In his infancy, the Car-Sick Kid hated car trips. My normally placid baby would arch his back and screech as I tried to plug him into his seat. I had hardened my heart to his screeches, knowing that they would dwindle to bitter bleats by the time we got to our destination. Good times.
The Car-Sick Kid unveiled his true self on his first long car trip from Alice Springs to Tennant Creek, when he screeched for an hour before violently throwing up on his steamy little body, five minutes away from the Devil’s Marbles and 100 kilometres away from the Tennant Creek township and running water. It was the start of his illustrious car-sick career.
Over the years, I have tried every so called remedy: shoes and socks off, windows open, ginger or ginger products (ginger beer was a disaster for the sugar sensitive car-sick kid!). Frankly, an ice cream container, a towel and mighty quick reflexes were the only consistently successful applications.
Last year when my son was 9, we took a family trip to the coast; one that inevitably means traversing Clyde Mountain. Picturesque though it may be, the Clyde has hairpin turns on steep slopes. Car-Sick Kid was asleep while his brother and sister watched a DVD (God Bless the car DVD). I sat in the front and stared at a spot on the windscreen, finishing my coffee while SH swooped the car around the curves like Peter Brock or that Andretti guy, you know, the car racer. Such a bad move – but I’d newly started this thing where I was no longer going to repeatedly remind him not to do things that I had reminded him not to do before. Like taking hairpin curves too fast with car sickees in the vehicle. But anyway.
While focussing the very core of my nauseous being on what was once possibly a dainty and attractive flying insect now smashed on the windscreen in front of me, I heard a little grunt. And then a little cough. And before I knew it, I was whipping around with my empty (Thank Heavens, can you imagine the mess? the smell? the….ooh….just…..give me a second….) – my empty travel mug. I was Buffy the Vomit Catcher, with a reactive reflex I never knew I had. Every last errr…bit was captured. I never did get a replacement mug.
I blame myself (what, not enough guilt?) – he gets it from my side of the family. My mother’s stories of rolling with nausea at the fumes of Nana’s Oil of Ulan – unable to crack a window lest it unsettle Nan’s blow wave, matched my own experiences 20 years later. My brother once strained blackberry seeds through his teeth in a projectile that hit the windscreen from the backseat – and then bounced back again.
And I, I am a car-sick kid grown, unfortunately, to a Car-Sick Grownup. Pathetic. I’m lucky because I get the front seat by default (I’m bigger than you three, so I get to sit in the front. Plus, I gave birth to you, so I deserve it.) But don’t ask me to look at maps or read too many signs out loud to you if you’re driving with me in the car. I’m just saying.