“Next time I see you, I will be sure to make sure that this doesn’t happen,” I said to the midwife.
Seven months later, due to some rather high doses of steroids, I am still in maternity pants. They are still almost always covered in spit up. Had I known I’d spend longer post-pregnancy in maternity pants than I spent during pregnancy, I definitely would have invested in more pants–particularly since they’re regularly soaked in foul-smelling regurgitated hypoallergenic formula.
I went to meet a friend for lunch the other day and realized I had spit up in my hair and matted behind my ear. My husband and I go out for dinner with clumps of spit up on our shirts and pants. The flow is so constant that if we wanted to be clean before we left the house, we would never leave the house. And if we left the house with the baby, the odds of us being covered in spit up again within minutes are quite high. While we were prepared for many different aspects of parenting, the spit up that is being absorbed into my skin the majority of the time has been quite a surprise.
He is getting older now, and while he used to not really notice what was happening, he’s now kind of sad about spitting up. Sometimes he sticks his fingers in it to see if it makes a good toy; more often he cries until we clean it up. Yesterday, he tried to eat it. We thought initially that he wanted to be attachment parented, because whenever we put him down he cried hysterically and for the first weeks we took turns holding him upright all night. Eventually we figured out that when he lay down, he spat up on himself and the acid burned his throat.
There are Jewish rituals for blessing food before you eat, making a blessing after you eat, dealing with menstruation, childbirth, naming, seeing a rainbow, seeing an ugly person, and counting the days between the second day of Pesach and Shavuot. There is a blessing to be said after going to the bathroom, thanking God for a system that does its thing correctly. I feel like there should also be a blessing for those who can keep their food down, whose openings and hollows work on both ends.
There is nothing for the constant flow of spit up that my son sadly releases many times each day and that coats my clothing, his clothing, my sheets, his sheets, and everything else. I feel like something so all-present should have its own rituals, its own liturgy, its own songs–or at least come with a washing machine. I feel like I could write “Spit Up–The Musical!”–a two hour long extravaganza of song and dance highlighting the moment when you realize that reason your arm feels warm on a cold day is that it is covered with what was actually supposed to be your son’s lunch.
Our pediatrician keeps assuring us that the end of the spit up era is near, and that in 20 years the baby will not throw up on potential employers during job interviews. I have my fingers crossed, as I have learned the hard way that spit up is rather hard to get out of suits.