Why do I Smell Like Pee, and What's That on my Shirt?
Why do they leave these things out?
There are hundreds of great books on the subject of pregnancy and motherhood, but there is one thing almost all of them leave out. The gory, stinky, hard, bodily fluid parts of it. That's right, something most don't even think about. I mean sure, everyone knows you change diapers, and that babies spit up occasionally and that there are parts of pregnancy that aren't that great, but no one really talks about them. It's like some weird taboo that makes people flinch away at the first mention of them, but the reality is that they are normal, and should be talked about more.
And it begins....
Pregnancy is where most of the gross things start. We are gassy, we either go number two a lot or too little, we pee a lot, we throw up, we cry, sometimes we have nose bleeds, we sweat, we freeze, we burn up, and are just all around one big ball of mess. Sometimes the pregnancy sniffles come along and we keep a runny nose the entire time we are playing host to our newest joy. Sometimes they kick in just the right place and make us wet ourselves, and sometimes we have other leakage that makes no sense and no one warns us about. We are embarrassed about it all, and if we could just get up the nerve to ask our OB about it, we would be assured that it is all normal. It seems the world either completely ignores the bad and pretends everything is great, or they over exaggerate and make us wonder what in the heck we have done with no in between.
And then comes baby....
Pregnancy has it own scares and gross oddities, but then we are blessed with this amazing machine that can top it all. Babies are cute, sweet, innocent, and precious. Being blessed to be a mommy is one of creations best surprises and something most all of us dream about. It isn't until we are home with these little bundles of love that we learn just how much of a mess they can make. We worry about if they are too warm, too cold, not eating enough, and then somehow get to the point of having to watch diapers. Have they peed enough? Are their bowels moving alright? Are they finishing a bottle well or nursing long enough? Was that too much spit up? Did they burp enough? Is that noise normal? All these things begin to swarm around in our mind and turn us into a crazy person.
Who would have ever thought that our days would revolve around the color and consistency of poop? If you breast feed, it's just worse. You leak if they cry, or don't nurse long enough, or if they even so much as look at you. At the grocery store alone and hear another baby cry? Better hope you remembered your bra pads! It was one such day that sticks clearly in my mind after our oldest was born. It was the first trip to the store alone since her birth and I stood in line behind a woman with a baby in the cart that looked to be maybe eight months or so old. The baby began to whimper and that all too familiar tingle began to emerge. I had bra pads on, but soaked through them in no time. It was summer, so no coat in site, and all I could do was wrap my arms around my chest and pray for the best. It was then that I caught a stench that smelled like a mix between soured yogurt and body odor. I was mortified. I looked over and sure enough, baby spit up all over my shoulder. I cringed and momentarily thought about leaving my things at the register and running out. I took a big breathe and decided to push through it. She was only a few weeks old, so that meant I would most likely have many more times ahead, and ducking for cover each time wasn't going to help.
Another such time occurred after the birth of our triplets. I had a phone call about our oldest being sick at school, so I quickly gathered the three of them up and threw on some clothing to go get her. I managed to get them in and out of the van and in the school without issues, and as I stood there waiting for the nurse to bring my daughter up, I noticed two of the office ladies staring at me. My first reaction was because I had the babies with me, and then I happened to look down. I had forgot to put on a bra, my shirt was on backwards, my pants had at least three unidentifiable substances on them, and the pants I had thrown on were actually fuzzy Tinkerbell pajama pants. Five years before, I would once again have been mortified, but instead made a joke about it. I said out loud "Oh my Lord, I forgot to put on a bra and redressed in pajamas!", and in turn the office ladies both began to laugh along with me and then helped me get all 4 kids back in the car. From then on when I had to pick her up or they needed anything, one of them would meet me at the curb so that I didn't have to get the babies out. That one time of being able to laugh at myself allowed me an ease to the remainder of the year that I would not have had if I had ducked and ran for cover.
That is at least the beauty of being a new mom. When you have a newborn or newborns, no one thinks twice about your disheveled appearance. Especially with multiples we go through times when we couldn't tell you our own name, little long anything else. There are frequent times when I would remember every single thing that the babies might need for the next week, but would get to town and realize I still had my pajamas on, or that I had left my purse at home, or even once that I had forgotten my shoes. There were times when I was so tired that I put breast milk in the cabinets and clean dishes in the fridge. There were times when I would pass out while pumping and wake up soaked in breast milk an hour later when someone woke up with the pump still swishing away, and it was all okay, because I had newborns.
But once the newborn stage is over....
So what excuse do we have when our newborns are bigger? When they aren't spitting up as much, are (hopefully) sleeping better, and not pooping as much, what excuse do we have? Well, that we have a toddler or toddlers. That is when things move on to the smelling like pee, finding odd things in odd places, and being afraid to sleep because they might try to escape. We learn to sleep with one eye open, become human safety machines, and, if lucky, learn to laugh when the odd and gross things happen. Just when our oldest was big enough to start walking, we took a family day trip. On the way home, the all to familiar smell of a dirty diaper hit. I looked back and she was sleeping, so since she had cream on and we only had about fifteen more minutes to go, I told my husband to just make it home and we could change her there. A few minutes later the smell got stronger and I turned to find what horrified me. She had woke up, gotten her hand in her diaper, and smeared it all over her face. You may think if properly strapped in her seat she couldn't have possibly done that, but you would be wrong, it is apparently very possible. I was mortified. My germaphobe tendencies were trying to fight with my parental tendencies and I just didn't know what to do. My husband was gagging and I was trying not to throw up while trying to squash the fear that she was going to contract some weird intestinal infection from it. Of course, she wound up being fine, and that was the day that I learned from poison control that if they ingest their own, or someone in the immediate families, then they are fine (a horrible thing to have to learn).
Then the escape stage comes along. Sure, knob guards, door locks, and the like keep them at bay for a while, but eventually they can Macgyver their way out of anything, especially the shopping cart at wal-mart! One particular time sticks in my head. We were there to get drinks, and my grandmother was pushing the buggy. I walked an Isle over and then heard my grandmother scream. I came back to my daughter missing and my grandmother screaming her name. She had slipped the buckle down to her ankles and shimmied over the side of the buggy while my grandmother was bent over to grab a case of sprite. She was gone. I ran around screaming for what felt like an hour but in reality was all of two minutes. I finally found her hiding behind a break in the drinks on the bottom shelf laughing. She had never even escaped from her crib at that point, so how were we to know she could pull off a perfect cart escape? Soon after followed her figuring out the door locks and us finding ways to keep her inside.
Toddlers=Toddler Mom Syndrome
So what does all those stories have to do with it? Well, it gives you excuses that no one will understand, until and unless they have been there themselves. When your days are wrapped up with insuring your offspring remain alive and healthy, you tend to "let yourself go" in the process. When was the last time I showered? What's that on my shirt? When did I eat last? What's that smell? What's in my hair? Is that lemon popsicle or pee on the floor?... They all become questions that run through your mind daily. You will sniff at least 5 things a day, including someone else's butt, and the thing is, It's okay! It's okay to know the difference between "sick poop" and "I ate too many cherries poop", and it's okay to have spots on your clothes that are unidentifiable. Having poison control and two different doctors offices on speed dial is perfectly normal. It's okay to only shave one underarm and half of one leg and then forget the rest because someone woke up. It's okay because at the end of the day, it only lasts a short time compared to the rest of our lives as moms. Soon they will be slamming doors in our faces and our house will be clean, we will be clean, and we will be bored. So, my advice to you is, savor it while you can. One day you will wish for these things and look back and laugh at them.