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Friday, February 01, 2008

Smelling Motherhood

I expected the smell of dirty diapers or baby powder, but there have followed an array of scents I had no idea would accompany motherhood.

There are the pleasant manufactured scents: Dreft laundry detergent, which I had never heard of before I had Noelle. It hadn't occurred to me to wash your baby's clothes with special soap. Then there are the variety of scents engineered in wet wipes, all fresh and clean.

Then there are the natural scents that aren't so pleasant, like the smell of spit up on my tops. One night I put on my pajamas, only to be greeted by the sour pang of dried milk. I thought for a moment that I could handle it, that I could wear the shirt anyway. Nope, couldn't stand it longer than 30 seconds.

But apart from all these smells, there is another smell that is a gentle present. It is at once new and familiar: the scent of my baby.

She came with her very own fragrance, like a new doll. A smell that did not exist in our home before she was born and doesn't come from the detergents or soaps or powders. I love to sniff her, every time I kiss her cheeks.

Anne Lammot writes about the smell of her son in _Operating Instructions_. She talks about the place "behind his ears that smells most like unwashed potatoes." I know what she means. Noelle's neck is that same intimate scent for me. I smell it most when she falls asleep in my arms.


Blogger Jim and Jaena said...

My brother Joel gave me Lammot's book when I had Elisha. She has a unique gift for capturing and expressing moments of motherhood. I think you do too, Christin.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Sarah F said...

Aww, she's such a cute little pipsqueak...How could she possibly have any not-so-pleasant scents? ;)

4:59 AM  

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