I did something today that I had forever promised myself I would NEVER EVER do. Something I found horrifically disgusting in my previous life, something so grossly unnecessary and so unnecessarily gross, and every time I ever saw someone else do it I swore up and down, sideways and backwards that I would not, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES ever be caught dead doing this. Seriously, I always held the firm belief that if I ever got to this point in my life, someone would just have to shoot me immediately.
Today I determined whether my son's underwear was clean or not by smelling them.
I don't think I knew what I was doing when it happened. The whole situation just sort of snuck up on me. There I was, in the laundry room, pulling clothes from the dryer and folding them to made room for wet clothes that had sat fermenting in the washing machine from two days before. I closed the dryer and noticed a little pair of Diego undies on the floor.
Hmmmmm. Where did these come from? They could have either fallen from the landry basket, dirty and waiting to be part of a load for the washer, or they could have come from the wrinkled, tangled mass of clean clothes I'd just pulled from the dryer. How was I to tell?
I stooped to grab them, and then did the horrible, awful deed: I put them to my nose and inhaled. Deeply.
Now, before I am judged as harshly as I deserve to be, before everyone I know and love does a collective recoil from their computer screens and thinks, Ewwwwwww.....I thought I knew her! I let her kids play with mine! She's my own flesh and blood! I see her on facebook all the time--who knew she was an underwear sniffer! let me defend my actions here:
I have kids. And I have temporarily lost my mind.
I remember watching my grandmother fold laundry. I can still see her--silver-haired, soft-skinned, her flowered blouse tucked neatly into pale pink polyester pants. She hummed as she shook out my sister and my pants and shirts, folding them with origami-like precision. As she plucked our undies from the pile of clothes, she held them up to her nose before placing them on the clean stack. I always wondered why she did that. And was always grossed out each time. I would certainly never do that. To me, smelling someone's underwear was a HUGE gamble that just wasn't worth the risk. If the undies were clean, you were lucky to walk away with a scent of Downy and Wisk in your nose. If they weren't clean, well, you were likely to have nightmares about it for weeks. So not worth it.
This same mentality of mine to never rely on my sense of smell for any such deed carried over into the diaper realm, too. My mother was a diaper-sniffer. I cannot count the number of times I've seen her lift a young child up to her face, butt-first, to take a whiff of a possibly offensive diaper. And I cannot tell you how many times I SWORE on every grave I could think of that I would never ever do this. Why on earth would I put a diaper that was most likely filled with poo anywhere close to my face? A visual inspection, while decidedly more inconvenient, would most definitely be my method of verification. (Side Note: I have also promised that I'll never stick my finger down the back of a possibly poopy diaper like I'm checking the oil of a noxious car, and I am proud to say I have held true to that pact. That is a road down which I will never travel.)
So anyway, having kids has caused me to many many things I swore I'd never do. Sniffing undies is just the latest in a long line of no-no's I'd smugly kept track of in my twenties, only to voilate, one-by-one, now that I have kids. Spit-shining my kids' faces. Drinking out of the same cup as them even though they are expert back-washers. Buying them Crocs. Letting them walk around in just a diaper. The list goes on.
I guess I should just start embracing these things instead of lamenting in the fact that I have not met my pre-child expectations. Because I am wiser than I was back when I created this mental list. I am more experienced. I have caught my son's puke in a plastic bag of apples at the grocery store. I've seen things, man. And next time I see a pair of undies on the floor and I'm not sure if they're clean, I will do what generations of moms have done before me....
But seriously, if I ever stick my finger into a diaper to see if it's dirty, please, please kill me.