While it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, parenting can actually be quite wonderful. Their cuddles and hugs, their soft skin, their fascinating view of the world, their adoration, their vomit. Wait. What? Okay so maybe their vomit is not the best part of being a parent. Like most things in life, though, we have to take the good with the bad. Many parents will whisper things like, “You’re so lucky you’re cute!” after experiencing a “special” moment with their offspring. Parents of babies and toddlers all hope that things are a little less gross (or at least different) the older their kids get, but for the first few years, they discover a side of themselves that they never knew they had: the side that handles unspeakable grossness. Take a look at this list of 25 Gross Aspects To Parenting You Probably Never Thought About; you’ll soon realize that it really IS a good thing that they are so stinkin’ cute.
Your bed (and therefore bed sheets) are no longer sacred territory
If you thought your partner was bad about crumbs, nothing compares to your darling toddler. Cookies and crackers, granola bars and pretzels…crumbs happen. Sometimes the crumbs are found partially-chewed. Busy week? You might even find empty fruit and veggie puree pouches or lids. However, none of this compares to baby/toddler pee or vomit. Those will happen, too. Hopefully, you remember to change the bed sheets before it’s time to go to sleep again.
There's baby wearing and also baby bodily fluid wearing
It goes without saying, but at one point or the other, you’ll end up stuck in a situation where you’re in public with some sort of baby bodily fluid on your clothes. I’ve even heard that some parents carry extra clothes in their cars or diaper bag for this very reason. You always remember to bring an extra outfit or 3 for Junior, but that does nothing to help you when things spill over to you.
You and your child share germs in odd ways
If you see your son or daughter eating something you didn’t give them, you might run up and take it from their mouth to make sure it’s not a choking hazard. Upon discovering it’s actually just a cookie from the night before, you might struggle with the decision to give it back or just pop it in your mouth yourself.
Floaties left in your drink? Those just add to the flavor of your water or juice.
You think and talk about bowel movements more than you ever thought you would
Did they poop today? How much? What was the consistency? Poop also starts to become a topic of fun catching up between you and your other half. “Oh. My. God. Babe! You will never believe the massive poop I had to clean up today!”
You pick their nose
It doesn’t matter if it’s at home or in public. If your baby has a boogie within reach, you’ll get it.
Your hands become napkins
Sharing an ice cream cone with your little? Finger painting? Don’t forget the napkins. If you do, chances are you’ll end up using your hand to wipe their faces and then you have to decide to wipe the mess on your clothes or theirs…or just lick it if it’s food.
Your poor hands. Wait until you see number 5!
Drool is not that big of a deal after a while
Teething affects every child differently, but for most kids, there are buckets and buckets of drool and slobber. There’s a very good reason you saw 18 different teething cloths while registering for your baby shower.
You become very accustomed to the smell of your own kid's poop
It’s not that your kid’s poop ever smells like a bouquet of roses; it’s just that you develop a certain immunity that you don’t realize until you end up changing some other kid’s diaper. Poopy blowout explosion? Get out of the way: mommy/daddy will take care of it like nothing. If it makes mommy/daddy gag, then you know it’s REALLY bad.
You use the sniff test on clothes
Some of you might have thought this was pretty disgusting in the past. Now, if your shirt or your baby’s shirt smells clean, it’s going to get used again before washing. Although, the sniff test doesn’t seem to lessen the amount of laundry that seems to multiply when you have kids.
You kiss their hands and feet even though they touch and grab everything
This is true even if their fingers are covered in food or dirt. Those fingers and toes are so delicious. Before becoming a parent, you think people who say this might be clinically insane. Then it happens to you, too. If your kid is eating chocolate, do you grab a napkin or just stick their finger in your mouth to help clean their hands?
Bathtime is fun time...until poop happens
Most adults have peed in the shower at least once in their adult life, so it’s no surprise that babies pee in the bathtub quite often. The main difference between adults and babies here? Babies and toddlers also poop in the bathtub. You may think they are just passing gas and then out pops a little bit more than just hot air.
(Spoiler Alert: Parents get to clean it!)
You will be used as a napkin
When they are very little, they rub their faces on your shoulder, getting snot all over your shirt that was clean for a whopping 5 minutes. When they are a little older and eat with their fingers, your arm is a perfectly good spot to wipe those fingers; bare skin or nice long-sleeved shirt – it makes no difference.
You learn to improvise when there is no running water
Your kid drops their pacifier or bottle on the floor? Options? Dig a wipe out of the bag or just stick the nipple in your mouth to clean it off.
Speaking of improvisation, not all bathrooms are equipped with a changing table
Your choices are kind of limited: let your kid go dirty, go out to the parking lot to use your backseat, or lay them on floor or counter (depending on how much space there is; this is why portable changing pads are a need and not just a want). There are some moments when the first two are not convenient options, so you just pray the portable changing pad is enough of a layer of protection between your kid and the floor.
You chew someone else's nails
When your baby is teeny-tiny, they caution you against using nail clippers (for good reason). Chewing on baby’s finger or toenails is a good alternate; effective yet gross.
You sniff your baby's butt
“What’s that smell?” Could it be your darling angel’s diaper? You can sometimes get away with just peaking. Then sometimes it’s easier to do the sniff test. And we thought animals were primitive.
You'll do whatever it takes to help your baby breathe better
We aren’t talking about humidifiers for this one. When babies get stuffy noses, they don’t know how to blow them yet. You can help them by sucking the snot out of their tiny noses using a nasal aspirator bulb, or even better, the filtered straws they have where the baby’s nose goes on one end and your mouth on the other. Never say never.
You take whatever is handed to you
No matter if it’s from the floor, their nose, their diaper, or something chewed up from their mouth, chances are, you probably don’t want it. You’ll probably end up taking it anyway.
You learn the art of discovery through taste test
Is it chocolate or poop? A melted/chewed up crayon or jam? You might be able to sniff out the answer, but where is the sense of adventure in that?
You'll rescue toys from the toilet
Toddlers get all sorts of satisfaction from dropping things in the toilet. Forget to fully shut the bathroom door, skip toilet lid locks, or just not be quick enough as you disrobe them for bath time, and at some point a toy might go swimming. Someone has to fish it out. That someone will probably be you.
Your hands will become a vomit receptacle
When people are older, there is a little more wherewithal to know it’s time to run to the toilet when you need to hurl. Babies and toddlers don’t quite grasp this concept. While it sounds utterly disgusting, your hands are easier to clean up than the carpet.
You use your teeth to cut their food
It’s only fair that if we eat things that come from their mouths, they eat things from ours. This usually happens when a knife is not available, or we are just too lazy to use one. Instead of cutting your child’s dinner into toddler-sized pieces, you stick the food in your mouth, bite it into the proper size for them, and then take it from your mouth to their plate.
You are sneezed on
The amount of time you spend bonding face to face with your Little is a very wonderful time in the adventures of parenting. The love and cuteness overload is almost too much to handle. Luckily the cuteness is balanced with a sneeze or cough right in your face – more precisely, your mouth.
Laundry becomes more interesting
The more they explore, the more they learn. However, the more they explore, the more they also pick up and leave around for you to find. Acorns, blocks, and a half eaten granola bar aren’t that bad or strange to find in their clothes hamper. Shiny dead beetles, frogs, or random garbage you know is not theirs? Not so much.
You help your kid learn to use the big-potty
As if diapers weren’t bad enough. All kids at some point need to transition from diapers to using the toilet on their own. Unfortunately, this isn’t something they can do without your guidance. Potty training involves, among other things, countless wet or soiled underwear or training pants, having to clean up pee or poo from the floor (or the car seat), and having to empty out the training toilet. Keep celebrating those pees and poos in the toilet though; you are well on your way to no more diapers!
Now you just need to teach them to wipe really well.
Photos: 19. Big D2112 via flickr, 17. Aqua Mechanical via flickr, 14. Justin Maier via flickr, 12. BrokenSphere via wikimedia commons, 9. Nose Frida via Vimeo (fair use), 6. Jarlhelm via wikimedia commons, 5. Franck Michel via flickr, 3. Jeroen via flickr, 2. Mark Surman via freestockphotos.biz, 1. Juhan Sonin via flickr