Caregiving requires empathy and any good psychologist would tell you that empathy and disgust clash in the brain. What does this mean for parents? That overcoming disgust is critical to being present and supportive of children, who have a tendency to consume the excremental and excrete the unthinkable. There are biological changes that take place during and after childbirth that help in this struggle — it’s not just you, you’re less sensitive than you used to be — but it also takes the power of love. There is really no other explanation for parents booping their feces-smeared babies on their runny noses and calling them cute.
Even with all the love, it can be a struggle to move past and understand children’s gross behavior. If you don’t talk about it, it can be a lonely struggle. But there’s no need for that. We’re all in this thing together, which is why Fatherly is celebrating strong parental stomaches with a week’s worth of stories about the disgusting things children do, why they do them, and how to live with the horrifying memory of that one time the baby got in the kitty litter.
Welcome to Kids Are Gross Week.