Here's what you do when your three-year-old pukes in the car. Or at least, this is what we did.
1. Hold your breath while you hose down the kid
2. Unbuckle the car seat from the car while being very careful not to spill puke everywhere
3. Be very thankful that you used a seat protector with raised edges before installing car seat. This way you can dump most of the puke out of it and escape having to clean the car's upholstery
3. Gag and wretch and try not to puke all over the car seat that is already covered in puke
4. Remind yourself to hold your breath
5. Size up the situation and realize you have absolutely no clue how to disassemble a puke covered car seat
6. Search for the instruction manual
7. Read the directions for dissembling seat for cleaning while mumbling "Duh?" and "Huh?" intermittently
8. Consider just throwing the whole puke covered mess away and going shopping instead
9. Read the directions three more times while scratching your head and mumbling expletives
10. Get up the nerve to attempt step one
11. Realize that five more readings of the instructions does not make any clearer where the heck "Button A" and "Slot B" are and that even standing on your head and blinking your eyes rapidly at the diagrams does not make them look like anything recognizable
12. Curse your master's degree for not teaching you important things like this
13. Consider reading the directions in French in case they make more sense
14. Continue gagging and cussing while fumbling through an amazing mess of straps and buckles and cushions while trying desperately not to get any offensive smelling matter on your hands
15. After an hour passes, give up on trying to keep your hands free of puke because you realize it's already up to your elbows and how in the heck did it get behind your left ear, anyway?
Fortunately, Daughter wasn't really "sick." She apparently got car sick riding with Husband home from Grandpa and Grandma's house. As much as the aftermath of the puke event elicited from me horror and disdain and a strange tic that looked a lot like uncontrollable gagging motions, I couldn't blame her. I get car sick riding with Husband as well.
This morning all the parts appeared dry after their trip through the washing machine, and they all passed the sniff test (I have a nose that is at least one thousand times more sensitive than a blood hound's). I parked the kids in front of Sesame Street and took on the daunting task of putting the car seat back together. As expected, I had no clue where to start, but I eventually managed to figure it out. Sort of. For those of you who would like some tips, here is how I did it:
1. Pick up a strap and study it intently while glancing back and forth from strap to seat
2. Scratch your head (this always seems to help)
3. Attempt to stick one end of a strap in a random slot (who the heck cares if it's "Slot A" or "Slot B") ...maybe you'll get lucky
4. Realize that you are not only apparently stupid, but also not lucky
5. Consider reading the French directions again
6. Call your husband at work. Maybe he has some sort of knowledge that surpasses your own. Surely those higher testosterone levels are good for SOMETHING
7. Interrogate your husband about where he hid the parts that appear to be missing from the whole mess
8. Don't believe your husband when he assures you no parts are missing
9. Accept his advice to examine the duplicate seat in the other vehicle
10. Wander out to the family mobile and back in the house multiple times to "examine" the problem
11. Consider taking the duplicate car seat out of the family mobile so that you can compare it to the disassembled version
12. Remind yourself of the hellish experience of simply buckling said car seat snugly back into the family mobile once it has been removed
13. Decide you don't need any more headaches.
14. Try reading the Spanish version of the directions. After all, you know a few Spanish words, like "gato" and "muy bien"
15. Realize that telling your cat that he is doing a good job isn't going to help...especially when your cat is dead
16. An hour later, when Sesame Street is just ending, realize that you've done the best you can, and assure yourself that the finished product at least resembles its original appearance, and therefore will just have to work.
I hope this little tutorial was helpful for someone, because God knows I could have used one last night and this morning!