Babies are adorable. I really can’t think of anything better than when Ava is staring at me with her giant eyes and breaks into a huge smile and a happy coo. For those few minutes, I can’t believe I made something so amazing, and that she actually loves me as much as I love her. For those few minutes, I am at peace.
But for the rest of the day? There are gross things. Things that pre-baby me would never even dream of having the stomach to deal with. Or worse – finding them to be endearing and even funny.
- Neck cheese. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, that foul odor coming from somewhere on your wee one is most likely hidden in the sneaky folds of her neck. Is it milk? Is it dust and debris from the environment? I’m not sure anyone really knows, but it smells real gross and looks gross, too. But it’s easy to get rid of if you just tilt her head back and wipe it out. Thank goodness. There’s a reason it’s the number one ew.
- Poo. I have a special relationship with the waste that leaves my body. Sometimes it even deserves to be celebrated, especially if it’s been a while, you know? But I certainly don’t analyze it the way I do my daughter’s. Each poo for her is an event, and I’m her biggest cheerleader. It makes her feel good, judging from the expressions on her face. But seriously, baby poo is super gross. From the first few made of parking lot tar that simply won’t. come. off. to the more normal ones that are still a strange sight to behold. ‘Mustard seed’ they call it. I’m not sure what formula poo looks like, but breast milk poo comes complete with chunks and it’s own special odor. And it travels! Up the back, up the front, across the room if you’re not careful.
- Lady part poo. When Ava was first born, it kind of freaked me out to have to clean in her lady bits. But that poo gets in there and camps out, so clean you must. This also leads to the baby bottom analyzation. I find myself checking everything out down there with each diaper change, just in case something extra-terrestrial is going on.
- Armpit cheese. I don’t know about your kid, but mine enjoys keeping her arms clamped down to her sides for most of her awake existence, like she’s about to shoot up a tube Jetson’s style. This means her armpits don’t get aired out, so they develop a cheese not unlike that of the neck. During bath time, I have to sing a song about her armpit cheese so that she smiles and relaxes enough for me to clean under her arms. We have weird songs here.
- The boob milk face wipe. It’s lunchtime, and we are enjoying a nice breastfeeding session, when she all of a sudden breaks latch and wipes her face all over my boob. Like, her whole face. Even her eyes get a nice washing. Now my boob is covered in milk and so is my child’s whole head. Then she latches right back on like nothing happened, and I have to remember to wash her face when she’s done which, let’s be honest, rarely happens. What the hell.
- The soft spot. Oh, the scary soft spot. I find myself scoping out Ava’s head several times a day, terrified that I’m going to dent her. I analyze skull growth. I watch for a heartbeat, which I’ve read you can see. Thankfully I cannot. I stare at that spot while she’s eating, sleeping, playing, bathing…I worry when I wash her hair, when I change her clothes 87 times a day, when I hold her, when someone else holds her…even though I know I’m being ridiculous. It’s just a gross thing that will eventually close up and not be gross anymore.
- Spit-up. I cannot even find anything endearing about this one. Spit-up happens and it’s gross, but it doesn’t bother me. The full on vomit? That’s horrid. Sometimes she just barfs everywhere and there is a smell and it’s slimy and now I have to wash her, myself, both of our clothes, and sometimes the furniture around us. It comes without warning and ruins the entire day.
- Boogers. This, unfortunately, is one of my favorites. My child enjoys snot sucking time in the morning, and I find pure joy in being able to take something that will make her feel better. There is no need for a song, just an aspirator and some good old sucking action. Day: made. Still gross.
- Farts. What can I say? Everybody farts. But babies are oblivious to the nastiness of breaking wind, and they don’t mind the public puffer. My kid farts louder than most grown men, and we leave a trail of eau de turd everywhere we go. And yet, I can’t help but crack up each time it happens. What is that about?
Babies are gross. There’s no getting around it. But once the cheese is gone, the poo is wiped, boogers aren’t flapping, and stomachs are restful, I can’t think of anything more perfect in this entire world.