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Amanda Lamb: A three bag day

Posted March 13, 2011

A few weeks ago my youngest daughter told me she wasn't feeling well as she was getting ready for school. Because she is a child who is prone to exaggeration about physical symptoms, I told her to eat breakfast and she would feel better. In addition, I had a packed day at work, and was already doing the mental gymnastics it would take to shuffle things around.

As we pulled into the driveway of the little girl's house that we carpool with, my daughter screamed from the backseat: "Throwing up!" I reached behind the seat and pulled an old folded Nordstrom's bag from the back pocket of the seat. My older daughter opened it and shoved it under her sister's mouth just in time.

I then told the mother of the child what had just happened and explained that I was still driving my older daughter to school, but that her daughter would have to come in my car at her own risk. Like any working moms given that choice, she made the only realistic decision she could at the moment and sent her daughter with me. I promised to keep them as far apart as possible. In the meantime, I tried to calm my little girl, telling her she had just earned a mommy-daughter day which would begin as soon as we dropped the other children off at school. I also called the doctor and got a mid-morning appointment.

We dropped off the child and my oldest daughter without incident, but just as I was pulling out of the carpool line, I heard another scream: "Throwing up again!" She yelled it as if I somehow had forgotten this was our second round. We got out of the car and ran into the main office restroom. On the way out I snagged a grocery bag which we ended up using before I even pulled out of the parking lot. At the exit to the parking lot, she yelled again that throw up was on its way.

At this point I was really in a panic. All the bags had been used, or so I thought. I had somehow managed to contain the throw up until this point, and now I feared that I was about to lose this round. I grabbed the glove compartment door, jerked it open and rummaged for something, anything, that might catch what was about to come out of my precious daughter's mouth.

Voila, a leftover air sickness bag from a flight several months prior had somehow managed to make its way into my car. This had been placed there at the advice of a babysitter whose father always snagged them when he flew just for this purpose. Problem solved.

When we arrived home, I got her into her pajamas, made a bed for her on the couch in front of the fireplace, and placed a trashcan next to her.

"Mommy, I'm sorry I threw up in your car," she said groggily, reaching up to hug me.

"It's OK, baby," I said rubbing her back, not worrying that what she had might be contagious. "Mommy is just happy we had enough bags to handle it. Which reminds me, time to put more bags in the car!"

Amanda is the mom of two girls, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including two on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.


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  • helpme Mar 15, 2011

    I keep a beach pail in my truck with bags in it all the time - learned that was the easiest thing for them to handle by themselves as this usually happens when mom is driving

  • Henyeah Mar 15, 2011

    News must be slow. What a nasty story. Sorry you cant find something better to waste your time writing about. I was expecting a bit more to be honest.

    Ahh....this is not a news section of the webpage. This is a Mother's blog. And guess what, throw up happens when you are a mom. And when it happens to's big news.

  • superman Mar 15, 2011

    News must be slow. What a nasty story. Sorry you cant find something better to waste your time writing about. I was expecting a bit more to be honest.

  • jkca Mar 15, 2011

    Ha! Reminds me of when I was pregnant, I'd keep plastice bags in the car for myself...just in case!

  • carolinagirl28 Mar 14, 2011

    I think every working mom has tried the "Eat breakfast and I'm sure you'll feel better" approach and gotten burned. I know I have! And even though you have to rearrange your day on a moment's notice, and even though your child is sick, that unexpected day together can be a real blessing!

  • leew Mar 14, 2011

    bags in the car, so very smart. I was not so prepared and my then adolescent tried to vomit out the car window (car was stopped) but ended up getting it in the window crack---try cleaning that up. Sounds crazy but sometimes one doesn't have time to prepare. Now I have bags useful for lots of things.

  • fencergrrl Mar 14, 2011

    Oh...the throwing up. No matter how it happens, it's always an adventure.

  • DWH4sure Mar 14, 2011

    @kellypratz, I've done the exact same thing! It must be instinct, or something. And no, I couldn't contain it, either! Ended up grossing myself out... :o) I just don't deal well with stomach stuff - not from my daughter, my husband, or even myself.

  • kellypratz Mar 14, 2011

    Oh boy this brings back memories. My daughter was 4 at the time and she was on the couch and said she wasn't feeling well. I sat beside her to feel her forhead and all of the sudden it's coming before she could get off the couch. My first reaction is to cup my hands and put under her mouth. Not sure what I was thinking that my hands would hold it and naturally it did not.

  • hodgesfour Mar 14, 2011

    We keep a throw up bucket in both cars all the time. My daughter has migraines and you never know when it is going to hit.