Survey Question I – Please Weigh In!

Talking with my friend recently – this is a friend with a baby son only a month younger than mine – we realized something.  Moms (and, it must be supposed, dads as well) do gross things in the name of parenthood.  We were talking about when babies get congested, which led to the topic of boogers.

She said, “What do you do about those?”

I paused.  What do I say?  The truth, or something else?

She beat me to it: “I usually just pick them for him.”

Me, with relief: “Me too!!”

Then I confessed that I had been considering making up some more civilized response, one which would have been untrue.  Wondering to myself, what do most moms do?  Am I, like, the gross mom, all alone? But hooray!  Now we can be open about this.  We’re all in this together.  I’m sure we’ll have to do lots more things that make you go eewww in the name of parenthood.

My Survey Question is this: what gross things have you done for the sake of the children?

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15 thoughts on “Survey Question I – Please Weigh In!

  1. I have been thinking very hard about this. I am sure there are tons and tons of things I have done, but I can not really think of any….this is probably some sort of brain function that blocks out the grossest of things so that the human race will continue to procreate! But here is what I have come up with. One time I took the kids camping. It was September and while we were there it got REALLY cold. A cold that we were completely unprepared for. Victoria was maybe 3.5 years old and Matthew 5 years old. On the middle night Victoria pee’d in her sleeping bag. We had no extra bedding at all and no access to laundry at 2 or 3am. It was making her extra cold and she was crying and crying. I changed her clothes as best I could and tried to quickly develop a strategy for the sleeping gear. Unfortunately we could not both just fit in my sleeping bag. So I unzipped her sleeping bag and mine and then zipped them together to make one big one. I snuggled her in on the dry side and covered the pee’d side with towels and then…….crawled in. I know that some where in those last hours of broken sleep pee soaked through those towels and onto me! But Victoria slept well, warm and secure on the dry side of the bed! I can not believe I am about to click submit comment and make it public that I slept in pee! eewwwwwwww in the name of parenthood!

  2. Carol Leigh says:

    “gross” is just an assignment of vocabulary.
    if it needs doing and you’re the parent, it isn’t gross unless you say so.
    personally, i think babies with boogers hanging out of their noses look rather gross (or perhaps sound or feel to themselves gross), so the removal of them would be un-gross (de-gross?). i felt strongly about the runny-nose thing, and kept my babies/toddlers wiped clean – but GENTLY so they didn’t hate it. ditto food on the face.
    yes, i picked their noses when necessary, wiped up whatever was “gross” if left where it was, and generally didn’t assign negative vocabulary to positive results, but i can’t offhand recall specifics — it was all so long ago — except one little story: when one of our children, who shall remain nameless, was less than a year old in December, we decided to do some Christmas shopping – not so very easy with a baby in tow – and had supper out first. the baby in question experienced some dramatic final-end-of-the-GI-tract event that made such a goshawful mess that we had to jettison the shopping trip and carry said baby home wrapped in a garbage bag from the waist down. that was gross.

    • You’re right. De-grossing is noble, really. And the goshawful mess you describe… wow. Bravo for handling it – noble also! That story is one for the annals. (Not to be confused with anals… sorry.)

      • Carol Leigh says:

        i’m not sure about noble. or gross. necessary is more like it. just getting the job done. in our case with the “goshawful” there wasn’t much choice – we could hardly abandon the situation! parents do what needs doing.

        i think this is one reason there is a divide in some ways between people who have raised children and people who haven’t. fostering and adopting have the same issues as birthparenting. people who have raised children have necessarily waded into tasks that, given a choice, wouldn’t be chosen, but there is not a choice. therefore they (we) know something about the nitty-gritty of physical existence, about doing things that have no personal appeal just because they need doing, about subsuming the self (personal preferences), and about looking beyond the task. also about doing the same tiresome or icky thing over and over whether you want to or not.
        then there’s the whole area of rewards! who cares if you spend half the day (or night) (or more time than that!) up to your elbows in unmentionable effluvia when in the end – and all through it – you have this precious wonderful miraculous little person whom you love beyond all reason! it does give you a different perspective and sense of values.

  3. This is beautifully put, Carol Leigh. I think the same goes, with a slightly lesser degree of intensity, for day care workers, kindergarten teachers, vets, and committed animal owners.

  4. Krista says:

    Well, I’m not a mom, but I thought I’d reply because your stories reminded me that once upon a time I cupped my hands and caught the throw-up of one of my (not a baby at the time) nieces. That was kinda gross, but ultimately she felt better since she wasn’t covered in puke…. so I guess it was worth it?

  5. You and that baby have shared everything since you invited him (her) to live and grow in you. How could anything about him be gross to you? He is doing whatever he has to do and it is up to you to take care of him. And that means doing whatever you have to do to make his life as healthy and comfortable as possible and that goes on when he is born and up to the time when he is able to make some decisions of his own.When it comes to taking care of whatever bodily fluids or whatever is part of him just do whatever you think is best for him. This is part of the job description and you will love him so much it’s not gross.
    This is what I think. I didn’t say you won’t make mistakes but that is because you are human. And you have to learn as you go.
    Right? As long as you do that then you can decide what you do and how you do it. Hopefully you have
    someone who is as interested in you and him to help you make it all work. And hopefully there is an
    abundance of pure love!!!!!!

    now you can probably figure out that it has been 67 years since I first experienced this for the first
    time and 64 and 61 since the second and thid times so I may not be the one to ask.

  6. bev says:

    Baby on kitchen floor with sippy cup of apple juice. Mom’s near but not watching steadily. Mom turns around: there is a clear pool next to baby on the floor (which is itself sort of a golden colour). Mom starts to wipe up the juice with the cloth in her hand then thinks: what if it isn’t juice? So: tip of finger just touched to pool, then to tongue – teensiest droplet. If salty: pee; if sweet: apple juice. I’m not telling! And one reason why I’m not is that I knew at least two other moms who did the same thing! Maybe more than once.

  7. Christina says:

    So, I had to think about which gross adventure to write about, I must admit, there’s been quite a few. From gooey sticky poop up the back of my 3 month old Mak in a restaurant, to pulling poop out of Avery’s poor little constipated bum…but I thought I’d share kind of a funny one, and a “Daddy’s gross experience” at that! One day when Carson was about 3 or 4 months old, I had just finished feeding him a bottle when Dad got home from work, and decided to play with him…he picked Carson up and raised him above his head, getting ready to bring him down for a big zerp on his belly…but instead Carson threw up fresh formula puke STRAIGHT into the wide open mouth of Daddy! Needless to say, he was grossed out, but after he got rid of the surprise, he was a pretty good sport about the whole ordeal, saying “well, at least it was fresh and not sour and curdled!” Gotta love ’em. Daddies and babies alike.

    • Ha ha! Great story! A friend of mine has a similar one – but she knew the possibility was there because her baby was a frequent puker. Good for Dave, just rolling with it. 🙂

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