Like most mothers, I think everything about my baby is cute—even the gross little things. I’ve been amazed at how easily I’ve fallen into the cliché of excitedly discussing the frequency, texture, and aroma of my baby’s poop with my husband. But my love goes beyond the typical cute burps and farts.
I love Graham’s ear wax. It’s not like adult ear wax. It’s less vibrant in color, more flaky—a bit like pie crust dough. Soft. I love gently scraping it away once it's migrated safely into his outer ear, always feeling like a mother monkey grooming her baby.
Another little grossness I love: toe jam. And finger jam. How did I not know about finger jam? In Graham’s first weeks, when his little hands were nearly permanently curled into chunky fists, I would uncurl his fingers to find moist little treasures held together in little clumps by some biological binding agent. In between his toes I found the same: small sweaty bunches of sock sheddings. Now that he’s older and his hands are like little splayed starfish most of the time, I don’t find finger jam so much anymore.
Fingernail clippings. Adult fingernail clippings are just gross. Like hair, they are just fine when still attached to a body, but once removed they are sick. Not baby fingernail clippings. I love the collection of ten little crescent moons on the arm of the couch where I wrangled his squirmy fingers into submission while trying desperately not to clip his skin. They curl perfectly. They aren’t chipped or worn—they are perfectly smooth and white. But sometimes there is the faintest line of dirt beneath them. Where does that even come from? Maybe he gardens when I'm not looking.
My baby has cradle cap. But I love it. Yes, his skin look a little reptilian beneath his soft dark blond hair, and we do try to make him look a little less like a molting bug by combing it out periodically after slathering his head in olive oil. But the little imperfection is sweet, and I prefer to think his flaky scalp is more like an aerial view of a series of cresting waves.
I love Graham’s chubby cheeks, his almond-shaped eyes, his earlobes, his double chin. But everyone loves those things about every baby. I love Graham’s toe jam and ear wax, his snot and the white buttery substance that I find in his chubby folds, his dandruff and farts, because I’m his mom. If I came into contact with any other baby's grossness, it would just be gross.
And now, for your viewing pleasure, I give you a rare video recording of Graham’s Opus No. 2.