That Was a Sick Road Trip
Some of you have said that you are hoping for a blog post out of my trip to Mendocino with the three kids. Well, I’m not saying that won’t happen (we’ve only been here two hours). The drive sucked in the ways that all family drives suck. Nothing outlandish happened, however.
But the fact that two-thirds of the kids felt sick on the windy drive made me think of another special road trip we took. Here’s the thing. Selah has been blessed with the gift of carsickness. It was bad enough when she was really little, because we would regularly make the drive through the pass from Oregon to California. The mixture of altitude and winding road got her at least half of the time, even when she was a toddler.
But now…now she can read. More than that, she barely ever stops reading. The child has been known to pee her pants because she doesn’t want to put her book down.
At first, I was excited. Hey, she will finally do something other than fight with Asher in the car! I told myself. This was because I suffer from delusions. Of course she still mostly picks fights with Asher in the car. But she does something else too. Yes, she reads–just like I wanted her to. Awesome, right?
She does OK if she’s reading on a long, straight, fast road. Like Highway 80, if it were not consistently log-jammed. But let’s face it–it usually is. Especially when we are traveling to my parents’ house, usually on a Friday evening or some other such foolish time.
One particular weekend, we were driving to visit my parents, and I thought we had traffic beat. We were leaving nice and early. It was going to be one of those glorious drives, where Noah and Asher fell asleep and napped quietly while Selah read. But of course it was not like that. Instead, there was some kind of accident on Highway 80, and we ended up in stop and go traffic. The boys couldn’t fall asleep, but Selah really did her part nicely. She had this whole bag of library books on the seat next to her, and she systematically worked her way through them, dropping them onto the floor in front of her as she finished them. We weren’t on a windy road, so I wasn’t worried.
Until she started complaining. And then moaning. I looked back and saw her looking miserable. Thankfully, the traffic dispersed, and we were able to continue. The boys almost immediately fell asleep, probably an hour or more after I had hoped they would.
I looked back again. She was reading. I ordered her to stop immediately. I told her she was going to be sick if she kept reading. She kept trying to look back at the book. She pried her eyes away from the book…and promptly threw up. Like, everywhere. All over herself. Her clothes. Her seat. And…oh no…the library book pile.
I will take this moment to admit several things about myself. One, I am the kind of person who throws up when other people throw up. I have the weakest stomach on the planet. I really want to be a loving mother at the bedside, but I actually want to barf and then die every time one of my children is ill. I am also a very little bit obsessive-compulsive. I love libraries and library books–I even get most of my books from the library–but every time I read one, I feel a little like I don’t want it to touch my pillow, and like I ought to wash my hands after reading. So this utterly, completely reinforced what I already suspected about library books.
We pulled over onto the side of the highway. Her father helped Selah change and I attempted to clean up the stinking library books. Literally stinking. I kept gagging, and I had to take a break. The boys, who had woken up five minutes into their nap by the screeching to a halt of the car, all started to cry and fuss. I alternated between cleaning up and feeling the urge to flag down a ride to anywhere else.
We finally got the damage a little bit under control. We got back in. It was terrible. We drove squeamishly down the road. I felt great relief that at least Selah was feeling better–but I sure wasn’t.
I glanced back to ask how she was doing. But I couldn’t see her. Is she hiding? Why is she hiding? She was hiding. She was hiding behind the seat rest of Noah’s seat. Because she was trying to hide that she was…reading.
I wiped down all of Cora’s library books with Clorox wipes (which I don’t even use in my home except in extreme circumstances) for at least her first year. Once I stopped wiping hers down, I therefore stopped wiping mine down, so Jared makes fun of me for washing my hands when I put my book down at bedtime (instead of, you know, just turning over and going to sleep). So. You have a companion in library-germ-fears.