There’s a saying in our house: “Parenting is 25% mental toughness and 75% dealing with bodily fluids.”
Mere moments after the first sweet smell of perfect newborn head, kids will undeniably test parents’ propensity in dealing with truly gross, crime-scene-worthy messes. Becoming a parent will give one the strength to handle and laugh at, the most cringe-worthy parts of the human experience.
A tendency to gag at the mere thought of something gross has sent me running for the hills for most of my life. This is the No. 1 reason out of 100, I, in no way, belong in the medical field. Yet when faced with my own child’s bodily fluids (of any kind), I might as well be the president of the local HAZMAT team, ready to take on every nasty challenge. Protective clothing or mask not needed. I brave it as if I do not have a sense of smell.
In fact, a few short weeks after our first son was born, a friend was visiting from out of town and we decided to hit up the hot, new restaurant just down the street. It was the first time I had worn a real bra or makeup since giving birth, and it was an understatement to say that my husband and I were excited to eat with the rest of civilization. When we walked in, we immediately knew babies were a tad out of place, but we didn’t care. We sat our baby down and immediately realized he had blown out of his diaper. It was one of those meant for the baby book, a record setting blow out. And here we were, amongst all of the beautiful people, at the hottest new restaurant. My husband immediately called “NOT IT!!” and I begrudgingly hauled my son away to find the non-existent changing table.
After 30 minutes, I was elbow deep in baby poop, huddled over him on the bathroom floor yearning for a glass of wine. I finally returned to the table mildly sweaty, and out of breath. You might ask, did we leave the restaurant immediately out of embarassment? Nope. We threw the dirty clothes, blanket, car seat, changing pad, socks, headrest, and my sweater (I told you it was the blow out of the century) under the table and ate our delicious, hot meal, unphased.
The grossness with bodily fluids does not end there. We have caught vomit in our hands to try to avoid it hitting the grocery store or restaurant floor. I’ve thrown my shirt in front of my son’s face so it would hit me instead of our new couch. My youngest will wipe his runny nose on my shoulder, pants, and hair. Don’t care. At least I don’t have to watch it running that way. I’ve even stuck my hands down a diaper to check to see if it’s wet or dirty. That was after the smell test didn’t work.
The germs are inescapable
The germs. Oh the mountains of creepy, crawly, flu-infested germs. In the four years I’ve been a mother, we’ve had pink eye, hand-foot-mouth disease, ear infections, countless stomach flus, colds, and viruses. We are one preschool phone call away from super lice. I don’t even flinch anymore. How is it possible to not be sick after fishing his “fab-or-ite” toy, sippy cup, or pacifier out of the toilet? Bonus points when it’s in a public restroom.
Kids will eat months-old, dog hair covered popcorn found in the deep crevice of the couch. Last month, my son threw up from the stomach flu, then found a vomit soaked Cheerio on the floor and ate it. Moments later, he gave me the biggest mouth kiss imaginable. Two days later, cue the start of my stomach flu.
Miraculously, they will find already chewed gum under the table at a five star restaurant (read: Chick-fil-a), and you won’t have a clue until they yell out how this “candy” tastes like strawberries!
I have licked pacifiers after they have fallen on the floor before handing them over (granted, that was with the second son). Going after a foreign object stuck in a nostril has become commonplace and saying “get that out of your ear, or please don’t eat any more sand/mud/leaves/grass!” rolls right off the tongue the same as “good morning” or “have a great day at school.”
“Clean” takes on a different meaning
Remember the newborn days, when baths were given in precision-like fashion? Fast forward four years and two babies later, baby wipe baths are now completely acceptable, as is swimming, spitting on your hand and wiping the food from their face, and playing in the hose water. Also note, urine in bathwater is diluted enough to where it doesn’t REALLY affect cleanliness. That’s what I keep telling myself, and I’m sticking to it.
They say everyone’s experience with parenting is unique, but in reality, everyone’s truth is this: parents will get bombed with exorcism-style vomiting, scoop poop out of a bathtub with their bare hands, and wear spit up stained shirts in public. And it’s all in a day’s work.
The giggles heard when playing with (and eating) mud make all the messes worth it. We love ‘em, but man, are they gross!