On March 4, 2019, we had an appointment at the immigration office in Nonthaburi, Thailand. Dorian had his first passport renewal and needed his visa transferred to the new passport (I was in my mid-30’s when I got my FIRST passport!).
Angie’s school was generous in assisting us with the process, providing transport and chaperone services. All we had to do was show up at school, ride to the immigration office, sit around while our chaperone handled the paperwork for us, then ride back to school. Simple, right?
As I expected, there would probably be a few hiccups in our operation. For starters, we needed to arrive on campus at 7:40 a.m. So, I woke the kids up a little earlier than usual to allow for any surprises that they may have had in store for me (wet bed/sheets/pajamas). I made sure they each had time to poo after breakfast, too. Neither of them took advantage of that. So, as we were about to put our shoes on, Maiko pooped (of course). I changed her quickly, well aware that our time buffer was fading away.
Shoes on, out the door, a quick one-minute ride in the golf cart to school. I carried Maiko, held Dorian’s hand, and race-walked to the office to meet our driver/chaperone. He instructed us to wait in the front of the campus while he gathered our documents and brought the car around to pick us up. During the wait, one of Angie’s colleagues said hello and that he’d be joining us to the immigration office. It turned out he also needed his visa transferred to a new passport.
The car pulled up front to pick us all up. It was a Toyota Fortuner (4Runner in the USA) and had lots of room for us all. The Wongs took up the back seat while our new friend, Jeff, rode up front. Off to a smooth start, and the ride was going well, albeit slow due to some heavy traffic. Nice morning conversation and getting-to-know-you banter was exchanged between Jeff and myself in the meantime.
I had no reason to think that our excursion would be any different than this for the remainder of our time. Maiko had something more to offer. I heard a soft garble of a sound, then instinctively reached over to place my hand under her chin. My intent was to get her to look up at me, so I could ask her if she was okay. What I got instead was a palm full of that morning’s banana and oats. It took me a second to process what I was seeing/feeling/experiencing. Meanwhile my body was in auto-dad mode, somehow keeping my palm of oats steady while reaching across my body to open my backpack on the floor with my other hand. I pulled out a spare diaper and tore it in half, creating an improvised vomit mask/receptacle. It worked quite well, actually. Poor Maiko was scared, confused, and visibly uncomfortable. I did my best to reassure her and provide comfort.
That was the first time Maiko threw up! In fact, neither of them have been active vomiters thus far, so it was an unusual experience for me, too. FYI, Dorian’s first and only vomit so far happened during the summer of 2018, at cousin Trillian’s house in Bozeman, Montana. Let’s get back to our scene. I’ve got a diaper vomit mask under Maiko’s chin, Dorian is gasping at us, and the two gentlemen up front now had to deal with the glorious smell of fresh vomit!
It wasn’t long before Maiko seemed to be through the expulsion phase, so I moved on to the cleanup. The diaper was easy to fold and roll up, but the crazy part was all the slimy bits of oats that had gotten on her shirt. I ultimately chose to take her shirt off and threw it in the spare plastic bag alongside the diaper. I needed to reduce the smell in the vehicle as soon as possible! It was pretty gnarly in there, and I am grateful that both of the guys up front had children of their own. Their gentle acceptance of the situation gave me less to worry about in the moment.
I learned a couple of things from that car ride. Leather seats hold their value if you have children. It was pretty easy to wipe up any bits that I missed from the leather surface. If that car had fabric seats, I may have had to offer purchasing the vehicle. Also, wipes do not work so well with vomit, at least banana-and-oats vomit on t-shirts. It was more of a smear than removal type of effect.
So, we arrived at the immigration office to get have Dorian’s paperwork processed. But, I was unprepared for Maiko to have lost an article of clothing. No extra clothes! Sorry, Maiko! You spent all morning in the immigration office with no shirt. Not that you cared, but we did get some looks. People were mostly curious and just happy to see a couple of cute kids.
We waited for well over an hour, and I kept asking Dorian if he needed to go potty. He kept saying, “No.” and I had to consider pulling the dad card and making him go. But I decided to trust him, and it worked out okay (whew). I had brought snacks with me, but I chose not to offer any food because I didn’t know what was going on with Maiko’s tummy. I didn’t want her to throw up again on the way back, if possible. I also knew that if I offered some to Dorian, I would create one hell of a situation for all the people in that room if I were to deny Maiko some, too. She can get pretty loud!
I did my best to keep them entertained and distracted from any signs of hunger or thirst. We spent a lot of time (way too much time) looking out the window and commenting on the sun, clouds, and birds. Maiko did her fair share of walking around, smiling and giving high fives to people in the room. I was relieved when we were finally cleared to return to mom’s school. Further relief was found when we opened the car doors and it didn’t wreak of vomit. That meant I did a proper cleanup!
When we got back to campus, we were going to meet Angie for lunch. Maiko had no shirt, so we made a quick pit-stop at the school store. Fortunately, they had some toddler-sized t-shirts available! I purchased one and put it on her. It was funny to see Angie’s reaction when we paraded into her room. “What’s up with the shirt?,” she asked with a smile, while I sighed and began the re-telling of that morning’s events.
Maiko was fine after that, so it seemed to be a one-off type of thing. What timing, though! Later that afternoon, I was talking to her about what happened in the car and Maiko kept saying, “BLAH, oats come out o’er there. BLAH!” Thanks, Maiko, for making a memory out of what probably would have been a forgettable morning!