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."
"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!