A mum is knelt over her baby who is laying on his playmat in the middle of the living room giggling up at her blowing raspberries in his face.
Such a lovely, tender, picture perfect moment. Until you look closer…
As mum leans a bit too close to raspberry at her perfect, cooing little bundle he decides to projectile vomit. Into mum’s mouth. Then laughs harder, you know, just to rub salt into the wound.
I am that mum. And how did I react? Well I took less than half a second to cringe, wiped my little boy’s face and carried on playing.
This is pretty much how I’m discovering parenting is. It’s not the lovely, photoshopped version that your friends present to you before you become a mum. It’s the reality that you can only ever discover when you have your own baby. The projectile sick straight into your mouth when you’re just trying to make your little one giggle. Your husband accidentally wiping poo on his cheek after changing a particularly explosive nappy. That permanent damp feeling from baby drool that lurks around your shoulder, or your chest, or even on your skin. And of course, the vomit stained clothes that you don’t have the time or inclination to change out of, because let’s face it they’ll only be vomit stained again after ten minutes or so…
Pre-baby I was so squeamish I couldn’t even clean the bits of food out of the sink after we’d done the washing up. Now I’m elbow deep in baby sick and dribble on the daily. Or diving in slow motion to intercept a pooey baby hand as my son tries to grab a handful of his dirty nappy in a moment of childlike, and somewhat morbid, curiosity. (I know, I know, one day he’ll hate me for this blog…)
The strangest thing though is not realising how gross it all is until you’re sat in your friend’s immaculate living room and your baby won’t stop being sick. On her. On her husband. On her carpet. We’ve become so desensitised to the bodily fluids that at home we barely notice their appearance. On clothes they are left to air dry or half heartedly scrubbed with a muslin. On carpets and surfaces they are whipped up with a wet wipe. On the dog… Well he doesn’t seem to mind.
It seems that there’s no such thing as being “in polite company” when there’s a puking baby around. If he’s not being sick he’s trumping away. He is basically the poster baby for honest child rearing that you should never trot out in front of your childless friends!
But here’s squeamish old me, not thinking anything of the sudden influx of bodily fluid. Just dealing with it on the daily. Until of course I see the look of terror in a civilian’s eyes when he throws up on their clean jeans. But even this makes me secretly proud of myself for manning the eff up. The bits in the sink are no longer my Everest.
It’s only taken 29 years and a baby!