The three joys of being a parent |

The three joys of being a parent

I’m living a strange life. I’m living a life plagued with questions, followed closely by loud exclamations. It’s not unusual for me to be walking around my house when, quite unexpectedly, I’ll shout, “Dear God, what did I step in?” or maybe, “Holy cow, what’s that smell?”

And the reason I shake, shimmy, shout and gag is I now share my living space with a baby girl. One, I might add, who has absolutely no concern for her dear old dad’s weak stomach.

Most of the parents I know will tell you that revolting substances like snot, vomit and poop, for some mystical reason, will not bother a mom and dad when it comes from – or should I say comes out of – their own kids.

At first, I found this knowledge comforting, because, as a soon-to-be parent, this bodily goop made me want to lose some of my bodily excretions.

And this, I knew, could be a major problem the minute I received my loveable bundle of leaking snot, drool and spitup.

My track record for dealing with disgusting substances had not been stellar, and this was brought home about a year before my daughter Isabell arrived.

My 2-year-old brother-in-law, Travis, was visiting my family for Thanksgiving, and he spent the day at my mom’s house, filling up on turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. After dinner, in a fit of stupidity, my brother and I spent an hour or two wrestling with the poor kid.

Oh, he thought it was fun, but, as the saying I just made up goes, it’s only fun if no one throws up. And that’s exactly what happened. The minute we started for home, the excitement combined with motion sickness to create a disgusting combination, and Travis blew like a backed-up septic system.

At the time, there were three adults in the car, and, I’m sorry to say, when Travis lost his dinner, we scattered like roaches in the sunlight. I personally just made it to the side of the road before I also lost my dinner.

Eventually, we raced back to my mom’s house because we knew she was the only person in the family who could sterilize both the kid and the car without losing her stomach.

That’s when she told me it would all be OK. When you have children of your own, she said, it’s different. Things like vomit and boogers won’t matter.

And now that I’ve had my daughter for five months, I’ve realized my mom is one hell of a liar. My God. How such a dear, sweet woman – a grandmother no less – could shovel so much poop is beyond even me.

It’s wrong. It’s just plain wrong.

Vomit is still vomit, snot is still snot and poop is still poop. Take yesterday, for instance, when I spotted a little hint of green sticking out of the corner of one of my daughter’s dainty nostrils.

Being the good father I am, I set her down and using my fingers like tweezers I reached in and grabbed what I thought was a small inoffensive piece. When I came away from the little hole in my daughter’s nose, however, I was shocked to find that I had grabbed hold of something similar to a giant-sized gummy worm.

I screamed before I ran for the trash, but I tripped on one end of this sticky piece of snot and fell face first into the horror.

Snot, however, is not my only problem. I no longer dare to go around barefoot at home because of the dangers that now lurk on the floor.

No matter how much we sweep, scrub and mop, globs of baby food, squishy leftover squares of saliva-sogged, half-eaten baby cookies and slivers of gooey banana somehow manage to find their way into the cracks between my toes with a frequency bordering on something out of a Twilight Zone episode.

And trust me on this – there is nothing worse than having dark brown banana stuck between your toes. It makes you want to take a shower.

Then there is the poop. Oh my, how the poop piles up. There is nothing on the earth that can prepare a person for the smell and look of a baby’s solid waste product. Isabell was born in the Year of the Horse by the Chinese calendar, and after changing her diaper that first time, I could see, or should I say smell, why.

We’ve only had her for a few months and already, because it smells so bad, we need to throw away our current diaper pail. We can’t, however, just toss the thing in the neighborhood dumpster because it’s been branded household hazardous waste, and now we have to wait until hazardous waste day in Summit County to finally be rid of it.

So, for all you expectant parents, or those thinking that a baby would be a fine addition to your family, remember, when it comes to your kids, even though you might think they are the cutest things in the world, when the drool, poop and vomit flows, they all look the same.


Columnist Andrew Gmerek writes a regular Friday column. Apparently, his daughter is pretty regular herself.

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