This was originally posted on the now defunct Chicago Moms Blog.
I listened, smiling, as he talked about having to put the crib together twice, their concerns that the baby already has more stuff than the two of them put together, and whether their first "baby" (a six-year-old Chocolate Lab) would welcome his new little sibling. It all sounded perfectly normal, until he told me about an agreement he and his wife had made. "I plan to help with everything," he said, "except poopy diapers. That's just too gross!"
I laughed — out loud and right in his face. "Kids are gross," I said. "Get over it." I will grant you that moms have a leg up on improving their GTF (Grossness Tolerance Factor), what with all the interesting changes we experience during pregnancy and the less-than-pleasant after effects of childbirth. What mom will ever forget the first time her milk lets down in public, soaking the entire front of her shirt? All of that is personal, however, and we develop a pretty high GTF for our own bodies. But babies and kids are a whole different story.
I so wanted to burst this new dad's bubble by telling him about the booger bubbles his new baby will blow out of his or her cute little nose, and how you have to learn to suck out the junk with those weird, bulbous nasal aspirators. Turns out babies can't use a tissue for years and, even then, you have to hold it while they blow, and then you get to dispose of the mess.
Or how about when that baby boy waits until he is de-diapered and then takes aim right in your eye — or worse, your mouth.
Or when your newly potty-trained princess swallows a bright green plastic button and you get to fish her deposits out of the bowl and sift through them for SIX days to be sure she has passed the button safely and that it is not obstructing her digestive tract.
Or when your little boys decide to visit the bathroom together and use their streams as dueling light sabers (really, they do things like this). You won't even recognize your own voice when you hear yourself yelling: "The next time someone pees on the wall, you will all become sitters! Do you understand me?".
Or when your little girl explores the recycling bin, slicing her palm with the lid of a tuna can and giving you a graphic lesson in anatomy. You can't faint. You can't run away. You are the grownup!.
Or when they say: "Here, hold this," and hand you their ABC gum (that's already-been-chewed, thank you very much).
And even though you have told your little darling a million times that his shirt is not a napkin, he insists on wiping his face on his sleeve or the front of his shirt. Or even better, your shirt.
Or how about that time when your twins got their first bout of the stomach flu when they were four and you were pregnant and you spent five straight hours cleaning up her puke, running to the bathroom to throw up yourself, running back to clean up his puke … you get the picture … until your husband finally came home and took over (bless his heart).
Or how about when your beautiful baby girl comes home at the ripe old age of eight with BO so bad that she smells like the boys' high-school locker room and you have to buy her deodorant and invest in Dr. Scholl's foot powder.
I won't even talk about the disgusting things children will put into their mouths … and noses … and ears … and hair. My friend, the soon-to-be dad, will just have to discover those joys on his own, along with lancing boils, freezing off warts and clipping toenails.
In the '90s, there was a comedy duo called "The Mommies" and one of their funniest bits was about how intimate you become with your baby. Just yesterday, I found myself both gagging and giggling as I looked at my 17-year-old's frighteningly large feet and remembered The Mommies' reflections about how much they used to love to kiss their babies' little tootsies.
Poopy diapers, while certainly not pleasant, are just not that bad on the GTF scale. The good news is that children grow out of them in a few short years. The bad news is that when you bring a new baby into the world, something really terrifying happens. You become the parent. It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it.
This is an original Chicago Moms Blog post. When Susan isn't busy cleaning up messes, she can be found writing at Two Kinds of People and The Animal Store Blog.