I hate bananas. Always have. They gross me out…they get mushy and brown and turn into gelatinous goo. Every time I see a kid eat a banana, I throw up a little in my mouth.
I always swore to myself that when I became a parent—IF I became a parent (for a while there, I didn’t think I would)—I would never, ever give any child of mine bananas.
I also would never breastfeed in public (done it), never throw a one-year-old one of those ridiculous birthday parties (yep, check), and never buy my kid a Barbie (well, you can guess how that one worked out).
In fact, turning into a mother also turned me into this person who will do disgusting things without batting an eye, dance like no one’s watching, and completely humiliate myself in order to make my daughter happy. I don’t know whether I’m proud or ashamed, but here goes my list of the six most disgusting, embarrassing, and downright humiliating things I never would have done until I became a mother:
- Grab a booger with my bare hands. My daughter and I have a game. We call it “Boogie Collection.” It sounds like a 70s compilation album you might once have seen a late-night infomercial for, but no, this is much worse. You see, when I see “a bat in the cave,” I’ll grab a tissue and start digging around in her nose. “I see a really good boogie for my collection!” I’ll tell her, and she’ll laugh. “Gimme that boogie!” But, on occasion, yes, when tissues aren’t available, I gotta get that boogie. I can’t stand it. I’ll reach in and grab that thing with my fingers. And you know what? I don’t even flinch. I got this.
- Discuss poop openly. And I mean, I’ll talk about it with work colleagues, over dinner, while in line at the grocery store… “Did you poop? Did you wipe really good? Do you need to poop now? Have you pooped today?” And then there’s the discussion about consistency, color, smell… there used to be a time, I’m sure (though I can’t recall it at the moment), when talking about a child’s green diarrhea (yes, green—why is it always green?) at the dinner table would have had me gagging, but now? Nope, nothin’. Please pass the potatoes!
- Sing or dance in public. During dinner at BJ’s Brewhouse one busy Friday night, my daughter decided she liked the song that was playing. “Get up, Mommy!” she said. “Dance with me!” When a four-year-old dances in public, it’s adorable, but when you’re 41, people think you’re nuts. But then I thought, who cares? My kid wants to dance? Let’s dance! I stood up in the aisle and shook a leg, onlookers be damned. I’ve also been known to sing, by her request, a multitude of Disney songs as we push the grocery cart through Target or while waiting for my coffee in the Starbucks drive-through line (the person on the intercom always gets a kick out of it). In my younger years, I’d have been “too cool” to do such a thing, but now I know one of life’s greatest secrets: nothing’s cooler than having a little girl who wants to dance and sing with her mommy.
- Marry my daughter (or father-in-law). Before you go thinking you’ve stumbled onto some sort of Ozark Mountains story of in-breeding, let me just explain that my daughter, like many other four-year-old girls, is obsessed with weddings. She has no clue what marriage is, or why a person gets married, but weddings mean beautiful dresses, dancing, flowers, and LOTS of attention from what she calls “watchers.” She has even asked me, on more than one occasion, to put on my wedding dress (a humiliating experience in and of itself when you can no longer zip it all the way up and haven’t shaved your armpits in, say, a week?) and get married to Daddy. Occasionally, she puts on one of her princess costume dresses and a tiara and plays bride to Daddy’s groom. On days when Daddy has been away, she’s married me (guess who gets to be the blushing bride?), and on one occasion, while visiting at Grandpa’s house, a basket of silk flowers was thrust at me and I was ordered, “Here. You and grandpa are getting married.” He felt a little funny about it, I could see, but I just shrugged. “Whatever. Let’s do this,” I said.
- Eat her sloppy seconds. My daughter is incapable of eating in a civilized, un-messy way. I have to remind her what feels like 40 times every night, “Lean over your plate! Lean over your plate! FOR GOD’S SAKE, lean over your plate!” She’s been known to spit food out onto her plate if she didn’t like the flavor or texture or temperature. And I never, ever thought I’d be so cheap that I couldn’t stand the thought of throwing good food away. But by God, if I make a good dinner and she leaves any scraps behind on her plate, I’m gonna eat that stuff, and I’ll enjoy it, and I won’t even bat an eye while doing it.
- Catch her vomit with my hands. I am not afraid of roller coasters, the idea of snakes doesn’t keep me up at night, and I have no worries about public speaking. But I have one serious phobia: vomit. Specifically, I am terrified—irrationally, unreasonably terrified, to the point of elevated blood pressure and a feeling of faintness—of being near someone who is vomiting. I can’t explain why, but if I know it’s occurring in my vicinity, I go into panic mode. I must admit that I even doubted my ability to be a mother, for fear I would have to deal with vomit. I got pretty lucky. My daughter made it almost to age four before she came down with a stomach bug and spent a night vomiting into a trash can. Did I hide under my bed covers, panicking and insisting that my husband deal with it while I quietly freaked out? Nope. I ran to her. I held her hair back. And in lieu of a trash can, at a time when we just couldn’t grab hold of it quickly enough as she started retching, I held out my hands, as if to say, “Here, honey, just do it here. I’ll catch it.” This was my baby. So what’s a little vomit?
And this is only the list I could come up with in about an hour’s time. Believe me, I’ve done my share of disgusting, mortifying things that I swore I would never, ever do—many more than what I’ve named here.
But I’ll tell you this right now: I still will not eat a banana. Because that’s just gross.