One dad's tale of bottom dwelling By David Pearson
Predicament: You’re alone and baby is shrieking in that not-so-small voice. You need a quick fix.
A: The Toy: Good—Offer baby a colorful toy. Better—Offer baby a colorful, noisy toy. Best—Offer baby a colorful, noisy toy that baby may repeatedly thump against your forehead
Result: Baby drops toys and continues to shriek.
B: Food. Offer baby something to eat, preferably some clumpy, strained vegetable that resembles anything but a vegetable.
Result: Baby shrieks more loudly while thrashing from side-to-side with practiced precision, easily dodging your clumsy efforts to airplane a morsel into the tiny wailing mouth. Baby’s face is now red and you’re wearing more squash on your shirt than you’ve ever eaten in your life.
C: Change Diaper. To verify a change is needed, some would-be changers hold baby’s danger zone close enough for a hearty sniff. This tactic is not recommended! When toys and food don’t work, the baby needs a change. This is enough to know.
Warning! Changing is a multi-step process. Follow the procedure detailed below to ensure success:
1 Scoop the baby up in one arm. You’ll need a free hand for the next step.
Having baby with you is essential because:
• To change baby, baby must be nearby
• Leaving a messy baby unattended is the surest way to require (A) a bath for baby, (B) a carpet shampoo and (C) a 12-Step program to help you forget what baby has eaten.
2 Locate a clean diaper, baby powder and baby wipes.
These are most certainly not lost; you just don’t know where they were hastily discarded after the last change. Don’t despair. Try searching sensible locations such as a sock drawer, the backseat of the car and under the sink with the leaky faucet.
3 Place baby on a flat surface and situate the changing paraphernalia close at hand.
Of course, too close at hand is likely to result in baby assuming any item within reach is a toy and/or food. While baby had no interest in formula or squash moments earlier, the squishy bottle and puffing dust of baby powder are irresistible treats.
For clarification, the top of the TV is not a suitable surface upon which to attempt this delicate procedure, regardless of the importance of the show you were watching. That’s why parents invented VCRs. Baby likes to wiggle and, when being changed, becomes as slippery as a hamster loose in a furniture store.
4 Remove baby’s bottoms. Baby is probably wearing a one-piece jumper. This style of dress is preferred by laundry-washers everywhere because of its built-in conveniences. Dressing baby in one article of clothing, you see, eliminates the need to coordinate bottoms with tops and to wash multiple items for a single ensemble. However, such conveniences offer little help to those changing baby.
With baby safely on your selected flat surface, rapidly unfasten the buttons on baby’s outfit. Be sure baby is face-up! Baby will undoubtedly squirm and shriek throughout this procedure. It’s best to distract baby with cute antics like stubbing your toe on the changing table. Baby finds it extremely amusing to hear you swear through clenched teeth. Invariably these will be the first words baby utters. When your spouse asks, mutter something about “too much TV” and get to work on that leaky sink.
5 Position the new diaper under baby’s backside.
Gently grasp both of baby’s feet in one hand and carefully lift legs and backside into the air. Position clean diaper underneath. Take your time. Baby won’t object to rolling about on head and shoulders while you position the diaper just right. In fact, baby may consider this fun and contort like a performer on Fox TV’s Secrets of the Disturbed Circus Freaks Revealed.
6 Open the old diaper. Get ready. Take a deep breath and hold it… Now go!
Peel back the fasteners and fold them onto themselves so their adhesive magic doesn’t interfere with your work. Baby will reach for and tug at them. This is dangerous. You must never allow baby’s curious fingers to touch the mysteries in the diaper. Surely you can imagine why.
After the fasteners have been released and the diaper drawn back to reveal its treasure, it will be of unparalleled urgency to you, your stomach and your psyche to rid yourself of the diaper and its aromatic contents as quickly as possible.
Pull back the fasteners. Hold up baby’s hands. Keep baby’s legs apart. Use your hands, feet, elbows, knees and head if you must.
Finally, draw back the diaper.
7 Clean baby. Imagine fresh flowers blooming on a sunny day or grandma dancing the Macarena in a thong—anything but the here and now. Extract a baby wipe from its package. Separating one wipe from the rest is as easy as separating a teenager from a telephone. In all likelihood, you’ll wind up clutching a fistful. This is fine. You’ll want as many layers as possible between you and baby’s last meal.
Baby mess is exactly that—a mess. Baby’s soft, supple skin has more nooks and crannies than tree bark. Ever tried to scrape PlayDoh from a waffle iron?
Thoroughly bathe baby with the wipe. Watch for squirming legs and free hands. If baby manages to get a hand in the diaper, you’ll be stepping in, sitting on and sniffing at traces of yesterday’s squash for hours to come. Refer to the hazards of leaving a messy baby alone for more details.
8 Rid yourself of the soiled diaper. Calling a messy diaper soiled is like calling parenthood a challenge. Doesn’t really do it justice. Polluted, toxic, bio-hazardous—those are closer to the truth.
While keeping a protective hand on baby, use the diaper’s fasteners to bundle the aromatic diaper into a tight package. The tighter, the better. Odors and worse can escape through the smallest crevice. Deposit in the neighbor’s trash.
9 Bundle up baby. Fitting the clean diaper over baby’s problem area is a must. An undiapered baby has the potential to cause more trouble than a herd of diarrheic cattle grazing in your living room. Tug, fumble, swear—whatever works. The fasteners must be secure. In this case, a job well done is its own reward.
10 Relax, you’re done. Carry baby back to the couch. Lay back, take it easy. You and baby both deserve it. You’ll both fall asleep almost instantly because of the trauma of your recent ordeal. But what’s better than a warm, sleeping baby cuddled on your chest? Enjoy it. In another 45 minutes, the sweet bundle could rouse you from a coma with its shrieking for another change..
David Pearson is a dad of one and step-dad of two. He is a freelance writer currently working on a series of children’s fantasy books called Knightscares.