Laughter as an anti-nauseant

This past weekend Mr. Squab and I drove up to my dad and stepmom’s house, a little more than an hour northwest of where we live. It’s a trip we make pretty frequently – maybe one or two times a month – just to keep in touch and hang out. (Mr. Squab’s grandma lives in the same town, so we usually see her, too.) We had planned to get there at noon, but owing to my usual lack of ability to get the hell out of bed, we didn’t even get on the road until 12:15. As we were in a bit of a rush leaving the house and had NO GROCERIES, Mr. S. suggested we pick something up to eat on the way there. OK, I thought. I can do that. I can wait a little bit to eat. Uh-huh. Sure. As those of you who’ve been through this before will know, if there’s one thing that’s probably NOT a good idea when you’re in the throes of first trimester illitude, it’s waiting to eat. Because the fetus, it gets cranky. And a cranky fetus = a nauseated mommy.

What sucks about first trimester nausea is, the only thing that will make you feel less sick is the stuff that makes you feel sick in the first place. This makes me a true joy to go out to eat with (asshole).* As we drove down the freeway while I frantically sucked on a ginger altoid, Mr. S. made suggestion after suggestion to tempt my queasy palate. “How about Wendy’s? Arby’s? Do you want a burger? Salad? Fast-food or a sit down place?” My responses to each option ranged from “ehhhh” to pained looks and a waving-away motion with my hand. Finally we settled on Culvers, which for those of you outside the midwest is kind of like a fast food place with a diner menu. Gorge rising, I ordered a grilled ham and swiss on rye and a chocolate malt – a meal that under normal circumstances would rate high on the squabometer of goodness. Tried the malt: no good. (When I’m not pregnant I could LIVE off chocolate malts. Seriously. For me not to like one is like … it’s like a harbinger of the mommy apocalypse or something.) Gave said malt to Mr. Squab. Started nibbling on the ham and cheese, which was deemed minimally acceptable by the tyrannical fetus.

It was at this point that the cute little family came in. A tired-looking mom with a little girl who was maybe five, and a little boy about three. The children were freaking adorable: round and squat and smiling. Also active: the little boy, in particular, kept getting down from his chair to go investigate various parts of the restaurant. Once the mother had the kids settled, she began making mini trips back and forth to the table to get napkins, straws, ketchup, etc., leaving the little girl to watch the little boy for the two seconds she was gone. The little boy stayed fairly preoccupied with the many things he could play with on the table: a vase with artificial flowers in it, the ceramic sugar packet holder, his straw wrapper, the salt shaker and then, oh rapture unconfined, he found the pepper shaker. He was very very interested in the pepper shaker. First he scrutinized it closely. Then, he held it up to his little nose and experienced the piquant aroma. THEN, and this is almost the best part, he licked the top of the pepper shaker. Licked it! And not only did he lick it, he LIKED it. To top it all off, and this IS the best part, he poured a line of pepper onto the bare table, and LICKED IT ALL UP!! This kid, he had awesome pepper-related powers.

But here’s the funny part: as soon as I saw that kid licking the pepper shaker, I (of course) started hooting with laughter, and as soon as I started laughing, the nausea started to go right away. Just watching that little pepper fiend sneak his spice of choice before his mom could come back and take it away made me feel about 100% better. Clearly, my future kid is already developing a fine sense of humor, but what will I do the next time this happens if there are no pepper-eating kids around? Anyone know any good jokes?

*The “asshole” is in reference to a family joke, namely: A new assistant professor at Harvard is striding purposefully down the hallway when he’s stopped by a janitor. “Hey, can you tell me where the library’s at?” the janitor asks. “Sir,” the professor replies, “here at Harvard we do not end our questions in prepositions.” “OK,” responds the janitor, “Can you tell me where the library’s at, asshole?” My family’s taste in jokes runs to the nerdy.

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