This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.
Ever since I began this blogging experiment back in March, I’ve never backed away from covering the tough issues. Breastfeeding, marital relations, getting pooped on…you name it, I’ve covered it! But today I think it’s important to focus on a serious issue that often goes undiscussed in families. Yup, we’re going to talk about burps and farts.
Yes, I said burps and farts. Now just hear me out…
Guys, I want you to think back to when you first started dating your current girlfriend or wife. Remember the beginning phase when you were so in love? Everything she did was cute and you were her knight in shining armor. For those first few weeks (months if you’re lucky) you can do no wrong and you’re basically living in Lovey-Dovey Land, where “no I love you more” and “you hang up first” reign supreme. She doesn’t realize the Red Sox and the Patriots have the power to dictate your mood for the week. She hasn’t nearly fallen in the toilet yet because you forgot to put the seat down. And most notably, she hasn’t heard you fart yet. I’m a firm believer in the “fart test” for any relationship. Namely, you’re not in a serious and committed relationship until one of you has farted in the other one’s presence. Exchange “I love yous” and whisper sweet nothings all you want, but until you’ve overcome “silent but deadly” it’s all just child’s play.
And it’s painful, at least for us guys. Because each time we spend the night with you in the beginning of a relationship, we’re holding those farts in and after awhile, that can take it’s toll. When MJ and I first started dating my stomach would hurt something awful each morning after I spent the night at her place. I couldn’t fart in front of her, I didn’t want to scare her away. Sometimes I’d have to leave the room in the middle of the night, pass gas, and then come back to bed. But then one day, about a month and a half in, I couldn’t take it anymore so I let one fly one night in bed. My heart was going a mile a minute as she got this confused look on her face and then pursed her lips and looked at me disapprovingly. But she didn’t leave and she didn’t kick me out so I knew we were golden.
So where am I going with all this?
Pregnancy, and now parenthood, has changed all the rules. Now farting, burping and most other bodily emissions are commonplace among both baby and parents. My formerly prim and proper wife now has no problem belching like she’s in a bar contest and if she lets one fly I barely notice. And instead of tearing me a new one if I fart anywhere near her, now the only rule I have to obey is to “point it away” from her.
Why the switch from prim and proper to do what you please? I think it comes from constantly changing a newborn’s diapers, which are soiled to the point of needing crime scene tape and contamination suits. Then throw in two cats going in the litterbox and constantly having to pick up dog crap from two 60-pound canines consistently relieving themselves in the yard, and you have what I like to call “excremental apathy.” Seriously, as new parents (and pet owners to boot) you are so surrounded by a neverending onslaught of feces that you become desensitized.
Case in point: we were sitting around the living room a few nights ago watching TV. Me, Will, MJ on one couch and the two dogs on the other. All of a sudden, someone let one rip. MJ and I immediately pointed the finger at each other. Then I began suspecting Will but it could’ve just as easily been one of the dogs. Fenway (the dalmatian) is especially sneaky as she’ll fart in her sleep. Haley (the golden) is easier to pinpoint because she’ll actually feel bad and you can see the guilt in her eyes. But the point is my life is at a juncture where playing “Who Dealt It?” has become an amusing, and expected, game. It’s like a twisted game of Clue. “It was Aaron, in the kitchen, after eating brussel sprouts.”
Is it gross? I guess some people would say so. But you know what? This is what’s at the heart and soul of being a family. The stuff no one on the outside looking in gets to see (unless some idiot in your family describes it in detail in a blog I guess). It’s the stuff I’ll look back on when Will is graduating from high school and remember fondly. I never thought I’d say this, but I consider it a privilege and an honor to be with my gassy, flatulent, diaper-destroying family.
But if anyone else asks, I’m blaming it on the dogs.