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A Step-by-Step Guide to Remembering Why You Had Kids (or: A Recap of Our Saturday)

1. Saturday morning, run around packing for visit with relatives.

2. Toss bags by door. Look like you are going camping for a week (in reality: one day).

3. Pack whole family into car, half an hour later than planned. (Silently praise yourself and spouse for record time.)

4. Spend lovely day with relatives. Let kids suck energy out of them while you can.

5. After visit, pack kids back into car with belongings, which seem to have multiplied at relatives' house.

6. On way home, listen to Bean complain about aching belly — a common event; belly tends to miraculously self-heal at mere mention of food she likes. Tell her blithely: "We're almost home."

7. Hear Bean begin to cry. Feel first pangs of guilt and worry. Reassure her with more sympathy: "We're almost home."

8. Hand her a granola bar in hopes she's just hungry.

9. Take granola bar back after two bites.

10. Feel tension mount as Bean's crying escalates. Throw around critical insinuations about driver's decisions: "Why did you get off here??"

11. Hear funny noise.

12. Flip head around in time to see Bean vomit. All. Over. Herself. And her Red Sox bear. And her car seat.

13. Yell some G-rated profanity.

14. Don't yell what you really want to yell: "&$#@()#*!"

15. Unbuckle seat belt and turn around in time to watch Bean vomit twice as much as first round.

16. Pause for a moment to control own gag reflex while picturing blueberry pie scene from Stand By Me.

17. Hold breath and attempt to soak up pool of vomit with available Kleenex.

18. Hear Bean whimper and tell her again half-heartedly: "We're almost home."

19. Understand fully that you both know this is a crock.

20. Look over at Buddy, who hasn't said a word and is leaning to the side in his car seat, staring at Bean.

22. Catch Buddy's eye and hear him say quietly, "Mom, Dad? ... Look. Bean spit."

22. Daydream for half a second about how to incorporate this into blog.

23. Snap back to reality, where you've just dipped your hand in vomit.

24. Continue dabbing at volcanic amount of erupted bile with something akin to a Q-tip.

25. Make it home — finally.

26. Airlift Bean out of car seat.

27. Look down and wonder miserably why no one has invented a car seat without holes and slits in it.

28. Put Bean down and watch her shuffle away from car like sumo wrestler, arms lifted and parallel to ground.

29. Realize vomit is still stuck to her behind which prompts her to walk this way.

30. Laugh because the visual is really, really funny.

31. Watch spouse laugh because again — it's really, really funny.

32. Wonder how you managed to have such a funny kid.

33. Follow behind her and have existential moment about parenthood: You'll clean up vomit if you can watch them walk like sumo wrestlers.

34. Laugh/gag all the way inside.


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