Lorene warned me that after I had a kid, two words would completely
lose meaning. The first was "fluid." The second, "disgusting."
thought about that when I watched one of Zev's play friends try to
shove a half-chewed piece of string cheese into her mother's mouth. The
mom refused it, and I did a double-take.
"Wow. You can do that?" I asked. I would have just swallowed it.
believe me, I eat plenty of half-chewed food," she said, piling more
cheese onto her daughter's plate at our Mommy and Me class. "You know
what's really good half-chewed? Brisket. It pretty much maintains its
"OK, enough!" another mom said.
"But we all do it," a third chimed in.
know," the voice-of-reason mom said. "But it's one thing do it. It's
another thing to know that everyone else does. It's like a universal
Embarrassment? That doesn't begin to cover it.
I compare becoming a parent to joining an underground S&M cult. My
son has pooped in my hand, sneezed in my mouth and wet on me.
Repeatedly. There are people in this world who would pay money for that
kind of abuse. I am not one of those people.
But, I am not
disgusted by it, either. Lorene was right. I used to change my
pillowcase every day. I would wash my bras in hot (the integrity of the
elastic be damned!). I kept Clorox wipes in my car. But my threshold
for gross was tossed out with my first dirty diaper.
I have begun to wonder: Will I ever be normal again?
"I also eat food off the floor," Brisket Mom said.
I guess not.
thing about joining an underground S&M cult is that you'll always
have the cigarette burns on your body. I'm assuming the same is true
with parenting – that I'll never retrieve the level of shame and
propriety that separates parents from our nonparent brethren.
eating chewed food off the floor might not be enough to divide the
species (I doubt many of the "Fear Factor" contestants are parents),
nothing separates these two classes of primates quite like poop.
of mine were kicked out of a restaurant and told never to return after
they changed their kids' diapers at their table. While I don't think
the restaurant over-reacted, I can completely understand how the couple
could momentarily lose all sense of decorum – and hygiene. They've just
lost touch with what it means to be disgusting.
I’m not that bad. Yet. But it does look as though I’m in the poop too deep to ever turn back. When Zev used his “baby potty” for the first time the other day, I wanted to take out a full-page ad in the paper. Instead, I waited until the wee hours of the morning to log on to IM and regale the only person online with Zev’s tale of toilet triumph.
“Kevin!” I said. “Zev pooped in the potty today!”
I started to type out the whole story, about Zev’s cute reddening face. His little grunts. The proud way he hopped off the potty and crouched down dangerously close to examine his masterpiece.
But Kevin shot back a conversation-crushing non-parent reply, “And moving right along.”
"Seriously?" I wrote back. He didn't find this fantastic news?
"Seriously." He replied.
I was a little miffed, but I understood. He probably still thinks fluids come in bottles, full of corn syrup and carbonation.
me, those days are so far in the rearview mirror, I have to squint to see
them. And I realize that there are no U-turns on this road. Thirty
years from now, if I'm in a restaurant and see a woman slurp down a
half-chewed piece of cheddar while changing a dirty diaper, I'll
wind past the revolted crowd, walk over to her table and ask,
"Got any more of that cheese?"