When I held my daughter for the first time, my brain got rewired. I saw her and immediately thought: “I would do anything for you.”
I expected a baby would bring significant changes to our day-to-day life, but I didn’t know how much it would change me personally. As a first-time mom, I developed a newfound interest in subjects that would have made my skin crawl a few years ago. It started in the hospital, when a nurse handed me a pamphlet that would help us track our baby’s wet and dirty diapers. I didn’t even know that was a thing. Counting diapers was supposed to help new parents gauge whether their baby was getting enough milk.
The pamphlet described in detail the ever-changing appearance of a newborn’s poop's color and texture. It was so gross. Except? Not. Suddenly I became very clinical about the whole thing. I even Googled “baby poop colors” to be sure. I’ve been to some pretty dark corners of the Internet.
At the end of each day, I counted my tally marks and felt relieved that we were right on track. Some days we'd have a bonus diaper, and I swelled with strange pride.
“So,” I would ask my husband, “was her poop yellow this time? Would you say it was the consistency of mustard or paste?”
“Um, yellowish paste?” he'd say.
Our days of whispering sweet nothings to each other were probably over.
As I sucked snot though the winding plastic tube, my mouth protected only by a flimsy filter, I knew this was probably my grossest mom moment to date.
I should have been clued-in to this imminent future ever since I got a huge bundle of burp clothes at my baby shower. “Why do we need so many?” I recall wondering. Oh, I get it now. Even with burp clothes, many of my shirts became stained by spit-up milk. We had a few instances of vomit too, which were more terrifying than gross.
Through pee, poop, drool, vomit and wiping her nose, I thought I had encountered every disgusting facet of motherhood. Then my baby caught her first cold. I held her through the night, stood in a steaming shower with her to clear her tiny nose, nursed extra long and watched her closely for fever. But what broke my heart was hearing her strained breathing through the congestion. She hated the bulb aspirator, so I was having a hard time helping her through it.
Then I found a contraption called a NoseFrida. It is supposed to be gentler. You put a large tube up to the baby’s nose. It's connected to a long soft tube, the end of which you are supposed to suck. When my sister came over and watched me try it for the first time, she said, “Ew. Ew! This is a mom thing.”
She was right.
As I sucked snot though the winding plastic tube, my mouth protected only by a flimsy filter, I knew this was probably my grossest mom moment to date. This ... this might even be gross to other moms. And yet, despite the tube’s horrible slurping sounds, all I felt was profound satisfaction because I could see my baby get instant relief.