Friday, October 16, 2009


I was at Costco, back in the cleaning products, picking up some plastic wrap (I think it took me 3 years to go through the last two rolls?) and I smelled...well I don't know what I smelled, but for a brief moment it reminded me of being pregnant. No, it wasn't a nauseating smell just...something that must have registered while I was with child because suddenly I was transported back to feeling slow and big. That may also have something to do with overworking my legs on Wednesday so I'm kind of in old-lady-mode as I shuffle around.

I've noticed that my children each have their own distinct smell. Ok, so Donovan has a rainbow of smells, but I'm referring to the one that they seem to have been born with. That sticks to their clothes and seeps out while they're sleeping. The smell I inhale like a breathable steroid when they wrap their arms around my neck for a breathtaking squeeze. It's better than burying your face in a basket of freshly laundered clothes (that's the crucial step between taking your clothes out of the dryer and folding them). It's just a faint smell, but it's theirs. I could breathe it all day. Is it some animalistic instinct that tells me that THIS is my child and, as their mother, I respond to it. I love it more than the smell of a freshly cleaned bathroom. I bury my nose in the sweet spot where their neck meets their shoulder and inhale. It's cathartic.

Something so simple as smelling them makes me feel sorry for people who willingly choose not to have children. It's not something you can explain, nor is it something I could successfully market. Just like I probably wouldn't sneak into my friend's house to smell Tyson in the middle of the night (on second thought, we probably wouldn't be friends after I did that). But these kids have a smell that is mine. In the same way my salivary glands shift into overdrive when I smell the intoxicating aroma of movie popcorn, my heart seems to swell (and I'm pretty sure there is some kind of parent-heart-saliva in there) and my eyes close and open slowly as I savor their scent.

There are a lot of terrible smells out there (and Donovan has a few that fall under this category)(so did Gemma - remember her awful infant gas? I suspect it could have induced blindness, had we not had windows open). Ask anyone who has had a child lose a cup with but a tiny amount of milk in it somewhere in their car for, oh, say 2 weeks.

Gratefully, there are a million wonderful smells. Right now I'm loving the crisp edge to a beautifully warm fall day. I love the smell of oatmeal as I walk in the door first thing in the morning. I love the mixture of shampoo and soap on Joel as he kisses me goodbye when he leaves for work. I love the smell of fresh-baked bread. I even love the awful-to-anyone-else smell of my clothes as I peel them off after returning from the gym, indicating I was building up my store of endorphins to carry me through my day. But my most favorite smell(s) is the one(s) that catch me off guard as they remind me how deeply I love these kids and how that smell - that faint transference of scent from their skin to my nose - that smell motivates me to try harder, love more, do better. That smell is the reason I live. That smell is the reason I want to live well. That better than anything at Costco.


Melin said...


Alice said...

So I walked by this man on a bench earlier today and I smelled his BO...and I suddenly had that pregnant feeling, exactly as you described. I thought, oh thank goodness it's not real. Jared often tells me that he likes my smell:) I adore Finn's smell also. I wonder what my next kid will smell like.

Lisa said...

Oh man, I smell Jonathan like a crazy person. My mom says that her grandbabies smell like her babies did, so I guess it's a genetic thing :) Because other people's babies just don't smell right to me.

When Jonathan was little I got into the habit of kissing his cheek while simultaneously smelling his little baby breath--I love that he had that little breastmilk breath that was so warm and cute. Well, I haven't gotten out of that habit, which is a problem when he just got done with, say, Spaghettios. Ewwww...

TheKunks said...

You are too funny! Some associations are good but anything to do with being Prego - you nailed the description of slow and big. :) KT