So I was talking to a friend on the phone recently, lolling around on the sofa in a bra and knickers (think matching Victoria's Secret on a Miranda Kerr-like body. Or mismatched baggy old K-Mart undies and completely shapeless breastfeeding bra on a sagging forty-something body. Whatever.)
Francesca was on my lap eating cheese and babbling incoherently. Because she hasn't quite mastered the "don't eat and talk at the same time" rule (or just the "eating" or "talking" come to think of it) a piece of cheese flew out of her mouth and into my belly button. Without pausing the conversation, or even thinking, I picked it out of my navel and put it into my mouth.
Are you grossed out yet? Little bit? Stay with me.
The reason this incident with the cheese now springs to mind is because the internet has been all outraged and indignant about the video of Alicia Silverstone chewing up food and spitting it into her baby's mouth, much like a mother bird.
Now whilst I don't judge Alicia for how she feeds her child, I've never done "The Alicia" and don't plan to, mainly because I've never been in a position where I've had to. I've always had a tube of Rafferty's purees on hand. Or a boob. And also, it's a little bit icky. It crosses a line for me.
But then I had to have a stern word with myself because really, where do I draw the line? I may not have chewed up food and spat it directly into the baby's mouth, but I've certainly bitten off small chunks of apple, taken them out of my mouth and put them into hers when we've been out. It's kind of the same isn't it? We didn't lock lips but there was definitely some spit transference.
A friend of mine (let's call her Virginia* - hi hon!) cannot bear the idea of baby spit.
You know when your baby is eating, say, a hastily grabbed yoghurt tube in the supermarket (because it's dinner time and you forgot to shop for said dinner and the baby's wails are starting to draw unwanted attention in aisle ten) and, due to not having any baby wipes about your person, you drag a thumb across their mouth to scoop up excess yoghurt and then LICK IT OFF?? Well, Virginia would rather listen to Chinese opera while dragging her fingernails across a blackboard than lick that excess yoghurt. Because it would have baby spit on it and she doesn't do baby spit.
Don't get me wrong, Virginia is one of the world's best, most devoted mothers and I have seen her do all the other gross things mothers have to do daily (post-Easter-egg nappy anyone?) She also builds furniture for her home, which has nothing to do with doing gross things for your baby but is about four billion kinds of awesome so I'm mentioning it anyway.
But me? I have no such qualms. I am shamelessly nonchalant when it comes to a baby's bodily excretions.
In addition to picking masticated cheese out of my navel and wiping yoghurt off the baby's face with my finger, I may or may not have also done the following:
- Peeled or bitten off the baby's fingernails when I haven't had a pair of scissors to hand (or was too lazy to get up off the sofa and get them)
- Licked yoghurt directly off her face when the damage has been too extensive for a mere finger swipe and had no wipes to hand (or couldn't be bothered delving blindly into the dark depths of the baby bag with one hand while holding the baby in a position where she couldn't wipe her face all over my shirt)
- Picked a booger out of her nose (because babies can't blow their noses and you CANNOT leave a booger hanging out of your baby's nose. No. You. Can't.)
- Put my hand over a sudden stream erupting from a baby boy between nappy changes to try and contain the water damage to the change table and not wall, floor and self.
* Because that is her name.
Photo courtesy of Sijanto