Changing a baby’s diaper probably doesn’t sound like a very complicated process. Remove, wipe, replace. Done. But anyone who has spent some time around a baby knows that while this is true at times, it certainly isn’t always the case. Changing a baby’s diaper can be messy, complicated work.
First of all, there are blowouts. Or as my favorite uncle likes to call them, “craptaculars.” If MTV really wants to help prevent teen pregnancy, this is what should be featured on episodes of 16 and Pregnant. I’m referring to the occasions when your tiny, adorable, precious little newborn somehow manages to expel her body weight in runny excrement. The diaper just isn’t enough and the contents seem to explode, somehow managing to find their way all the way up your baby’s back into her hair and out the front so that they are smeared all over her still healing belly button. Your baby is most likely to do this when you have her placed in something difficult to clean, like a bouncer or swing. You will look at your crap-covered child with a sense of bewilderment and will be at a loss as to where to even begin remedying the situation. When you get her to the changing table and open her diaper she will almost certainly decide that this is the perfect moment to urinate, further complicating the situation. At this point you may as well accept defeat and head for the bath. Luckily this type of diaper becomes less frequent over time.
But then new problems arise. Lately changing Emmalee’s diaper leaves me feeling like I’m wrestling with an angry alligator. We had to give up using the changing table long ago, and now I mostly change Emma’s diaper on a blanket on the playroom floor. As soon as I start to lay her down she arches her back and yells in protest. Once she is on the floor she immediately tries to flip over and crawl away. If I’m quick enough to stop her she cries angrily. I’m then forced to try to restrain her and hold up her legs with one arm while wiping with the other. If I can manage to get her clean without getting anything on myself, her clothes or the floor I consider it a win and release her. She then takes off bare-bottomed, making it across the room in record time. I give her a couple of minutes before we begin round two, which involves me catching her and engaging in another episode of restraining her while she kicks and flails and cries, hopefully also managing to get a diaper secured to her bottom. It is a process that leaves me feeling quite exhausted. And helpless. Why is it that my one year old gets to dictate how changing times will be conducted?
Believe me, I have tried distracting her. For awhile this was effective, but now it seems almost as if Emmalee has turned getting her diaper changed into a game. Even though she gets mad and often ends up crying, she giggles gleefully when she is finally able to crawl away. And I probably don’t help the situation by laughing myself, but to watch her half naked little body speeding across the room on all fours is a pretty hilarious sight. I guess it all comes back to discipline, or the complete lack thereof. But I still don’t feel sure about how to handle that with her. The more serious and stern my voice, the more she laughs and ignores me, or so it seems. And I don’t want to yell and scare her. So for now I suppose we’ll continue with this ridiculous charade, until either Emma grows bored or I grow a backbone. Add this to my laundry list of things that I need to correct with that child. Somehow I feel like this is going to be an uphill journey.