The Rank Years

When Elise was a baby, I used to sit, rocking her in the glider, taking deep breaths of her baby smell. Her fine, silky hair smelled sweetly of baby shampoo. Everything from her little arms to her cottony sleep-and-plays smelled of baby freshness. Even her breath smelled of warm milk. Granted, she tooted like a trucker and had poop blow-outs to beat the band, but, most times, she was intoxicatingly sweet.

What happened?

Apparently, with the passing of her developmental milestones came rankness.

Aye, the gift of teeth also brought the gift of bacteria and breath that could kill small mammals. (Backyard squirrels, RIP.)  Freshness of the mouth was no longer guaranteed; it was hard-won with adult minty toothpaste and an electric power buffer.

Next came running. Running took Elise flying through meadows. It also made me flinch when getting close to her after a long day of play. That’s no smell that should be coming from a little girl. I honestly didn’t think a child could smell so bad—and certainly not my child—until I took a whiff of the nape of her neck one day and *thud* woke up 3 hours later.

The final blow was potty training. I’m not sure what goes on in her preschool bathroom…but sometimes, she comes home with a fogged up plastic bag of dank underwear. And sometimes she doesn’t, but probably should have. That, plus a complete lack of quality control in the bum wiping arena, and you’ve got a child best not rocked in a glider before a proper hose down. 

Last night, I said to my husband, “Ugh! It smells like wet dog in here.”

(We don’t have a dog.)

I started to wonder whether our beast cat just bought himself a one way ticket to the cat curb, when Elise leaned towards me, causing a molecule-by-molecule shift from the location of her head to my right nostril.

Wet dog mystery solved. Unfortunately.


About Kate

Kate is mother to three exceptionally strong and solid offspring, "Elise" (b. 2005),"Luke" (b.2008), and "Emile" (b. 2011), who have successfully put her spine one hoist away from disc herniation. She lives in the Washington DC area and works in healthcare—which is convenient given the physical hazards of her mommy gig. Kate is deathly afraid of developing large nose pores and is very suspicious of squirrels. She hopes she will never, ever need to face these two fears simultaneously. She is a huge fan of eating, sleeping, and taking private showers. Kate yearns for the day when she will not have to follow any dependent being into the bathroom for quality control. She is also known for saying, "There's nothing that makes you feel like more of a tool than writing about yourself in third person."

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