I dropped the F-Bomb at least 50 times in fifteen seconds. At full volume. Right in the middle of Beverly Hills and right in the middle of the Beverly Hills sign.
Actually, I was slightly behind the Beverly Hills sign, parked, with all the doors of my minivan wide open and whacking my ride to the rhythm of my global, F-Bomb assault with, of all things, a baby towel – a baby towel covered in puke.
I was less than a quarter mile from an important TV audition when my 15 month old unloaded the entire contents of her stomach onto herself and the car seat that she was strapped into. This was not a cute, little baby spit-up, by the way. This vomit was on the order of The Exorcist. The only thing that didn’t come out were her internal organs.
My first reaction to seeing my daughter spew from my review mirror was that of extreme concern. Given the angle in which a rear-facing car seat is tilted back and the fact that a baby is strapped in so tight to minimize body movement, a simple puking incident can turn bad really quick, with the infant potentially choking to death on his/her own vomit. It doesn’t happen often but it happens often enough. Usually I don’t worry about stuff like this. My sexy, Korean wife normally sits in the second row of the minivan, in between my one and three year old. So if big trouble starts to happen with my little China’s (they’re half Korean too), sexy, Korean mama is there to save the day. But on this day, mama was not there and neither was my three year old. It was just daddy and his littlest (thanks to my babysitter bailing on me with a bs “mom just died” excuse).
So on first heave I swerved my minivan off Santa Monica Blvd and straight into a park in the 90210 (that’s where the Beverly Hills sign was). No way my 15 month old was going to auto-waterboard herself to the other side with her own barf. I skidded into a parking spot, threw off my seatbelt, and hopped into the backseat with the grace of a sensual ninja. And there I stood, staring down at my baby girl, ready to suck out the vomit from her mouth and nostrils with my very own mouth and nostrils. I was hoping it would be a small puke. Or worst case, a semi-medium one. But no, my 15 month old retched 6 times like a freshman at a frat initiation – each time pushing out more brownish-green putrid thickness than the heave before. When she was done she was covered, head to toe, with vomit. She looked like an asian, oatmeal raisin, gingerbread man-baby.
I’m no stranger to poo or puke. I’ve been a dad for over 3 years. I’ve had projectile vomit land straight into my mouth. I’ve even had projectile poo splatter across my tongue too. But this? This sandcastle of vomit piled atop my baby in my minivan, 20 minutes before a rather important TV audition? The final audition with the big decision makers and producers? The final meet and greet that will determine if I get a credit on my resume and a chunk of change in my kitty in compensation for weeks of prep, hard work, and keeping my facial skin soft, supple, and zit free? It was just too much. I got the sinking feeling that I would have to cancel my meeting and head straight back home. F-Bomb #1.
But I held on to hope. I could do this. I could manage my professional obligations even with a baby in tow. I had to find a way. I had to…
So I ran to the back of my minivan to try and search for anything to clean up this stinky mess with. All I found were the final 4 squares of a Bounty roll, a box of Kleenex, a Hello Kitty purse, and a tiny, baby towel. Seriously? F-Bomb #2.
I used the 4 Bounty squares to find my baby’s human face and the Kleenex to wipe down the shotgun splatter of vomit all over the back of my minivan. Which left me with only the tiny, baby towel to wipe up the rest. It was like bringing a dull spoon to a gun fight. Ineffectivo mas mucho, señorita. F-Bomb #3.
I stared down at my 15 month old. She looked like a pile of barf with eyes and crooked teeth. There was no way my tiny, little baby towel could clean up this environmental disaster. Not even close. And to make matters worse, I had no change of clothes for my baby. I always carry an extra set of clothes for my baby when I go out. Always. But for some reason, inexplicably, not today…of all days. F-Bomb #4.
I was screwed and I knew it. It would be an impossible mission to make my meeting AND be a responsible parent at the same time. I had to concede. The barf baby had won. The only place I was going was straight home. ASAP. F-Bomb #5.
And then I lost it…
Somehow, my subconscious took over. I had to vent. Massively.
It’s kind of strange to see what you turn into when your emotions hijack your physical body. I never knew that at my most extreme frustration point, that my version of the Hulk would be an Asian lumberjack. Only this Asian lumberjack was wearing a suit and was swinging an ax in the form of a limp, wet, barf towel. So for fifteen seconds I furiously hacked away at my minivan, screaming F-Bombs with every downstroke of my “ax”, baby puke flinging all over the 90210. F-Bombs #6 to #50+.
Now normally, a barf and a missed appointment wouldn’t push me over the edge. On a day to day, moment to moment basis, I can handle more parental stress than this (barely). But this one was different. If anything, the puke and the cancel were just the final two straws of a three year high stack that finally broke this camel’s back.
It was the perfect, parental storm. Well, it least it was for me. It was a collision of a handful of variables that taken individually or even as a combined few would be considered stressful but still manageable. But all thrown together simultaneously, shaken but not stirred, was more than enough to vaporize my rational mind and send me into a fit of fury for all of Beverly Hills to see.
What were the cocktail of ingredients that led to my dad-sanity, you may ask? Well, in no particular order…
1) Fewer than 6 days off in my entire 1,200+ day tour of duty as a dad.
2) No babysitter backup for almost a month.
3) Sexy Korean wife out of town on business travel more than usual. Me so ronrey…
4) Sleeping even less than my usual no-sleep parenting regimen as a result of trying to resurrect my acting career from the dead.
5) Carting my 15 month old around town from audition to audition much like Luke did for Yoda on Dagobah during Jedi training.
6) Eating too much McDonald’s and Beef Bowl.
7) Getting chubby as a result of eating too much McDonald’s and Beef Bowl.
8 ) Getting even chubbier as a result of extended periods of no exercise and eating too much McDonald’s and Beef Bowl.
9) Feeling more like the help instead of the sexual tiger that I once was (or thought I was).
10) Realizing that my minivan may just be the sportiest car I will ever own.
11) Parental etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…
So there you go. If anyone should win a medal for parental idiocy, the gold medal victor should be me (at least for a week). Basically, I thought I could burn both ends of my candle with a blowtorch and then douse the whole thing with actor-desperation gasoline and expect life to flow peacefully through nature’s meadow, bunnies and turtles blowing kisses of love. I should have known better. The only thing that got blown was my sanity.
But why was I trying to slice the door off my minivan with a barf towel? What brought me to that level of (temporary) crazy? The answer to that is sadly simple – my unrealistic expectations run amok. Somehow, through extreme, extreme physical and mental fatigue, the whole psychological/spiritual conundrum of “wanting what you don’t have and not appreciating what you do” got the best of me. Big time. Stuff like, “If only I wasn’t a dad, I would be on a TV series by now, famous and making more money than my wife.” Shit like that. Yeah, toxic shit like that. I don’t want to bore you with the details. I know many of you are far stronger than me mentally and wiser too. So I’ll just encapsulate a possible reason for my insane, Asian lumberjack outburst with this – “when my baby threw up her guts in the backseat of my minivan only minutes from a ‘life changing’ Hollywood meeting, it was her fault that daddy wasn’t where he was supposed to be in life, career, and happiness.” Yeah, I know…
The chattering of teeth snapped me out of my ridiculous man-tantrum. My baby daughter, still drenched in her own puke and still strapped to her car seat, was cold. Actually, she was freezing. It was an unusually chilly and grey day in Los Angeles and I had all the doors of the minivan wide open to air out the stomach stench. She was shaking all over, her eyes bugging and her lips already turning a pale blue. I felt like such a dick. I immediately let go of my issues and focused on my little angel whom I temporarily neglected to protect. It was my first time violating the daddy code and it would forever be my last. I snatched her out of the vomit, stripped her down naked, wrapped her in her favorite pink blanket, and clenched her tight so that my body heat could warm her to comfort. I closed all the doors and turned the heater on to high, transforming my minivan into a barf sauna. And there I sat, with my widows slowly fogging. Holding on to my baby. Holding on to my self. Just holding on. Barely…
Parenting is certainly a most unexpected trip.
Until we puke again…Daddy Fan out
* p.s. -I know this was a long one so thanks for reading.
* p.p.s. - Ultimately I did make it to that meeting. How you may ask? Well, I did the thing that every man does when he finds himself in a parental Kobayashi Maru – I called my wife for help. Luckily for me she was about to take lunch and was only 6 miles away. So she streaked on over to save the day (yet again). While she watched over vomit baby, trying very hard not to vomit herself, I was gifted the precious minutes I needed to do my work. After, I returned to the minivan, did the baby exchange, and my wife, as quickly as she came, departed back to her office. Gotta love having a sexy, Korean wife, lover mama. Get one. If you can afford one.
* p.p.p.s. – My meeting went well. Very well. I didn’t get the job.