July 30, 2007

Wet Blanket

My feet gripped the unstable exercise ball and I concentrated on rooting my tailbone into the floor. "Deep breath in...expand those ribs...now release," came the barely audible voice of the instructor. I closed my eyes and slowly rolled my spine towards the mat. I was halfway down when I heard the tapping on the classroom window. It was Elva, the YMCA Childcare lady. She grimly pointed at me and walked away.

I shelved my equanimity and walked barefoot out of the room and towards Childcare. I had two girls in there today and hadn't really expected to make it through the hour long pilates class uninterrupted. "She's throwing up," said Elva with concern, pointing at my grinning three month old.
"She does that a lot. It's no problem," I replied casually and turned to leave.
"But her clothes are wet. Do you have dry clothing for her?"
"No, but she'd just throw up on them if I did. She's always spitting up. It's okay."
"But we can't leave her like this!"
"I'll take off her clothes."
"And leave her naked?"
"She's usually only in a diaper at home. She'll be fine, I'll just wrap her in her blanket."
Elva couldn't contain her disgust with me any more. "Dios Mio!" she exclaimed and shook her head in horror.
I quickly removed Cher's soaked onesie and tucked a blanket around her. Taking care not to meet the eyes of the horrified Elva, I made a break for the door.

"Square your shoulders and press through your arms, back and legs. Breath in and lower yourself onto the mat. Now exhale and press back up, making sure not to lower your hips..."

Tap Tap Tap

Elva was ready to play hardball. "She won't stop spitting up. We can't have her naked in here. The other kids could touch her. The toys might touch her. We can't be responsible if -"
"We'll leave," I said.

I could tell Elva was holding back anguished protests as I strapped my bare baby into her carseat. And yes, the carseat was wet with spit up as well. Nothing I could do about that. As I made a break for the car, I looked back to see Elva looking with pity at my two children. I often feel guilty for all kinds of misdeeds in mothering - underfeeding, yelling, dressing them in jumpers, but spit up? That one never made it on my guilt radar.

Elva and I have some history with this kind of stuff. She pulled me aside and questioned me when I dropped off Pixie after a doctors appointment.
"What happened to her legs?" she asked, pointing to the four band aids on Pixie's thighs.
"She had her 4 month immunizations today."
"Those are all from shots?"
"I don't think doctors give that many shots to babies."
"Mine did."
"No...babies don't get that many shots..."

So the late breaking news is that I abuse my children. Next time I go to the gym remind me to feed Cher Skittles beforehand. I'd love to see how Elva would react to that colorful situation. Taste the rainbow, baby!


Amy said...

Man, Elva is a tyrant, huh? James only wears pants on Sundays, and my Y lady has never said a thing.

Amy said...

Perfect timing, Sarah. I just walked into my London hotel room after being kicked out of the Globe Theatre because somebody complained my 1-year-old son was distracting. Strangely, he wasn't yelling or crying or throwing things. In fact the apologetic usher who had to escort me out said, "I don't understand--he's being a perfect angel." All I can assume is that the complainer was distracted by my son's adorably good behavior. (Truth be told, I hadn't really expected to make it through the whole show, but the injustice!)

Sarah said...

I'm so sorry, Amy! Getting kicked out of the YMCA is one thing, getting booted from The Globe because of an abnormally cute child is quite another.

Pants on Sundays, huh? Sounds like my hubby.

Rachelle said...

Ha!! Been there done that.
Had a babysitter on the phone with the police when I came home one night. Seems she was concerned my 2 year old had sustained some sort of brain damage.
His behavior was different than last time she sat him.
He kept falling over and flopping around.....

They were watching The Wizard of Oz at the time..... he was imitating the Scarecrow...... during "If I Only Had a Brain"...... indeed, a fitting song for the sitter, who BTW, had sat her last.

Once I got a visit from the police about something that had happened while I was in the hospital. I, yes me, I- was in trouble for the fact that my roomate had accidentally lost my 4 year old at the fireworks display. It actually went on MY record.

Bad enough that my mother didn't tell me my child was lost for an hour (he managed to find the fire trucks and hang out with the cops)while I was in intensive care, but that visit took the cake...

pflower10 said...

Elva needs to lighten up!! Do you think she looks under the band-aids when you weren't there?

AzĂșcar said...

Wow. Maybe Elva can sit for you the next time you leave your babies to galavant around Europe. Make sure you leave her some crayons and a bag of pre-rinsed lettuce, that should cover the kids.

Jenny said...

Do you go to the Y because you care about your body? Or is it for the free childcare?

Sarah said...

I'd like to think it was because I cared about my body, but sometimes I drop the girls off then just sit downstairs with a magazine for 1/2 hour. I dont' think I'm the only one - there are an awful lot of loitering moms at that place!

Kate said...

This woman means business!

Reading it I was reminded of being at our old apartment, outside with my dog. At the time he was about 65-70lbs (at 5-6 months old). I woman came up to me and said, "He's very skinny. Have you taken him to the vet?" I kept waiting for animal control to show up and confiscate my dog for neglect!

the wiz said...

You know, Sarah, it sounds to me like Charlotte might have a milk allergy. The excessive crying and the excessive spit up are both classic symptoms. (Of course, so is growing slowly, and clearly she doesn't have that problem, hee hee)

You might want to ask at her next check up. It could just be reflux too, but that's also a symptom of an allergy sometimes.

My second one had a milk allergy as a baby, and yes, it was a total pain,but she grew out of it. It's a common one to grow out of.

Annie said...

"I don't think doctors give that many shots to babies."

Alternative retort:
"Maybe not in your country, Elva."

Practical tip:
Disposable bibs. Put on 10 at a time. Every time she spits up, take off soiled bib to unveil a clean and dry one underneath. I know, it's genius. Where's my million? Didn't you promise us all we would get rich?

Annie said...

P.S. I never visit my m.i.l in So. Cal. on Wednesdays. That is when her El Salvadorian cleaning lady comes. She always hassels me about not putting jackets on the kids.

"Rosa, we are from Colorado, this is warm to us."

chanel said...

dios mio! ha!
seriously how are you this calm in the face of injustice???

Nancy Sabina said...

I once had a women follow me around the grocery store for like 5 minutes complaining to me, and then muttering under her breath in Spanish, that my baby was too young to be out in public (he was about 5 weeks!). When I retorted that obviously we needed food she spat back "don't you have family? They take care of you?" I don't know why I bothered to keep talking to her but I replied "Yes, my mother was here for a full week after the baby was born." She just stared at me like she was debating snatching my baby and running. Finally she went away though and I resumed my grocery store, Target, then to a friends trip and did NOT feel guilty.

Heffalump said...

Don't tell Elva where I live. Her kind of attention is all we need here!
Maybe you should sew a onesie out of waterproof fabric, then you can show her that Charlotte is dry underneath all of the spit up.