for the airport at 4:30 am with at least 2 loads of vom-infested laundry in the sink. I was not sure if we would be able to stomach the flights. Fortunately we did but we did look like the Walking Dead going through the airport.

  10. Ah nightmare, but you've got through it! I remember flying with Freddie when he was 1 on my own and we got delayed on the runway, no spare seats on the flight and so we were cramped with him on my knee and an unlucky couple (who thankfully turned out to be lovely) sitting to our left. Freddie was tired, grumpy, hungry and bored so cue major tantrum/breakdown but we had to stay in our seats with our seatbelts on.. Officially the LONGEST twenty minutes of my life! Luckily as soon as we set off devil child turned into a sleeping angel and I had a pleasant quiet three hour flight albeit with a rather 'dead' arm!

  11. ug! a puking toddler is no fun. i cannot even imagine on a plane. fingers crossed he doesn't pass it along to te others!

  12. You know...I am impressed! Impressed at your pregnant non-vomiting skills. I could barely change a diaper without wrapping a shirt around my head because I would throw up. Projectile vomit? On a plane? I would have grabbed my seat cushion/floatation device and thrown up some deuces!

  13. Our first flight with C she had a diaper explosion and her clothes were unsalvageable and we couldn't find the spare ones we had for her. So we had to do 'naked baby on the plane' and took lots of photgraphic evidence to show at her wedding.

  14. Our first flight with C she had a diaper explosion and her clothes were unsalvageable and we couldn't find the spare ones we had for her. So we had to do 'naked baby on the plane' and took lots of photgraphic evidence to show at her wedding.

  15. Geez that's horrible, but you do write the tale so well! I have to admit that is what I'm most afraid of when we have littles. I don't do vomit and blood I should an interesting Mom when a toddle has a barf bucket taped to his/her shirt for the first 5 years of life ;)

  16. Oh boy. Cringed reading this!!

    I'm glad Theo is better! What is up with crazy travel stories lately! Oh wait, it's called traveling with kids gives you a free carry on of crazy.

    When I was little (maybe J's age?), I had really bad motion sickness and threw up all over this new taxi and on the airplane from Thailand to Australia. My poor parents.

  17. Oh my goodness, that conversation- story of my life, hoping my husband will be more the saintly one and get up with the kids all the while knowing I NEED to be more self-less and less lazy. Too funny!
    And glad for you guys that the terrible emesis episode was short lived!

  18. Again.... thank Theo for those 5 yrs of less purgatory time after Vomfest 2014 :)
    (I've decided that pretending these parenting chores get me less purgatory time makes them a little bit more tolerable)

  19. I can't imagine anything worse! Yuck - so sorry it happened!

  20. Oh my gosh, I don't even know what the heck I would have done. I feel so bad that you had to go through that during the flight. But I totally know that conversation. Since I stayed at home and C worked I always got up with Sydney when anything happened in the middle of the night.

  21. This is why I won't fly with my kids until they are in middle school. You are a brave pioneer. Or soemthing.

  22. Oh my goodness. And I thought dealing with the vomit (in our house. at ground level.) the past 3 days was have my full sympathy. Glad he's feeling better!

  23. Oh, I'm so sorry. I'd been having a big old pity party for myself after all the crazy vomiting we have had in the past week. Then I read this and it was such a good reminder that it could always be worse. At least none of our barfing occurred on a plane. I hope Theo is all better and everyone else stays healthy!

  24. Is it odd that I find this hilarious and comforting?! We had the exact same incident with our 1 yr old, except we had the better fortune to be landing in 1/2hr. Baby was stripped and put in pj's and I walked sheepishly off the plane with my husband's sweater wrapped around my waist covering the awful puke. So gross, bad memories!

  25. Omigosh...I was reading this I just kept thinking...thank goodness they didn't have the other kids! If I had a dollar for every time a thrown up upon child had to wear a jacket as shirt in public. I'm so glad you survived.

  26. I feel your pain. I had this happen on an international flight from Auckland, New Zealand to Los Angeles. We went to visit relatives and on the way home my youngest projectile vomited all over me, himself, and the (empty, thank god) seat next to us. Juuuust after take-off for a 13.5 hour flight. The flight attendant took pity on me and gave me a pair of Qantas pajamas that they apparently have for the first class passengers. I was oh so thankful, even if they were paper thin and I had to walk around the airport in them while I waited for my luggage, so I could change for our 8 hour layover before journeying onward. My advice for international travel with young children: DON'T DO IT.

    1. Oh, and I am not trying to one-up your story, having to sit in vomit encrusted clothes would be waaaaaaay worse.

  27. OH MAN. I have so much to look forward to.

    But hot dang, that picture of him is hella freaking cute.

  28. Wowzer--so terrible. Vomit-o-rama?!?! As if travel with a tot wasn't hard enough. And the smell. I'm amazed you didn't pass out from it--or pass him to Simon and totally lock yourself in the bathroom.

    Hope the rest of the trip was wonderful!

  29. This is amazing. And hilarious. And awful. I totally feel ya! It's never happened to me (cross my fingers!) but man sounds like a doozy! I found your blog because I'm doing the Sister India giveaway with you! Seriously, you're hilarious, I'm definitely a new reader!!

  30. Grace! You were so vividly in my dream last night. I was trying so desperately to help you take care of the kids just so you could get 5 minutes to yourself. I kept dropping things and falling, so was a nightmare, really. Glad I woke up from that one! And thanks for all of the laughs here at the Camp. It's a bright spot in my week!

  31. You made my slightly delayed and a little turbulence flight yesterday seem like a walk in the park. Glad you guys survived.

  32. We flew to Berlin last summer - my 7 year old son's second plane flight. We were suckered because the first was incident free. As we were waiting to disembark, he turns around and voms all over himself, his seat, my hubs & I, & his 10 yr old sister, who almost had a stroke because there were people in the aisles & there was no where to run. It kept coming and coming, despite our best attempts to use the cozy in-flight blanket to contain it. Even the nice newlyweds on their honeymoon in the row behind us were spattered (luckily they were school teachers and super gracious about the whole thing.) People in the aisles were staring in horror. Finally after 20 years, we got to customs only to discover that the airline had lost our luggage. Then we found out that Germany doesn't really have open stores on Saturday nights & Sundays. So we had to check in to our ultra-posh central Berlin hotel and spend 2 days walking around in vomit-spattered clothes until the stores opened on Monday. Our luggage got there Wednesday. I drank a lot of beer in the meanwhile.

  33. I would say that was one heck of a nightmare. Seriously horrid. So sorry my friend. Glad you're home safe and all seems to be well.

  34. Last time we flew with my little man, he got motion sick between the turbulence and the lying down for a diaper change. I had walked back to my seat from the lavatory just in time to get that waterfall of vomit all down the front of myself and baby. And that was 15 minutes into the 2 hr flight. Kudos to us mamas that never give up!



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