Memos from the Middle

Smack-Dab in the Middle of Motherhood

Smell It!

Smell it! The girls practicing playing together when they were smaller. (Property of M. McCottrell)

When my girls were babies, my husband and I would take their freshly washed feet and put them up to our noses and groan in fake disgust at the “smell.” Of course, their feet smelled like Aveeno Baby Wash or Johnson & Johnson Baby Lotion, but the wrinkling up of our faces and the “uhnn!” noise we would make made those girls laugh so hard. If you’re anything like us, you know that the sound of your babies laughing a deep, belly-busting laugh, complete with squeals of delight is the absolute best sound you’ve ever heard. In fact, when you hear it, you begin to laugh yourself, and you try to keep yourself together just enough to do whatever it was that made them laugh like that again. We would smell and moan until a certain face a kid made would totally crack us up and send us collapsing to the floor with tears of pure joy and fun running down our faces as we laughed too hard to catch our breath.

As our girls have gotten older, the smell and moan game has gotten more elaborate as we invent new ways of faking repulsion (i.e., pretend fainting like a southern debutant). Always, though, the game happened after a fresh bath, and irony, one of an English teacher’s favorite literary devices, is not lost on my kids, which makes our play even more fun.

When I picked the girls up today, they informed me loudly that they missed me, and I missed them too because I was gone over 12 hours. I decided that my schedule the last few days and my childish outburst last night (click here for yesterday’s post about my tantrum) required a bit of mommy-daughter down time together. The girls decided that they wanted to alternate watching Dragon Tales and Yo Gabba Gabba! in my room with me. So we cuddled up and settled in for some relaxation as a trio. Obviously, neither of these shows interested me very much, so I was asleep within about 17 seconds. All of a sudden, I feel one of them rubbing my face, but I must have been so tired that I didn’t realize that it wasn’t a dream right away. When I heard D. giggling, I opened my eyes to find her sweaty, smelly (for real stinky, too) foot wiggling in front of my face.

“Smell it!” she commanded with toes dancing under my nose.

“Oh my goodness, D.” I groaned. “What have you been doing today?” She burst out laughing. “No, really,” I said, trying to demonstrate my genuine concern about what activity could have possibly caused such a smell to emanate from her feet. She laughed even harder.

Believing that maybe the dream was doing something strange to my senses, I grabbed her foot and cautiously, but bravely, took a purposeful whiff.

“D.!” I exclaimed. “Are you kidding me?Really, what did you do today? I’m serious.” I questioned her like this for several more seconds, mouth agape and eyes bucked after every question, appalled and expectant of some sort of verbal response about hiking some secret forest in the middle of Chicago. Every question, though, made her laugh harder and harder, until her face was red and she was crying from being so amused. Her body was convulsing until her asthma began to make her cough a little too hard to breathe. I picked her up to allow her to breathe a little easier. When she finally caught her breath, she looked up at me, smiled, and said, “Smell it!” again, holding that putrid foot up to my nose, and began laughing all over again.

I still don’t know what she did today, but I’ve laughed more this evening than I have in a long, long time!

My babies have the best laughs (and the smelliest feet)!

 

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