13 things I've learned about handling a child's motion sickness

As you do when you are the parent of a child with some kind of health issue or even glitch, I have become an expert at dealing with motion sickness.

For as long as I can remember, my son has been what my mother calls "an urper." Especially on planes. Or in the car. Or when the stroller was trucking along too fast through the neighborhood. It's not a huge deal, not any kind of medical crisis, but it is something we've either had to prepare well for or deal with accordingly.

* I've learned that Dramamine for adults is a lot less expensive and exactly the same as the formula for kids. The adult version is approved for child use, and the orange flavor tastes a lot better than the plain old "icky white", as my son calls it.

* I've learned that Dramamine will also make the child blissfully drowsy. And while I am very careful about giving my child medication of any kind, is a happy little side effect of taking care of his tummy, particularly on cross-country flights or road trips that have lasted on kiddie CD too long.

* I've learned that it is wise to carry an extra set of clothing in the carry-on bag. For both the child and the adult sitting next to that child.

* It's even a better idea to stock the car with a few old towels, a package of baby wipes, disinfectant spray, and if things are really bad, an old plastic tablecloth that can be thrown on the floor or seat of the car. The tablecloth trick is not one I wish for anyone to have to use, but hosing down or tossing something cheap and plastic is a lot easier than scrubbing the gunk off of a car seat.

* Speaking of car seats, I've learned that the only way to really, really scrub a child's car seat is to take it apart. With a screwdriver. Because of the complete pain in the parent's arse that is, I have also learned to clean in as many nooks and crannies as I can and then give it up, knowing that there is an inside world of fishy cracker dust and grossness that I will never be able to (sanely) get to.

* I've learned to keep a few bottles of water in the car, and a few bags of pretzels or similar snacks. The water is good for washing out the mouth, rehydrating, and wiping the kid down. The snacks are helpful when the child cries five minutes later because they are suddenly starving now that there lunch has left their little body.

* I've learned that a child can be taught to puke in an air-sickness bag without much alarm, attention, or clean-up.

* I've also learned that a child's face and own developing sense of his body is the very best barometer for oncoming motion sickness. And that when the child gets "that look" or says, "Mommy, I am going to throw up," it is to be implicitly and immediately trusted. It may require you to hold a bag or towel or your hands (I know, but haven't we all been there?) in front of your child's face for ten minutes, but the reaction is necessary.

* I've learned that children sometimes outgrown motion sickness, and adult men who still have it do revert in some ways to preschool age boys.

* I've learned that it is possible to completely clean up a baby, the inside of a sling, myself, and our airplane seats with a pile of napkins, a moist towellette, an extra onesie, and hand sanitizer before the flight attendant responds to the call button.

* I've learned that there may be lulls but the motion sickness will most likely return. Probably when you are already five minutes late to the first day of school or all dressed up and on the expressway on the way to take family portraits.

* I've learned that shouting a Justin Timberlake song out to the people in other cars on the road is a very good way to encourage your small child to look up and out, and to take their mind off of a rumbly belly or the God-awful stench being aired out from the car.

* I've learned that I have much more to learn. And that each time I help my urper of a child make it through one more motion sickness session, I get better at preparing, preventing, cleaning up, and taking care of my son and making him as comfortable as possible.

What tips, advice, and lessons do you have after caring for a motion sick kid?