Sunday, July 5, 2009

Dirty Jobs: Parenthood Style

"I really hope she doesn't slobber much; that totally grosses me out..."

I couldn't help but chuckle to myself as I casually eavesdropped on two young pregnant women at a softball game last fall. I should've told her the truth, but it was too much fun just listening to them.

One of the biggest surprises of parenthood is how high your "nasty tolerance" goes up after the arrival of your screaming banshee(s). Don't get me wrong, I can still flinch a little, even gag, when I reveal the contents of their Winnie the Pooh decorated Huggies; but overall, most things no longer phase me a bit. Some days I feel like the featured guest on an episode of "Dirty Jobs".

So, how do tell this sweet, naive girl that slobber will be the most benign, innocuous substance that will ooze out of her little Malory? As plentiful as drool will be, it will be the least of the problems that she encounters...she will even willingly consume it when her baby starts giving kisses; bird kisses I call them. Open mouthed and drenched with saliva, sweet little Malory will lay one on her, melting mommy's heart and removing her makeup. Nope...slobber isn't an issue...

Maybe a 1 on the gross-out scale of 1-10.

Snot is another story...a sick baby doesn't know how to sniffle or blow her nose; so we parents vainly attempt to wipe it away frequently (making it red and raw) before it runs into their sweet little mouth. They smear it across their face and into their hair, and inevitably, on my shirt. Although it's icky, as a mom I am more consumed with the heartbreak of listening to my baby struggle to breathe through her nose, than squeamish about the copious amounts of phlegm.

I give it a 3.

Now as we venture out of the category of secretions and wander into partially and fully digested substances, we are getting to the true "Dirty Jobs" effect. When the babies were almost a year old, the whole family got the stomach flu...badly. The twins got it first, and it lasted five days. Imagine five formula bottles a day (per baby), plus the attempts of juice and grape Pedialyte, with only 10% staying down. Yes, that means 90% came back up: on themselves, each other, ME, the floor, their beds, and the furniture...for FIVE LONG DAYS (and nights). That is approximately 360 ounces of vomit in 120 hours. This was accompanied by explosive diarrhea (of course) that caused a terrible diaper rash on both babies. On day three I was afflicted by this evil virus. Imagine my right hand holding a screaming baby on the changing table as I knelt beside it violently vomiting into the diaper pail.

Gross factor...8.5.

If you are a parent then you understand that your primary concern becomes that child; you will do anything to help them and ease their suffering. I am amazed at the duties I perform these days. If you would have told me five or ten years ago that I would be holding up anyone's legs while spreading their buttocks to encourage them to "go", I would've said...well, it's not appropriate to say. An emphatic "no" is an understatement. To anyone listening through the baby monitor, we must sound like coaches in a Labor and Delivery room; I guess that would be accurate…sort of.

“No baby! Bend your legs! I know it hurts honey…you can do it! Push sweetie…PUSH!”

Reagan didn’t “go” at all today, although it was obvious that the need and desire was there. This evening I had an epiphany…maybe a nice warm bath would relax her enough to do the trick. It actually did occur to me that it might work…immediately; but not enough to give her sister a separate bath. I am sure that you are fully foreseeing what I didn’t…a water birth.

As soon as she started to groan and turn flush, I began screaming for my husband who was not in the immediate vicinity of the house. I could hear his footfalls clamoring down the hall at the exact moment the dam broke free. In true water birthing fashion, Reagan was semi-reclined against my left arm, as my right arm held up her right leg.

My Knight in Shining Armor burst in the bathroom door, “WHAT!?!”

At that very moment Reagan’s all day project was drifting towards Abby, who had not yet noticed it.

“GET ABBY OUT!! GET HER!” As if the stuff has never touched her precious porcelain skin. My primary concern was that she would, like anything else she discovers, pick it up and put it in her mouth. I shudder at the thought.

Prince Charming rescued Princess Abby before she was tainted by the evil poopy monster, leaving Reagan and I alone to proceed with her labor and delivery. My poor baby was still crimson and “contracting”, but after several minutes she completed her destruction of the bath tub. Happy days are here again. With a quick rinse, diaper and jammies, order was restored to the household…almost. I threw away the bath toys and then proceeded to strain, drain, bleach and scrub the tub until I had a migraine from the fumes. I think that I will take a shower tonight, since I will never look at my Jacuzzi tub the same again.

Gross-out factor…10+.

I've got to go now. I think Mike Rowe is at the door...


  1. Oh my...I LOVE this! I'm still chuckling!

  2. Oooooooh BOY! What a real in-the-trenches narrative there. Wow. What a riot (for me - not you!).

  3. ROTFL. I have been there. You're absolutely right, saliva is sweet nectar compared to all the other, um, things that new mom will experience. I'm amazed at how my "nasty" tolerance has gone up (with a couple of boys). ;-)