Different When It’s Your Own

As long as I can remember, I’ve had a laundry list of reasons why I wouldn’t want kids. Most of them fall under two categories: 1) gross or 2) too much responsibility. Things like “I don’t want to wipe their ass” or “I don’t want to pay for college” or “What if they accidentally see me going to the bathroom, doesn’t that scar them for good?” are all legitimate excuses.

Whenever I would argue one of these reasonable explanations, my friends with kids would also say, “Oh, it’s different when it’s your own.”

“I don’t want to know the difference between vomit and spit-up”

“It’s different when it’s your own.”

“Toys everywhere just doesn’t appeal to me.”

“It’s different when it’s your own.”

“I’m already saving for my retirement, now I have to save for theirs?”

“It’s different when it’s your own.”

Even when I said things that weren’t intended to show my dislike for small children – let’s say a funny joke involving kidnapping – my friends with kids would get a visceral reaction where they would start with “I can’t even think about that” and end with “You’ll see; it’s different when it’s your own.”

And now, about eight months in, I know what they mean.

My previous disdain for drool, snot, poop, pee, partially eaten foodstuffs, tripping over toys, unneeded and expensive possessions, unnecessary packing, weird smells, and worrying about things I have no control over has changed. Not because I am now overcome with love for my daughter, but because this shit is everywhere. I can wipe Lemon’s nose and butthole one right after the other because I’ve done it a thousand times before. There is spit-up on everything. It takes us an hour to get ready to go to anything (which means we rarely do), and most of the day is spent either cleaning up after or cleaning up before I set her down.  A year ago, if I saw a small child throw up on itself, I would’ve become nauseous. Now I slip my hand in my pocket because that’s where I keep the baby wipes.

What I mean is, if you saw a dead body laying in the street say even twice a year (Flint residents, I’m talking to you), you’d be a bit horrified. You wouldn’t even step over the body and continue with your day; you’d call the police and have trouble sleeping that night. However, when you’re in the thick of a war zone and you’re physically responsible for the killing and cleaning up of the enemy, a dead body here and there doesn’t seem so bad.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my daughter just pooped out the side of her diaper.

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