In relationships, I've always followed a code of conduct that says nose-picking and farting are things that should stay private. Boyfriends that broke the code never lasted long. But with my newest relationship—that of mom to my first baby—I've relaxed all my old rules and gained a ton of slightly gross and definitely weird habits.
It began when my baby was tiny, and I instinctively sniffed under his toes whenever I was changing his diaper. Even before he wore shoes there was a little whiff of baby cheese, because he curled his toes a lot. The Crocs he wears now that he's a toddler have only made his stinky feet more fragrant to my hormone-addled nose.
I'm not the only one either. Canvassing friends and mothers in my mom and baby Facebook groups turned up other secret baby sniffers. Names removed to protect the innocents—and their parents.
"I loved to smell my son's breath after he'd nurse. There was something about his milk breath that I loved."
RELATED: The Gross Things I Do For Love
"I used to sniff my daughter's wet diapers, her urine smelled nice, or so I thought. I did it for more than two years!"
"I did always like my babies smelling a bit crusty and cheesy! I'd put off changing their clothes for much longer than other people could stand it, and not just through laziness."
'I pick my kids' cradle cap off.'
"I LOVED the smell of both my kiddies' poo when they were newborns! Not so much anymore."
My table manners leave a lot to be desired these days too. Instead of reaching for the wipes, I'll often lick up dribbles from his chin after a particularly juicy piece of fruit. And I've eaten pasta from his hair at bedtime, because it was just easier than disturbing him as he was falling asleep. Again, I am in gross company. Other moms dine off their children, too."
"I often pick food off my baby and eat it rather than bother going to the bin. And if she spits something out that still looks even half edible, I'll eat it."
"I have eaten countless bits of things they hand me to eat (hoping it was actual food) while not paying attention to the details!"
I have to confess most of my baby's clean-up is done between bath times, without even wipes. As well as licking juice off, I hold my hands up to partaking in all these other monkey-like grooming rituals too.
"When my two were little, I used to bite their nails rather than cut them—so much easier to just go in for a nibble than using clippers."
"I take great pleasure in picking out dry boogies from my kids' noses with my little finger!"
"I pick the wax out of their ears when they're breastfeeding."
"I pick my kids' cradle cap off."
If any mothers had images of themselves gently singing their babies to sleep, the ones I know have thrown lullabies out the window in favor of self-composed odes to farts or poop.
'We make fart noises at each other for hours.'
"I sing songs about farts pretty much all day. I used to be afraid to sing in front of people, but now I am always all over town shouting out songs."
"I have about 30 different voice recordings on my phone of songs I've made up. Featuring such titles as, 'Somebody's Got Poopies' and 'Does My Baby Have Poopies?' I sang them so much when she was a newborn the whole family got them stuck in their heads for months."
Others dispense with the singing and dive into the gas theme directly.
"We make fart noises at each other for hours. My mom was THE fart joke mom, and I hated it. But now I'm just like 'fart fart fart, ha ha ha, you tooted, toot toot toot.'"
"Whenever I burp my son, I also burp. And I'm talking every time!"
A smartphone helps while away endless hours of breast- or bottle-feeding but, sooner or later, we all drop the phone on our baby's head. You need other ways of keeping you̶rself—and them—amused, but you find entertaining babies at their level quickly becomes your level.
"I'd put on the "Lion King" soundtrack for my colicky second baby and have her 2-year-old sister sit next to us and repeat 'Baby Lion' in a sing-song voice with me, as I scooped up the baby under her arms toward the sky—like she was climbing Pride Rock. Over and over."
'I lie to them all the time.'
"I loathe 'baby talk,' and yet I have developed a lot of weird words and phrases I use with my kid for no reason that I can think of. Perfect example is that when I wipe his face and hands after a meal I say, 'Time for wiper swiper!' and then I sing a little song about wiper swiper, and it makes no sense."
"Sometimes I'll start speaking to my 9-month-old in a Darth Vader voice. Partly because his facial reactions crack me up, but mostly because I have an excuse as a mom to try out silly voices."
"I lie to them all the time. Stuff like that car is green because it is made with snot. My daughter now disbelieves me, but I still lie anyway."
"I've totally played with my son's toys while he was sleeping."
I started out writing this article in the hopes of finding I'm not the only one with weird baby habits. What I realized, to my great embarrassment, is that I've done most of all these strange, silly or gross things—in just the last week.
I bet I'm not the only one with that confession, either.