The Smells of Motherhood

I imagine you cringing, having just read the title of this post. Oh yes, there’s reason to cringe. Where shall I begin?

Before I had kids, when I thought of baby smell, I imagined the scent of baby powder or clean. Now that I’m a mom, I know better. Spit up has a pretty distinct smell. So does newborn diaper. Or, umbilical cord funk. And as these babies grow older, the stink gets stinkier. So does everything surrounding them.

I first noticed the smell when my daughter was about six weeks old. We were at a baptism (not hers) and I was holding her upright, leaning her on my chest and over my shoulder. I caught my first whiff. Rotten was the best word to describe it. I did the usual: checked for spit up and peeked in the diaper. Nothing. After a few minutes, I realized my first-born child, my sweet, innocent, beautiful baby girl was keeping a secret layer of curdled milk in a fat roll in her cherub-like neck. Gross. It was caked in there. I had to scrub and her poor little skin was red and shiny beneath the mess. This should have been a pretty good indication of what motherhood had in store for me.

Years later, I’ve found myself shocked and awed by how stinky a kindergarten boy’s feet can become.  (Do I even need to mention that the warm weather is just making worse my minivan’s perpetual fart smell?) It’s staggering. However, nothing could have prepared me for last night.

Just as I was closing my eyes and nodding off, I heard my toddler crying. I met him at the door to my room, both of us staggering in a sleepy state. It was when I opened the door and picked him up, asking, “What’s wrong baby?” that I smelled it. Poop. Full-on, smack-you-in-the-face, stench. I peeled back the diaper. Nothing. How could this be? I flipped on the light, expecting to see it all over his legs. Nothing. Then, we found it. About a half-inch of it caked on the sole of each foot. Now, if you’re asking yourself, “What the heck?!” you’re not alone. Mind you, I was very tired and really confused at this point. After a few minutes, we found the culprit: the family dog had left a deposit in the kids’ bedroom. My toddler had stepped in it, with both feet… and tramped it across the carpet from his room to ours. So at midnight, we found ourselves scraping poo off my toddler’s feet as he, in a confused voice, asked, “Mama? Poop? Toes? Poop?!” I was just as astounded as he was. My boyfriend has now dubbed this the “poop moccasins.”

Ah… the joys of Motherhood. What’s the worst smell one of your kids have created?


3 Comments (+add yours?)

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  2. kalleyc
    Mar 30, 2012 @ 07:10:44

    Wow, the joy of the motherhood. It’s always the family dog that leaves a mess where you least want it.

    I can totally relate to the smell of curdled milk though on my daughter’s neck. I’ll tell you, that smell wasn’t cute.


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