Monday, January 13, 2014

Parenting is gross. Really, unimaginably gross

Once, when my sister was a little tiny thing -- three or four, maybe -- she swallowed a button. When my mother called the pediatrician, he told her it was no problem, that all she had to do was make sure the button came back out again.

"But how do I do that? asked my mother. Ha.

I distinctly remember the few days it took for them to locate the button. My sister had to crap into a basin and then, wearing surgical gloves and using disposable chopsticks, they inspected her shit.

At the time this seemed to me the most foul, God-awful revolting thing a person could be called upon to do.

And then I had kids and I realized yes, it is foul and God-awful-revolting and also the sort of thing you have to do ALL THE FREAKING TIME.

I have not had to inspect anyone's shit in a basin yet though I have no doubt, with a toddler on my hands, that that day will come. I now realize that rummaging for buttons in your child's crap is just ONE of the many duties a parent is called upon to do. There is a whole CATEGORY of Shit-Related Parenting Tasks. Not just the constant diaper changing, obviously, and the diarrhea cleaning. Far worse than those merely gross responsibilities, are the emotionally-taxing shit-related ones, like, for instance. administering a suppository. Good God, what a lark. Had I had any hard alcohol lying around in the house, I would have surely availed myself of it that memorable night -- and probably given some to the baby, too.

Shit's just the tip of the gross iceberg. Vomit comes next. I had no earthly idea before i had kids just how frequently children hurl. When you are adult, you might toss your cookies one every few years, during the sporadic flu, or night spent binge-drinking, what have you. But children vomit at the drop of a damn hat. Half the time they're not even sick, they just threw up FOR NO FUCKING REASON. Also, they have unforgivable aim. Out of the approximately five hundred times my kids have thrown up, about two or three of those times was actually in a toilet or trash can. I know, I know, they can't control it, and look, I don't fault them. When they throw up, I'm all "Oh you poor thing, my darling, blah blah blah," But secretly I am thinking WHERE IS THE MAGIC GENIE THAT IS GOING TO HELP ME DEAL WITH THIS VOMITORIUM?

Once you add in the Snot and the Tooth Pulling and the Lice - dear God, the Lice!! -- to say nothing of pinworms and tapeworms and all the other unimaginably revolting stuff these kids get and carry and pass -- well, I'll just say that if I had any idea of how gross parenting would be, I'd have had a full-on panic attack. I would've still done it, but I would have hyperventilated, for a long time.

As usual with parenting, it's better you don't know what's coming. Maybe I should have mentioned that in the beginning so that those of you who don't yet have kids, or are expecting could have skipped this one. Sorry to be the bearer of gross news. Now, go get a paper bag and breathe into it.