Thursday, March 25, 2004

fun with dookie

This parenting business - I don't know. It makes you kind of disgusting and ridiculous, doesn't it? After only two weeks as a father, I'm already noticing behavior in myself that I never could have imagined enacting before. Sick, distasteful stuff that seems perfectly normal at the time but retrospectively makes me feel like sort of a lunatic.

At the forefront of these newfound crackpot credentials of mine is a preternatural fascination with the stuff what shoots out of my son's tiny butthole. The trouble started, I believe, with a statement made by the lactation specialist who taught our breastfeeding class at the hospital. We were making lists of the pros and cons of breastfed vs. bottlefed when someone piped in from the back of the class:

"Their poop doesn't stink."

Right, I thought to myself, smiling. Their poop doesn't stink.

"Right," the teacher echoed, her voice completely absent of the sarcasm that had accompanied my own thought. "Their poop doesn't stink."

Wait... What? Really?!? Holy cow, how is that possible? For months, I had been anticipating the horrible, eyebrow-melting stench of baby crap as it is portrayed in every movie and television show I've ever seen, and now I find out that this disgust can be deferred?

I was glad we had taken seats in the back of the classroom, because I'm fairly certain I was making weird clicking noises in the back of my throat to accompany this interior monologue. Once I regained my senses, I looked around the room and found no one staring at me strangely, so I guess no one heard.

But honestly, I never really regained my senses. The first time Jeremy pooped (once the tarry black nast that is meconium was well out of his system, that is), I made sure I was front and center to test these odorless assertions. And whaddya know? It's true! It still looks pretty awful, and certainly unlike any crap you've ever seen before, but no stink! Not completely without smell (bearing instead a strange, slightly chemical tincture, like mild PVC adhesive), but light enough to be inconsequential.

My curiosity thus satisfied, one would think I'd move on to weightier items of interest, no?


See, it seems that breastfed babies' rectal emissions also somewhat retain the scent of whatever Mom has most recently eaten. For example, some friends of ours came over this past Sunday afternoon and made a huge pan of lasagna for us. The idea was that neither my wife Holly nor myself have saved much energy for cooking lately, and this deep-dish Italian treat was something on which we could feed for several days without the concern of further meal preparation. However, neither Holly nor myself have saved much energy for grocery shopping lately, either. As there was virtually nothing else in the house, Holly had lasagna for pretty much every meal since, and the pan was empty by Monday night.

Imagine my surprise upon changing Jeremy's diaper last night and finding the smell of lasagna greeting me from within it. I was so impressed, I even ran the diaper into the bedroom to give Holly a whiff. And this is the level of freakishness to which I've sunk.

Anyhow, I'm obviously not trying to pretend this is acceptable behavior. I think I'm just looking for a little confirmation that I'm not the only guy out there who views these first stages of parenthood as sort of a big science experiment. 'Cause this machine we've made is bewitching me. Even its dinky, not-so-stinky exhaust pipe.

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