One of the more curious parenting practices those without children may observe, quite possibly with disgust, is the ‘lift’n’sniff‘. This is the technique employed by mummies and daddies trying to work out whether their dear little one has filled its nappy. The child is raised, trophy-like, above the head, the nose planted firmly against the bum. A deep nasal inhalation is followed by either a shake of the head or an affirmative nod and a brief discussion about which lucky parent gets to go and deal with it.
The ‘lift’n’sniff’ must be carried out in public, often during a pub lunch or some other form of meal, and always with a total disregard for others’ squeamishness. I know this because I do it all the time. Perhaps my old mate and his partner who we’ve met up with for a Sunday roast would really rather not have their attention drawn to the poo sitting inches away from them in my son’s nappy as they tuck into their beef and Yorkshire. More gravy with that?
But I don’t care. I don’t care because I have become tolerant of filth. And that tolerance is built from the baptism of filth which is childbirth itself. By the time we’re at the meeting-up-at-the-pub-for-lunch-with-the-kids stage we’ve been drooled on, puked over, peed at and snotted on so many times we’ve forgotten what it’s like to be clean. Often at work I’ll be in the middle of a serious conversation with my boss or someone else more important than me when I discover huge slobber marks all over the shoulder of my jumper from my three month-old boy‘s permanently oozing gob.
I caught my two-and-a-bit year-old daughter wiping her nose on the living room curtains recently. I was appalled for a second but this was quickly replaced with admiration for her ingenuity. Why not? Yesterday she even used my finger as a kind of tool to excavate her nostril. You see, you have to admit that’s pretty smart, right? I wasn’t even grossed out when they both took a leak on me – one after the other – when I shared the tub with them after my bike ride back from work.
The fact is, my little ones’ gooey stuff isn’t at all offensive to me; to some parents it can be rather lovely. My sister has three kids. When my wife had just given birth to the boy, my sis made the statement “Oh I love the smell of newborn poo.” Those not in the know might think her somewhat deranged, but mums and dads will tell you that there is a certain sweetness to the nappy of the breastfed baby. So, parents-to-be out there, or those planning on having kids: next time you see the ‘lift’n’sniff‘, don’t be appalled, have a try! Go on, you might be pleasantly surprised. And I guarantee you’ll be doing it yourselves in just a few months time.
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