A week ago a tore my calf muscle while walking into my house.
For the sake of drama and excitement and just plan lack-of-suck I wish I could tell you I tore my calf muscle while rock climbing or chasing down a purse snatcher or something, but no, I tore it walking from my car to my house.
The doctor recommended crutches and no carrying the baby until the pain is gone and I can walk without hobbling. Hobbling can lead to another fall, and also a lot of hobbling can mess up the other muscles that are compensating for the injury. So it’s better to walk with crutches going through the full step but having the crutches bear the weight. And of course carrying a baby while hobbling and at risk for falling is never a good idea.
The logistics of not carrying the baby are difficult. Both my older kids go to school outside of our city, as does my husband. Our routine consists of me dropping my hubby and oldest at work & school, then taking my middle son to his school where I spend the day hanging out in that area with the baby, then I do the picks ups and we all drive home. The only way for my husband to stay home with me to carry the baby would mean that the other two boys miss school too. In order to avoid this we set our place up so I could keep baby in our bedroom all day, which is where his crib is, and I could safely place him into the crib when I needed the restroom but for the most part we just lay on the big bed and played all day.
However one day I had an appointment I needed to get to and that just wasn’t going to work so what we did was all pile into the car. I thought hubby was coming with me to hang out all day while we waited for our middle child to finish school, that he would bring his laptop and work from the coffee shop. We had an epic miscommunication and halfway down the highway I realized he had not brought his laptop. He had to go to work or miss the day.
The doctor had said if I was in a jam, to use the stroller as it would stabilize my walk. So that’s what we decided I’d do. I dropped everyone off and I hobbled to the back of the van where I set up the stroller and put baby in there. We went into Starbucks and I wheeled him through the line, got a coffee, got a chair by the fire, and settled in to wait.
An hour or so later I decided I needed a refill. By this time, it was quite busy and there was a big lineup. For some reason, rather than waiting for the line to pass, I decided that even though it was too busy for the stroller I could just carry the baby over and get my refill. Yep, I decided to defy two doctors recommendations and both hobble and carry the baby. I left the stroller, my jacket, and the diaper bag at the table and took my baby, my mug, and my wallet to the line up.
I’ll admit somehow in here I lost my common sense. But don’t worry, the universe paid me back.
By the time I’d made it through the line my supporting leg was exhausted. It’s enough just to support me but adding another 22 pounds of baby is asking a lot! As I ordered my drink I sat him on the counter a bit, supporting his back but resting him. I handed the barista my mug, apologizing that I hadn’t taken it to rinse in the washroom first (I usually do this when getting refills) because I had an injured leg and wasn’t moving well. She was smiling and saying something nice like ‘not problem’ when the baby looked up at me and puked. And he spits up a lot so I can say 100% this was not spit up. This was like a scene out of the Exorcist movie. It was huge. And it was smelly. And it was all over the order counter.
‘Oh my God!’ I exclaimed.
(Side note to those who find that phrase offensive – I’m trying, I really am, but it still comes out in moments like these. I considered lying and saying I exclaimed ‘Oh my Gosh!’ but it just felt wrong. So for authenticity I’m telling you exactly what I said but wishing I hadn’t.)
‘Oh my God!’ I exclaimed and I picked him up and cradled him close to my chest. Then he puked again, all down my shirt and my right arm and onto the floor.
‘Oh my God!’ I said again, and I shifted him, facing him chest to chest looking over my back. At which point he promptly puked again, all down my back and all over the floor.
‘Oh my God!’ And one more puke. Seriously. I swear this baby puked more than he had eaten in three days.
And there I was, standing in a puddle of puke, watching it drip of the order counter onto the floor, absolutely soaked and I had nothing I could use to wipe it up nor could I run to get my things. And everyone was looking at me. I was totally immobilized and panicked.
‘I have an injured leg! I can’t get to my stroller!’
Two helpful strangers sprang into action. One running for my stroller and diaper bag, and the other running to the condiment stand for a stack of napkins. The baby was absolutely covered in puke, sitting wide-eyed in my arms but not crying. I’m trying to tell the stranger where the burp cloths are ‘no, not that zipper pocket … over there … beside your other hand … no move back … yes there, there in that pocket!’ and the other stranger is wiping puke off my right arm with napkins that are wholly inadequate for the job. And then out comes the barista with the mop cart and mop, sopping puke up off the floor. And then from behind me a disgusted voice, ‘It’s still running down your back!’
Yes, I replied. I imagine it is.
I’m quite sure we ruined the lunchtime appetite of at least four people in that line up.
My helpful strangers helped me get the stroller, diaper bag, jacket, and baby into the family change room, where I locked the door, stripped off my shirt, soaked the receiving blanket with warm water and proceeded to give the baby a full body sponge bath. Once he was clean and in new clothes I buckled him into the stroller and then sponged myself off. My shirt was useless so I simply zipped up my jacket over my bra.
We strolled back out, picked up my coffee and a sandwich, and left the location. I got the baby bundled back into the van and packed up the stroller and settled in with my coffee. Baby was fine by this time, happy and cooing as if nothing had happened. Wide eyed, alert, he gave me happy drolly smiles as if saying, ‘Who me? Puke on you and everything else in sight? Of course not Mama! Look I’m too cute!‘
Still traumatized, I started texting the whole story to the husband. He was sympathetic at first but then got distracted by the idea of me spending the rest of the day in just my bra and jacket. ‘We should try that one night on the town‘ he suggested, ‘you in a nice bra under a trendy jacket‘ … a pause … and then ‘Kidding.‘
He was totally not kidding. Because this is sexy stuff.