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Mel and I had a new baby three months ago. Her name is Aspen, and she is a real cutie. This is our third child. There’s nearly five years between Aspen and our second child, Norah. During that time, I suppose I forgot a lot. In some ways, it all feels new again. I’ve noticed that now that we have a new baby, we’ve normalized a lot of really unusual conversation topics. Below are a few examples.
Warning: If you have never had a baby, your might find this icky.
Poop and farts: Now that we have a newborn baby, it seems that poop and farts have become acceptable dining conversation. Mel and I often talk about the regularity of the baby while eating at the table. We chat about if there is something unusual going on with how often she is poopy. We may discuss a blow out (we call it a "code brown" in our house), or if the baby is moody because of gas. Sometimes the baby will poop right there, in her pants, while we are eating dinner. No one is revolted. They simply giggle, or say “Wow. You are a little pooper.” If I, or anyone else in the family, were to fart at the table, or, heaven forbid, crap their pants, the reaction would be much different. The really strange thing is all this discussion of poop has created curiosity in my children, and suddenly they think it is normal to ask to examine the baby’s poop. This is something we are working on.
Plotting to have sex: We used to keep these conversations quiet, or behind closed doors. But now it seems like Mel and I are regularly discussing ways to make sex happen. We talk about nap times, bed times, distractions, and so on. We plot openly, but often use code when the kids are around. We talk about how we’d like to make a trip to Funky Town, but the baby won’t get to sleep. And sadly, with all of our plotting, we still can’t seem to make it happen. At this point, I’d give up bacon for regular sex.
Rashes: Babies get rashes, mostly on their butts, and rash prevention has become a regular topic of conversation. To put this into prospective, I did a 100 mile bike ride last summer and ended up with a spectacular rash between my butt and genitals. I brought it up a few times with the family, and Mel told me how gross I was. But the baby gets a rash, and suddenly every one is chatting about her poor sad little bum. I think the moral here is that I’d like to have a little more compassion directed at my ass.
Puke: We talk a lot about puke now. Baby puke. The euphemism we usually use is “spit up,” but it’s puke. We talk about where it was on the sofa, where it is on our clothing, and why it keeps coming out of the baby. Some times we laugh about how far it shot, or how much if it there was. Sometimes we laugh, call the baby cute, and then say things like, “Oh… you had a little pukie.” Like poop and farts, we tend to discuss it at the table, as if it’s no big thing. When in fact, it is a big thing. It’s puke, probably the grossest thing ever. Strange.
Nipples: Mel is breastfeeding for the first time. I cannot count how many times we have been in our living room discussing Mel’s chapped nipple, nipple cream, nipple covers, nipple tension, nipple exposing t-shirts, nipple pads, inability to find a nipple and so on. Suddenly nipples have been brought out of the shadows. Never in my life have I realized how complicated nipples are. My adolescent dream was for a beautiful woman to hang around my house with her boobs out. With breastfeeding, that dream is real, yet it is much more practical than I expected. Those boobs are not out for me, they are out for the baby. Which is their intended purpose. I understand.
What are some of the strange conversations you’ve had with a baby in the house?
You would also enjoy, Aspen’s Birth (Part I)
Clint Edwards was blessed with a charming and spitfire wife, a video game obsessed little boy, and a snarky little girl in a Cinderella play dress. When Clint was 9-years-old his father left. With no example of fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and husband through trial and error. His essays on parenting and marriage have been featured in New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, and elsewhere. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
Photo by Lucinda Higley