Ben Franklin, he of $100 bill fame, once wrote “but in this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.”
I can only image how hard Deborah Read, common law wifey to BF, rolled her eyes as she told her girlfriends her version, “but in this life, nothing can be said to be certain except husband’s will try to fry themselves playing with lightning and you beeatches won’t stop talking about your kids’ poop.”
When two or more moms gather for brunch, it’s almost a given that the topic of birth and baby poop are going to come up. The newer the mom, the less likely for her to even pause as the waiter arrives to read the specials, pushing right on with graphic descriptions and even iPhone images. Everyone weighs in, brunch continues, and the poor busboy is somewhere crying over what he just heard as he cleared the next table.
That’s my way of saying, look alive, people. Poop stories are coming.
After I had my son, I had the biggest craving for vegetables. Not carbs, not meat, definitely not fruit– vegetables.
I chopped and diced the only thing that looked good to me: A literal bushel of Brussels sprouts.
Now I’ve always loved Brussels sprouts, once I realized that boiling and steam-in-a-bag techniques were tantamount to sprout murder. I chop them in half, throw them on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, top with salt and pepper, and roast until perfect. Once roasted, they’re delicious warm, tossed in a salad, or even loaded into a fish taco (trust me).
So I ate them. And ate them. And ate them. I smiled sanctimommy-ly at my snoozing newborn, proud of all the nutrients that I was ingesting for his sake.
And then the next day came. I knew something was wrong as I walked up the stairs. In a house a two little ones, I’m used to smells, but this was different. I went to change my cooing newborn and reeled back in horror.
I’ve seen some bad things in my life. I once forgot about a five pound bag of potatoes for two months. In my kitchen. In Florida. In July. But that had nothing on this. It just looked… wrong.
I did what most new moms do when stricken with fear and running on sleep fumes: I ate and Googled. Only, I ate more Brussels sprouts.
Now Brussels sprouts are good for you unless you eat an entire bushel. They’re loaded with fiber and generally rank among the top veggies to munch on. In moderation.
But there’s no time for moderation when you’re stress eating and the only other thing in the house in stale dry cereal.
Day one passed with more scary diapers. Day two, more of the same. Day three, I gave up and called my girlfriend.
“Hel–” she started.
“IThinkHe’sBleedingInternallyAndMightBeDying,” I said, immediately starting to sob.
My friend, the nurse, had the benefit of having three kids and at least a little more sleep than me. “Slow down. What’s happening?”
I told her everything. The bad diapers. The smell. The stress eating. The lack of–
“Wait,” she said. “Have you been eating Brussels sprouts for three days?”
“Yes. They’re delicious. I can give you the recipe later,” I said, somewhat confused.
She sighed. “Then your baby has only been eating Brussels sprouts. Via you. For three days. That’s a lot of fiber, wouldn’t you say?”
Undeterred, I replied, “So it’s either Brussels sprouts or internal bleeding.”
“Let’s go with the sprouts for now,” she said in the most nonjudgmental voice ever, which I plan to emulate when I have more sleep in my life
Everyone tells new moms to eat a balanced diet, eat a variety of foods, and avoid staying away from spices and different cuisines–all the better to expand baby’s developing palate. What they don’t tell you is that you should do that so that no one singular food destroys your baby’s intestines before they can even roll over.
I didn’t kill my kiddo that day, but heaven knows there’s still time. He’s bigger now, eating (or refusing to eat) his own foods, and generally trying to find new ways to kill himself on a daily basis while I dart around moving pointy objects higher and higher before finally just giving them all away.
And no, if you’re curious, he won’t touch a Brussels sprout now.