Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Story Time Fail

We went to the Barnes and Noble story time for toddlers this morning. It was our first time and since it is a good 20 minutes away and it starts at 9:30, just getting there on time was a feat for us (we like our slow leisurely mornings). Anyway, Elijah was excited and he sat still for all three stories. In fact he was extra snuggly which I loved. He was a little quiet and subdued, but sometimes being around a lot of new people can make him that way at first, otherwise he seemed like his normal self. After the stories, it was time for a craft. Elijah was too nervous to go up and get a coloring sheet for himself, so we were waiting for the other kids to go, and then I was going to go up front and grab one for him.

 In the mean time, Elijah was standing really close to me looking at the kiddos behind us, all of a sudden I felt something really warm on my leg, before I realized what was happening Elijah threw up about 4 more times...Oh dear Lord! No warning at all. It was so sad. And disgusting - I don't ever like throw up, but it is especially hard to deal with when I am pregnant and extra sensitive to smells. I didn't really know what to do, I was embarrassed and sad for my poor little boy and a little bit disgusted. Thankfully (I guess), all of the throw up ended up on me, Elijah and the floor; by thankfully I mean I am thankful it didn't get on anyone or anything else.

I sat there stunned for a moment - ONE (out of like 15) of the moms looked for wipes to help me, and then said sorry she didn't have any and quickly moved away from us. Everyone else scattered and sort of stared at us. I finally stared moving, grabbed the wipes out of Elijah's bag (thank God we brought it in with us), wiped him down as best I could and then sat him down on the bench next to me. He sat there so sweetly and didn't move or fuss at all. I then proceeded to try to clean myself up and then our stuff and the carpet. Finally, one of the workers brought some paper towels, a trash can and some Lysol wipes. Meanwhile I am still being stared at by at least 7 other moms...talk about humiliating. I just wanted to get out of there...

By this time I am getting hungry too (I always wait too long to eat something substantial enough in the morning), so that, along with the smell and the embarrassment, made me nauseous, sweaty and shaky. I was literally trembling. Anyway, I did the best I could with the clean up, picked up my sweet little boy, tried to hold my head up high (and not burst in to tears) and got out of there as quickly as possible.

I don't want to sound harsh or judgmental, but I was so surprised that NO ONE helped us. I know some people can't deal with throw up and that is totally understandable and I know others had their own little ones to deal with, but even just a kind word of support would have gone a long way in that situation. I felt so judged, as if I knew my kiddo was sick and decided to bring him around all these other kids anyway - I would never do that...I had no indication that he wasn't feeling well. If I had even been suspicious we would have stayed home. I am not sure how I would have reacted had I been on the other side in this situation, but I hope I would have at least tried to help. I KNOW now (after having this experience today) that I would try to help in whatever way possible.

This is not meant to be an "oh poor me!" story or even an "aren't they horrible?" story, it was more like an eye opening experience. One that I wanted to share (no profound reason or lesson learned). I've had random things happen before - cranky baby throwing a fit (screaming) in the store, spilling something all over myself, having a baby with a poopy diaper and realizing I didn't restock the diaper bag so changing him would have to wait until we got home, having my kid fall out of his stroller and bust his lip open (the ONE time I didn't strap him in since we were just wheeling around the corner to the changing table), letting my child stand in the "wrong" part of the basket at the store and having a stranger witness him almost fall out (thank God it was an almost), telling my child to "shut-up", having my sister overhear and feeling like a complete failure - just to name a few. All of those things shook me up and/or made me embarrassed, but for some reason, today was the worst.

I am not sure what I want to say through all of this except that if I see someone in a tough situation, I want to try to help - especially a mom - we all know how challenging motherhood can be at times. Even if I feel unsure of what to do or if they even want my help, I at least want to ask, to offer. Who knows what kind of state they are in or what kind of day they have had, this may be the last straw, it may be their breaking point and even just a little word of encouragement could give them the strength to get through the next few moments.

Another thing I would like to say is for all you moms, you are not alone - in whatever you are facing today. You are not alone and you are doing a FANTASTIC job! Give yourself a break when you "mess up" and don't be afraid to ask for or receive help (this can be challenging for me). God always gives enough grace for the day - especially in situations like today - it may have been a bit traumatic, but His grace totally covered us.

I would love to hear what you all think about all this??

And thanks for letting me share - writing helps me process and learn.


  1. Definitely agree someone should have helped you! Poor Elijah and poor you! Crazy moments are no fun, but definitely great lessons to learn from them. :-)

  2. I can't believe no one helped you! That would have been my first inclination! I mean, I'm not a mom, but I certainly don't think that when I become one I'm suddenly going to change in that aspect... I get wanting to protect your child from any sickness but it's not like that had to actually clean up the throw up. Geesh. I'm annoyed. ha That's just ridiculous and so very unkind.


  3. Ok - I wrote a response and then it erased...hopefully this will work)
    I can't believe no one helped you :( I despise throw up but can confidently say that I while I probably would not have helped mop it up, I woulda run around like a crazy woman trying to find supplies to help you. I'm so sorry. But I am glad you survived strong mama. And I'm even more glad you got treats at Panera. Thank you for being real and reminding us we're not alone. I'm sending you a BIG HUG!!

  4. God is so good for his sufficient grace! What a great reminder Hannah! Thank you!
    I remember when Jude was still throwing up on a regular basis (for reasons you know) and we couldn't always judge when it would come. Often times it was in public with other kids and moms around and I always felt the piercing eyes of all the moms. I could "hear" them scolding me for bringing him out in public. If it fit the situation I would try to explain our situation, but still felt condemned. I can only imagine the conversations they had later hehind closed doors, as they wathced me catch his throw up, ball up the rag and tuck it in our bag as I'd done so many times before! :) I've seen the looks of horror on peoples faces, while I tried to handle it with grace as though it was a normal part of life (which it was for so many years). But there was always that time, when I hadn't replished our throw-up rags or I missed his cues and was caught off guard. Those years really put my deodorante to the test! ;)
    My heart ached for you as I read your account and I wished I could've been there to scoop Elijah up for you and get him all cleaned off, while you took a breather and got yourself all taken care of. What a blessing though, that we can look at those hard times and not be bitter, as you mentioned, but see God's sufficient grace!