The Pinto Bean Fire Hose

I think my daughter is trying to kill me.

Melodramatic? Maybe.  But the fact remains.

It started off innocently enough.  She came home from school and things were as usual.  She ate when she got home, and she ate at dinner time.  She ate pinto beans, her favorite.  She ate a lot.  A lot. She ate some other stuff, too, but primarily it was beans.

I noticed she was fairly quiet, but it was close to the end of the week, and sometimes she is pretty much worn out by the time the end of the week rolls around.  Fine.

Let me offer a brief preface before continuing.  I have one rug in my house.  One rug. I have no carpet.  I hate carpet.  If I was ever to be elected as the supreme ruler of the universe (unlikely, my college days would haunt me) my first official act would be to ban all carpet from the planet.  I figure we could reinstate the space program just long enough to launch all carpet (especially shag) into outer space.  Anyway, there is no carpet in my house.  One of the primary selling features of this house was that it was one hundred percent carpet free.  But I do have that one rug, right at the top of the stairs.

(Note: I like to show off my literary chops whenever possible.  Have you picked up any foreshadowing yet?)

Bedtime rolled around, and I remarked on my daughter’s paleness.  My husband uttered the now infamous words: “I hope she’s not getting sick.”

She was.  She did.

At the approximate moment her feet felt the rug at the top of the stairs, her digestive system shifted into Full Reverse Thrust Mode.  Remember the pinto beans?


If you ever have the opportunity to see semi-digested pinto beans shot at high velocity from a fire hose, don’t.  It isn’t as fascinating as it sounds.

When my husband cried out “Bring a towel!” I knew we were in trouble.

As it turns out, one towel wasn’t quite enough.  The rug was a write off, as was every article of clothing both my daughter and my husband were wearing.  If I may, I’d like to pause for a moment to offer a little advice to all you new or soon-to-be parents out there.  You know how parenting is depicted on television commercials (usually for diapers) as this warm, fuzzy experience, with lots of smiles and gleaming white carpets and shiny counter tops?  And how even a “dirty” diaper isn’t really dirty?  Well, watch those commercials closely.  Hold on to them.

You’ll need some sort of pleasant memory to focus on when your child vomits into your cupped hands.

(Why do I do this?  When I see she’s getting ready to puke, why do I try to catch it?  Do I think, somehow, by holding out my hands I can actually stop the puke from hitting the floor?  Please, please tell me I’m not the only one who has this reflex reaction.  Some of you out there have done it before, right?  RIGHT?)

Anyway, the carnage continued throughout the night.  I did laundry all night long.  Once, I heard this lady I know talking about how all of her grand kids had a stomach virus at her house at the same time, and they were getting to the point where they thought they were going to have to start using curtains as blankets.  At the time, I thought this was a little odd, but after the other night, I see her point.  The puke mechanism was working much faster than my washing machine.

Also, my daughter has this uncanny ability to completely miss whatever pad or towel I put down in a vain effort to catch the mess (which had also migrated south, if you get my meaning.)  Seriously, there will be mess on every other available surface except the towel.

We survived, and the symptoms were actually pretty short-lived.  Of course, I suffered from PPSD (Post Puke Stress Disorder) for a day or two.  You know what I’m talking about–every time someone coughs or burps, you twitch.

And if you’re like me, you hold out your hands.


I’m linking up this week with a group of outstanding writers over at Yeah Write. Go check it out!



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39 Comments on "The Pinto Bean Fire Hose"

  1. Lady goo goo gaga
    29/01/2013 at 10:32 pm Permalink

    Lol, so true about catching the barf…why do we do this???
    Lol re: “bring a towel!!!!”

  2. Janice
    30/01/2013 at 6:51 am Permalink

    If you figure out why, let me know.

  3. gem
    29/01/2013 at 10:43 pm Permalink

    After two tries and two “gee, I ak a computer lemme reboot the page ans erase your masterpiece” I surrender. I had a clever comment relating your experience with my $1,000 persian rug anc dog vomit. Grr.

    Found you on yeahwrite where I lurk and sometimes post.

  4. Janice
    30/01/2013 at 6:52 am Permalink

    Thank goodness mine was relatively cheap.

  5. Mayor Gia
    29/01/2013 at 11:33 pm Permalink

    NOOOOO no the rug! And ick. How…unpleasant for all of you.

  6. Yocheved
    30/01/2013 at 12:00 am Permalink

    Oh man, good times!

    Reminds me of when my daughter was about 6 months old. She was being really fussy, which is unusual for her. I was holding her and trying to cheer her up. I held her away from me and smiled at her, and that made her giggle. She gave me a really big smile, and then proceeded to throw up all over my favorite cashmere sweater!

    (Seriously, who wears a cashmere sweater around a baby? A new mom, that’s who!) I threw the sweater in the trash, because no dry cleaner in the world deserves to be tortured like that. Cleaned up the daughter, and thought all was well.

    The next day, I came down with the Flu of Doom, but that’s another story for another time.

    Anyway, that’s when I realized that yes, I had truly and officially become “a parent”.

  7. Janice
    30/01/2013 at 6:55 am Permalink

    My son threw up against the side of my husband’s head once. He was holding my son up in the air like that. He turned his head. I guess it was better your sweater than in your face.

  8. Larks
    30/01/2013 at 3:16 am Permalink

    This post has so much truth on so many levels. Why do we cup our hands? Why haven’t we shot all shag carpeting into space? Why do sick children have ‘good rug’ radar? Life is very mysterious.

  9. Janice
    30/01/2013 at 6:56 am Permalink


  10. Dana
    30/01/2013 at 8:17 am Permalink

    Aw, wow. I’m not a mother, but I know my mom did that cupped hands move a time or two. Bless her heart.

  11. Janice
    30/01/2013 at 9:00 am Permalink

    I am very happy to know it isn’t just me, and that it has spanned the generations.

  12. Lance
    30/01/2013 at 8:46 am Permalink

    Oh yeah, she has it in for you.

    Usually I’m not scatalogical but some puke stories have to be shared. Three years ago, my now 9-year-old daughter was 6. She had gotten into her Halloween candy hardcore and eaten about three or four oacks on those dippin sticks things that are green. a few hours later she wakes us up thorwing green vom around the kitchen. My wife’s yelling “get her to the bathroom”. Knowing that would just put green goo everywhere I let the linoleum catch the hell and wiped it up after she was done.

    Parenting sucks.

  13. Janice
    30/01/2013 at 9:00 am Permalink

    Nice. Green. Sort of like Linda Blair. Her head didn’t turn around did it? At least you let the floor catch it instead of trying to catch it yourself.

  14. Samantha Brinn Merel
    30/01/2013 at 9:58 am Permalink

    Ugh gross. I’m not a parent yet, but I was that kid who threw up all the time, and I definitely remember my mom trying to catch it in her hands a time or two…

  15. Janice
    30/01/2013 at 10:14 am Permalink

    More proof that parenthood fries your brain.

    My daughter used to be that kid, too. Luckily she has grown out of it a little.

  16. Erica M
    30/01/2013 at 1:40 pm Permalink

    I have a scratch on my iPhone from dropping it then skidding it across the tile bedroom floor in the frenzy of getting my toddler to the toilet in mid-vom because I’d just put on clean sheets twenty minutes before putting him to bed for the night. Saved the sheets. Who cares about the phone?

  17. Janice
    30/01/2013 at 5:52 pm Permalink

    Well done. It’s sort of like, “Get outta my way!” But they are quick and crafty. It’s like a battle of wills.

  18. Mamarific
    30/01/2013 at 3:18 pm Permalink

    Great job making a stomach virus funny. Interesting how they always miss the bucket, blanket, etc.

  19. Marcy
    30/01/2013 at 5:44 pm Permalink

    Oh man, how gross. I have never had the impulse to try to catch it. I tend to back up and scream.

  20. Janice
    30/01/2013 at 5:53 pm Permalink

    I guess that’s the squeamish thing, right? Don’t let it get you down. It’s not like having someone throw up in your hands is something to aim for as a life goal, you know?

  21. My Half Assed Life
    30/01/2013 at 6:40 pm Permalink

    I have completely tried to catch puke before. You hit the point where you really don’t care just so long as you can avoid cleaning up one more pile of it.

  22. Dana
    30/01/2013 at 8:19 pm Permalink

    I’ve never tried to catch puke, but I don’t have kids. This is one of those stories that act as good “birth control” for me, because I couldn’t imagine myself remaining even remotely calm or sane during something like this!

  23. Janice
    30/01/2013 at 9:56 pm Permalink

    It is amazing what you can do under pressure.

  24. Dawn Beronilla
    30/01/2013 at 8:52 pm Permalink

    Haha, it’s hilarious that we all try to catch the barf!
    Oh motherhood, you’re so glamorous.

  25. Janice
    30/01/2013 at 9:57 pm Permalink

    Isn’t it, though? That’s the first thing I think every day. Glamor, glamor, glamor!

  26. Kristin
    30/01/2013 at 9:45 pm Permalink

    I have done the cupped hands, too. Such a strange instinct. Man, do I hate puke.

  27. Jared Karol
    30/01/2013 at 11:48 pm Permalink

    So true about holding out our hands. . .very similar to holding your right arm across the chest of the person in the passenger seat when you stop suddenly in the car. As if a backhand is going to stop the weight of a person flying toward the dashboard. . .

  28. Janice
    31/01/2013 at 6:36 am Permalink

    I didn’t think of that! You’re right on!

  29. Louise Ducote
    31/01/2013 at 6:06 am Permalink

    First, you and I are soul-sisters in HATING CARPET! I won’t even get started on my anti-carpet rant or this comment will become a novella in which the world’s filthy, disgusting, filth-harboring carpet gets launched into outer space at the glorious end. Moving on: I love this post because it’s funny, tells a story and you managed to write about bodily functions with some dignity and discretion. Thank you for that! I also have (oh wait — had) one little tiny throw rug that one of my dogs somehow targeted for digestive upset even though that one tiny throw rug is surrounded by miles of tile. Yep.

  30. Janice
    31/01/2013 at 6:39 am Permalink

    I know dog owners suffer from a similar problem. I’ve been thinking–I saw on HGTV once where they painted a “rug” on the floor. Maybe we should do that!

  31. Michelle Longo
    31/01/2013 at 6:54 am Permalink

    I’m a puke catcher too, so I get you on this one! Glad she’s feeling better and I hope you were able to catch up on the laundry.

  32. Janice
    31/01/2013 at 8:20 am Permalink

    Well, technically, I never catch up on the laundry. But it is at least back into the realm of normal now!

  33. IASoupMama
    31/01/2013 at 12:45 pm Permalink

    We only have carpet upstairs and, if it were up to me, we wouldn’t have it at all. Why? Because I hate cleaning bodily fluids out of the carpet. Gah!

    If I hear that there is a stomach bug going around, I casually remind my older two where all of the wastebaskets and toilets are in the house, plus I leave big plastic mixing bowls out — just in case. My kids roll their eyes, but my DS hasn’t missed a bowl in the last three years, so my strategy must be working, right?

  34. Janice
    31/01/2013 at 1:42 pm Permalink

    You have trained them well. Since my daughter doesn’t really understand all that, you have to sort of watch for the signs. Sadly, it was late and our reaction time was somewhat diminished. Sigh.

  35. Stacie
    31/01/2013 at 1:50 pm Permalink

    Oh how awful! I’m lucky my kids are old enough now to make it to the bathroom. But, then I got a dog, so now I’ll have these stories for awhile again since I’m pretty sure the dog is never going to make it to the bathroom!

  36. Peach
    31/01/2013 at 4:38 pm Permalink

    Now that you’ve confirmed my fears, this settles it. I’m not having kids. EVER. Love, The Puke-o-phobic.

    ps – not really. But I am terrified of puke in general. How will I ever survive as a mom one day???

  37. Janice
    01/02/2013 at 7:12 am Permalink

    Oh, it’s different when it’s your kids, I promise. I mean, it isn’t great, but you can still function at least.

  38. audrey
    10/02/2013 at 7:10 pm Permalink

    Not only do I do the hand thing, I also try to grab a towel, blanket, shirt anything cloth handy because that is easier to wash than the couch or carpet (only two rooms left tip we are carpet free) .

    The worst though is the car seat. I never did figure out how to get the cover off. I just hoses it down and left it in the sun.

  39. Janice
    10/02/2013 at 10:21 pm Permalink

    Even the covers that “come off” just about require a degree in mechanical engineering to figure out!

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