Being a parent can be rewarding. Your kid might look up to you as their hero and you could find yourself amazed at how strong of a person you can be. Those things are possibilities. Parenting has many possibilities, but there are very few definites.
One definite about parenting? It’s freakin’ gross.
The disgusting moments are unavoidable. In fact, they’re so over-the-top that when moms and dads share their war stories from behind the kiddie-gate frontlines, you’d think they made them all up. You get tales of babies throwing up on their heads, down their shirts, and all over the house. It feels like scare tactics meant to discourage everyone else from procreating.
The problem with that theory? All those things do happen. They happen to parents every single day. Being a caretaker, especially to younger children, can be incredibly disgusting.
Have you ever seen an exploded diaper? I mean like “kaboom” – all over the place? It doesn’t even take all that much pee to make it happen. I have a theory that there are people at the Pampers factory who secretly hide explosive devices in the cotton fibers all for laughs. There is no other explanation.
An exploded diaper looks like the after-effects of a jaundiced snowstorm. There are piles of yellow-white fluff everywhere, wet and clumped together. It’s so shocking that you walk into the room and, for a few seconds, your brain can’t even adjust to the image in front of you.
What? Oh, it must have just snowed. Snow? How did it snow in the living room? I was just…oh no. No, no, no, no…!
A non-parent hears that story, wretches, and thinks that’s where it ends. They don’t think about the fact that you, the parent, now must clean it up. I have done that many times. That’s when I freestyle a folk song of frustration with the lyrics centering around “Hoowwww is thisssss my-life nowwww?”
Sometimes these little buggers dress their disgustingness up as adorableness. I’ll never forget the day my sweet little baby girl, just about two, came over to me with her tiny pincher fingers pinching something so tiny, it was nearly invisible. She slowly waddled over to me, reached out, and gently placed this minuscule gift in my hand. It was like a teeny tiny white speck.
Her curly brown hair bounced as she spoke. I remember that little face.
Thank you, Olivia. Is this for me? Ha ha. You’re sweet.
She turned to walk away, but as she did, she looked back over her shoulder and said.
It’s from my mouff.
I used a lot of Purell that day.
Sometimes, the story is so awful that it scars you and no one can even understand. Flipping from adorable to vile, my daughter caught a stomach bug when she was around that same age. It was one of the worst experiences of my parenting career up until that point.
It was the type of digestive issue that would shut down a subway. She had barely been using the “potty” by then so we were still slinging diapers. It wasn’t so much that her section of the house smelled like poop, per se. No. It smelled like broccoli.
I’m sorry to put that odor into your head, but it’s true. I didn’t get it. I would say to my wife, “Why does it smell like microwaved broccoli in here?” She didn’t get the connection as strongly as I did, but acknowledged that the smell in our daughter’s room was getting out of hand.
We were up with her a lot during that bout of belly bombing. That night, I managed to sneak away a few hours of sleep. When I did, I had one of the most vivid dreams I can remember.
In it, I was just going about my normal day when I felt a tickle in the corner of my eye. When I touched it, there was a bristly feeling, almost like brush. I put my fingers together, the same way she did when handing over her mouth spit, and began to tug. That’s when I slowly and steadily began to pull a five-foot long stalk of soggy brownish broccoli from my eye.
I woke up in a cold sweat.
Now, I have had more than my fair share of nightmares. They’ve been about being chased, stranded, attacked by wolves, and worse. Few, if any, scarred me like the broccoli dream. I still think about it, as you can see.
You can’t really explain it to people though. They stare at me blankly.
You pulled broccoli from your eyeball? I don’t get it.
I feel disconnected when that happens. Occasionally, they’ll redeem themselves.
I know that broccoli smell, though.
Connected again. Gross parents united.
They eat cereal from between couch cushions, “miss” the potty, and put peanut butter in their pockets to save for later. They’re our children and they make us tackle tasks that would have seemed too horrendous to face before they showed up. But they’re here, so you do. Because they’re gross.
That doesn’t mean they’re not cute. They are. You’ll get to cuddle and hug and coochi-coochie-coo, but you’ll also be shoveling yellow living room snow in July with your sole reward being a mouff speck. Parenting is tough. Buy some Lysol.