And so it begins. Tonight my parents flew in to be with us for the preparation, party, and post-party relief surrounding Addison's first birthday. It's a neat thing--they've been able to be at both of our boys' first birthday parties, and Addie's party will be no exception. So they drove straight from the airport to meet us at a rather classy Mexican restaurant Chris and I love.
Let me tell you why, exactly, we love this particular restaurant: Tableside Guacamole. The waiter arrives at the table with a cart full of ingredients, smashes them all together, and then presents a vat of guacamole that usually disappears within minutes despite its large size. I've never had better guacamole, and believe me, I'm a connoisseur. After a bridal shower several years ago, Bridget gave me the remaining unopened pound of guacamole (You know you live in Texas when guacamole appears at bridal showers.). I sat in my living room with a bag of chips and ate that entire pound of guacamole goodness in one sitting. And I didn't even throw up afterward, although the thought of that right now is making me queasy. But more on that in a minute. I have what you could call a guacamole addiction. I just can't say no to it. If it were illegal, I'd hunt it down and buy it anyway. I love it so much that I skipped out of staff meetings when I was a teacher to make guacamole runs in the afternoon. In my defense, I was pregnant, but still. It's a problem.
Back to my story. My parents sat in the booth on either side of Caiden, and everybody looked just spiffy. My mom wore a brand new blouse, and my dad always looks snazzy in some variety of polo shirt and jeans. Caiden sat proudly in his shirt that looked remarkably like my dad's--he's a little Papa-obsessed lately, so inadvertently matching him is cause for much joy. The chips and salsa arrived, and then the crowning moment of the dinner, the presentation of the guac, was beheld. We dove into those bowls like bears on a beehive. Even Grayson consumed vast amounts of both salsa and guacamole, which is remarkable because the salsa was hot! My theory is that he can tolerate hot foods because he was exposed to so much of it when I was nursing him. Acid reflux be darned; I am a lover of all foods spicy, and therefore, so is he.
After we finished eating my mom suggested Grayson get out of his highchair to come snuggle next to her in the booth. Chris and I mocked her--Grayson hasn't sat still since 2006, but she insisted and we relented, and Grayson did spite us just at that moment by reaching over and hugging and kissing my mom, a picture of meekness. Cheeky baby. If this had been a novel, rather than real life, the narrator would've warned, in a foreboding tone, that this moment was the end of the sweetness, and that feeding a toddler huge amounts of salsa and guacamole isn't such a great idea. But it's not a novel, it's my life, which is more akin to either a slapstick comedy or a horror movie, neither of which is known for foreshadowing. Instead there's hindsight, which isn't nearly as fun. Or helpful.
Grayson slid next to my dad. My distinguished, classy, gentlemanly dad. And he coughed a little, and as my dad and I watched in slight amusement, a few chips gently fell out of his mouth. I giggled, watching my dad to see how he'd react as Grayson spit out the rest of his chips right onto the table. I reached for a napkin, and It Happened. Grayson gagged, and folks, it was all over.
That child threw up enormous quantities of only slightly-digested guacamole all down his shirt and onto the booth seat while my dad, still sitting right next to him, froze in horror. Somehow I missed the actual vomiting, and at the look on my dad's face I reassured him, "Dad, it's okay. He just spit out a few chips." He said, and I quote: "Sarah, he didn't 'spit up a few chips,' he threw up. He Threw Up!" And then I did what any good mother would do, I swallowed my grin, shielded the scene of the crime from the lovely older couple dining directly behind me, ripped off Grayson's shirt as quickly as possible, held my hand over his mouth, and bodily hefted him over the entire table and carried him under my arm toward the bathroom.
I evaluated the situation in the bathroom while my mother delicately patted a napkin over the slightly-eaten avocados. She later told me it was warm, and I swear she shuddered when she said it. So did I.
I decided that Grayson had not, in fact, truly thrown up. He'd choked on a chip and then gagged, bringing up all manner of Mexican goodness inside. I don't know if that made much of a difference to my dad, but in my mama-mind, there's an important distinction between regurgitation due to gagging, and vomiting due to a virus. One is a one-time offender; the other means I'll be called out of sleep later on to wipe vomit out of a toddler's hair in his bed.
So we went back to the table to reassure my dad, who looked slightly pale. I explained the finding of regurgitation-by-gagging, and he bravely said, "Oh, that's all right, Sarah, it didn't bother me at all." Then he paused. "Well, maybe a little bit. Yeah, a little bit." I choked back a giggle, knowing that if I started laughing, it would all be over. I'm the queen of the inappropriate laugh. And the last thing I needed was to snort in the restaurant.
Sopapillas were on their way, so we waited them out while Grayson happily played in his seat, now shirtless and looking every bit like one of the Lipnickis from the movie, The War. Remember them? Always dirty, always naughty, always shirtless. Rugrats. It's just the look I was going for when I dressed my boys for dinner. I love looking like the Beverly Hillbillies.
I thought the moment was over and felt pleased that we had avoided causing a true scene. Then my mother, in slow-motion horror, pointed at Caiden's backside and whispered, "Sarah, don't tell him now, but Caiden has guacamole vomit all down his back and pants." I tried folks, I really did. I slowly told Caiden to come stand by me, in that you-have-a-tarantula-on-your-head-but-I-don't-want-to-scare-you voice, but he was blocked in by my mother, who decided right at that moment to take a phone call (Mother, really? Was that such a good idea??) and didn't understand that I needed her to vacate the premises NOW, before he realized he was wearing his brother's stomach contents and shout it for the rest of the diners to hear. No such luck. He turned halfway around, found the green goop down his body and started panting, "There's Throw Up, There's Throw Up, There's Throw Up, THERE'S THROW UP ON MY PANTS!"
And then I did what any seasoned, reasonable mother does in a crisis situation: I helplessly, weakly dabbed at his back with a used paper napkin while collapsing into my chair and laughing til tears came. My dad at this point looked like a deer in headlights because the panicked Caiden made a mad dash straight for his side, while my mom shimmied away from him, still on the phone and still in the booth.
At this point I realized my husband was nowhere in sight.
I grabbed half-naked Grayson with one arm, pinned him to my side, and lunged for Caiden, who was reacting like a Mexican jumping bean, trapped between both my parents in the booth. I forced my mom out of the booth, grabbed Caiden with my free arm, and fled. I tossed back to my slightly-dazed dad, "Please pay. I'll pay you back later! Tell Chris I am gone!" and headed for the front door.
After stripping down Caiden and putting the near-naked boys in the car, the rest of the family convened in the parking lot.
"Well, that sure was fun," my dad said, looking remarkably truthful.
"Sarah, it sure is nice to see your posts lived out," commented my mother, grinning wickedly.
"Meet you at home," my husband said, as he headed for his SUV.
And as I climbed into my minivan and surveyed the damage--a pile of spewed-on clothes in the floorboard and two skinny, dirty little boys in the back--I realized, with a sigh of relief, that God may just have provided me an answer for my addiction: it'll be a cold, cold day in Texas before I eat guacamole again.