My friend A, holding Ben (in what he would later reveal to have been his first experience holding a baby), remarked on having survived his first instance of being drooled on by a baby. And even though he's a potential member of Club Parent I desperately want not to freak out, before I could clamp my lips back over them, the words had fled: "Drool! Buddy, that's the least of your worries when it comes to baby goo."
I remember my friend T, father of four-year-old twins, describing to Andy and me when I was pregnant the stage of parenthood in which one observes a spot of dried baby poop on, say, the back of one's arm, and just goes about one's business, not feeling any kind of rush about washing it off. At the time, I was pretty sure he was exaggerating for effect.
Ben used to be a spectacular spit-up machine. One time he spit up directly into my cleavage, probably about a quarter cup of warm, milky saliva, which pooled in my bra. I did not have a burp cloth in reach. And, yeah, that was gross. But the regular spit-up, the everyday spit-up, which probably would have made me shiver with revulsion seven months ago -- whatever. It's an inconvenience. Changing diapers, unless we're talking about an amazing shitstorm (which does happen: the gooey, oozy, largely-liquid poop of the milk-only baby that's filled the diaper and then crept up the spine, saturating the onesie, which somehow has to be removed without spreading the damage), is no more gross than wiping my own ass -- and even the amazing shitstorm is basically noteworthy for the amount of tedious work it creates rather than for gross-out factor.
I've never been a terribly squeamish person, but I was a little afraid that I might be too squeamish to parent well. When you're five and you've just thrown up all over your comforter, the last thing in the world you want is a parent who's too grossed out to deal. I haven't dealt with a pukey five-year-old yet, but I now have confidence that I'll be able to do it without shuddering -- maybe even without hesitating.
Mostly the goo is just drudgery. It's not even gross enough to be exciting.