What Goes Down, Must Come Up: Life With the Timebomb of Vomit

The Madness gags if she gets near a porta-potty. Or follows any member of our household into the bathroom, even if we were just in there to wash our hands.  She gags on principle. The world disgusts her.

I’m a mother; I don’t have the luxury of a gag reflex anymore. And that’s her fault. You see the irony?

From the moment I turned her carseat to forward facing, right around that second birthday, the Madness started to vomit. At first it was just in the car. Every trip to Portland or SeaTac or even just the goddamn Costco became like a game of Operation. One wrong move and boom, the backseat was covered in everything she’d eaten for the last week. Then she really found her groove and no place was safe.  In restaurants or parks or, God forbid, bouncy houses, one second she’s laughing with unbridled joy and the next I’m trying to catch a stream of vomit in my bare hands. That’s right, my bare hands. I don’t even flinch anymore. Can’t say the same for the people around me.

At the YMCA pool, I actually (on purpose!) caught a sudden stream of upchuck using only my bathing suit and the bowl made by my daughter’s legs wrapped around my waist. We walked to the locker room, rinsed off, and were back in swim class before they started the hokey pokey. True story.

At a sushi restaurant, dining with friends, I caught a sudden wave of vomit in the lid to the Edamame boat that was floating by on the sushi conveyer belt. Just grabbed it, whipped off the lid, done. Then we ate the edamame (which, for the record, did NOT have puke on it).

I have pulled Kleenex out of a Kleenex box and used that.

I have used a rain boot to catch vomit.

I have used a stacking bath cup, though the holes in the bottom for water to drain out proved challenging.

I lost half an Americano using a disposable coffee cup. Plus side: having a lid.


I can carry a kid on my hip, catch vomit with my free hand, maintain a conversation, and smile the whole way to the bathroom.

I bought an art-smock with a pocket in front for the Madness to wear on roadtrips. We called it her Puke Poncho*.

These are the untold stories of motherhood. When people tell me to “cherish every minute of it,” I think back to the pool in the YMCA. Do I have to cherish EVERY minute? Can’t I please forget just a few of them, here and there!?

Though, honestly, if Motherhood was the Girl Scouts, that is a patch I would wear with pride.

vomit expert

*Props to M&W friend Monica Rohrscheib for the moniker. Personalized “Puke Ponchos” will be available soon, in the color of your choice**, at the Milk&Whiskey store***!

**assuming the color of your choice is blue. They only come in blue. ***Also, this product does not exist. Nor does this store.

6 thoughts on “What Goes Down, Must Come Up: Life With the Timebomb of Vomit

  1. What a story!! I assume you have seen a doctor? I only ask because at 1yr our son started puking like u describe. His doctor gave me every excuse in the book. After abt 6 months he started to have a wheezy sound. Doc thought asthma. I sought out a specialist on asthma and she said no way. But she did send us to Children’s. After X-rays and an upper GI scan they found he had something called a vascular ring. After his 2nd birthday (cause that is how long all of this took) he had surgery that saved his life. The vascular ring was in short choking him from the inside.

  2. As a witness to the YMCA incident, I can tell you M.I.L.K. was damn impressive. Most of the people there didn’t even know what had happened.

  3. You make vomit sound so funny! And look so pretty, with the rainbows and all. You must have the reflexes of a ninja – wish I could’ve seen the edamame bowl catch. Or perhaps… maybe not.

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