Before we had kids, my husband mentioned to me that he thought he would be okay with changing diapers, but he didn’t think he would be able to handle vomit. Never having changed a diaper until our first was born, Jeff quickly became adept at all things Luvs-related (our brand of choice). I had changed diapers before, but apparently not many boy diapers. For the first few weeks of JJ’s life, he soaked through every outfit. One day it finally dawned on me that I had to make sure that ‘it’ was pointing down in the diaper. Suddenly we were soaking less onesies.
Pee is one thing but poop is another. I nursed both boys and breastfed babies have a certain kind of poop. It’s an orange-brown color and is fairly liquid in consistency. I apologize for the graphic details, but the point I am trying to make is that it tends to leak…a lot. Jett was like clockwork – approximately ten minutes after every feeding I would hear a rumble and shart explode from his tiny body. I can’t even count the number of times his poops defied gravity and shot all the way up his back. I vividly remember one middle-of-the-night feeding when such an explosion happened. I nursed him and lay back down in bed. I heard the telltale rumble and shart, waited to make sure he was done, and then changed him. He had blown through the diaper and his sleeper. Thankfully, I kept a change of clothes and a stack of diapers beside the bed. I did the full change and lay back down. I was almost asleep when I heard another rumble in the jungle. Again, I waited until I thought he was done and again he needed a full wardrobe change. He was still in his pack-n-play in our room at this point and I had run out of outfits, so I ran down to his room to grab another. All clean and snug, I tucked Jett back in and tried to get back to sleep. Ten minutes later cue the third blowout in a row. Is this real life!? He needed yet another full wardrobe change and since I didn’t think he would be doing this again I didn’t grab an extra outfit ten minutes ago when I ran to his room. After this change, Jett was fully awake and didn’t plan on going back to sleep for awhile. I just started laughing because the whole sequence of events was so ridiculous there was nothing else I could do.
Poop is one thing but vomit is another. I nursed JJ for about two months and then switched to formula. It was a difficult decision, but it felt like a burden had been lifted at the same time. Shortly after switching to formula, JJ started to throw up all the time. It felt like he would puke up everything he had eaten. We tried burping him more often, holding him upright while he ate, giving him smaller portions with more feedings, but nothing did the trick. This wasn’t just a little spit-up; this was projectile vomit after each feeding. He wasn’t fussy and it didn’t seem like he was in pain either. We called the doctor multiple times but they just weren’t concerned – he was meeting all of his growth benchmarks. Meanwhile, we were using full-blown bath towels as spit cloths and our clothes, carpet, and couch were beyond stained. Our couch of only six years was so ruined that it literally fell apart when we moved.
I felt so guilty because this all started around the time I stopped nursing. I assumed this was my entire fault and if I had only continued breastfeeding he wouldn’t be vomiting all the time. Then, around nine months of age, he just suddenly stopped. He started walking and eating more and more solid foods and the vomiting vanished. We were so relieved!
When Jett was born he started vomiting right away. Like, in the hospital warmer right away. The nurses told me that it was just some amniotic fluid from the birth that he was getting out of his system. Jeff and I suspected otherwise. I was determined to nurse Jett longer than JJ because I still felt like the formula caused the majority of the vomiting. Wrong. I nursed Jett for nine months and he vomited just as much as JJ the whole time. He also grew out of it right around the nine to ten month mark. Nobody really worried about Jett, though – he’s a brute and it was obvious he was getting plenty of nutrients.
Now the boys are older and while they have grown out of some things, they are just getting started with others. For example, I had a front row seat to a fart contest they had with each other a few nights ago. Never would I have thought that my 3-year-old and 18-month-old would compete with gas so soon. Sure, I suspected it at 5 and 7, but not at these ages! They were laughing hysterically at each other.
That still doesn’t top another episode where they randomly came up to me out of nowhere. JJ pulled his pants down and bare-butt tooted on my leg followed by Jett wiping a fresh booger on my sleeve. Am I raising Beavis and Butthead??? When you witness this and then have to text your husband a few nights later with a message that says, “Watch your step when you come home, your son pooped in the yard,” you tend to wonder where you’re going wrong. There is not much you can do to prepare yourself for cleaning human turds out of your grass, especially when the person who dropped them there can use the toilet.
Speaking of doing your business outside, if I am home by myself and we are playing outside I usually don’t drag both kids into the house just for JJ to pee. One day he said he had to pee so I told him to find a tree or go behind the garage (I at least have the decency to make him find cover). Well, he didn’t listen and just dropped his pants right there beside his brother and started to go. Jett reached over and put his hand in the pee stream and then popped his urine-soaked thumb directly into his mouth. This all happened so fast I barely had time to process what was going on, let alone clean Jett up. So I just stood there and gagged.
The truth is parenthood is a gross mess; a wonderful, hilarious, gross mess. We can look back now and laugh at Jeff’s wish for no vomit – vomit is the least of our concerns. God obviously has a sense of humor. He has used the gross-out parts of parenting to show us that we are indeed capable of pushing ourselves through things that otherwise seemed too much to handle. It’s amazing how quickly you can toughen yourself up to certain things when you love someone. I have never learned more about myself and what I am capable of since becoming a parent. We can clean up all of these messes now and not even bat an eye (most of the time).
Now if we can just teach them to wipe their own butts and use their manners.