|See this picture? This picture is a lie.|
I think that changing a 10-month-old boy’s diaper should qualify as an Olympic sport.
In my life, at least, it involves an incredible amount of flexibility and dexterity. Here’s what a typical diaper-changing event looks like for me these days.
I happen to notice that perpetually clothes-less Liam (this is Texas in June, people) has a small collection of crumbs and a toy or two that are being drug around in the fold between his hanging belly and his overly full, dragging-the-floor diaper. I narrow my eyes and inspect the diaper carefully, trying to gauge exactly how many minutes I have until his next addition to the diaper is rejected by said overly saturated diaper and ends up on the floor, up his back or on a sister. I sigh, realizing that the minutes number fewer than five, and mentally begin to prepare myself for the Battle of the Bulging Bum.
Feeling that the best defense is an overly positive offense, I bound to my feet, bounce over to the little man and speak in positive, high-pitched and slightly Valley-girl-ish tones about just how great this diaper change is going to be, and just how wonderful he’s going to feel when we’re done and he can crawl around without being slowed down by his diaper functioning as an impromptu emergency brake. I sit down next to him, wipes and diaper in hand, and immediately grab one fat ankle to stop his impressively swift u-turn. Using both hands, both elbows, and one firm forearm, I lay him back ever so gently and begin the battle. I once read on one of those infuriating Mommy boards that if you speak in low, soft and gentle tones while changing a baby’s diaper, they will become very still so as to hear what you are saying and you will be able to change the diaper with no struggle whatsoever. So I begin lowly, slowly, gently whispering to my son about all the things I love about him, especially how he’s ever so cooperative during our diaper changes.
Liam does not care what I say. He is not interested in my gentle praises. He is interested in what his sisters are doing, the toys I took him from, and the spit-up he left on the floor without sufficiently examining. He is throwing all of his considerable strength into trying to roll over and get away from me, frantically clawing at the carpet with his Popeye arms and kicking me mercilessly in the stomach with the full force of his thunder thighs. With one hand, I manage to yank his (thankfully only wet) diaper off, ripping the tabs in the process, while I use the other hand to pin down one of his hips. How did I manage to find his hip bone under all those rolls, you ask? Well, apparently I didn’t, because while I thought I had my hand securely pinning his hip to the floor, I apparently was just pinning a particularly large roll of fat to the floor, since he manages to rotate both hips and flip furiously over, crawling away speedily with his cellulite jiggling indignantly in his wake.
Exhausted, defeated, and confused, I crawl after him, rendered momentarily oblivious to the fact that at the ripe old age of twenty-six, I don’t have to crawl around like a 10-month-old but could use my superior evolution to walk on my two legs and head him off.
Instead, I crawl rapidly, my cellulite jiggling indignantly in my wake. The girls have abandoned their play for the moment to watch our circus, and as I pass them I bark angrily, “Get me a toy for Liam!,” all lovey-dovey notions of soft and gentle tones washed away by the harsh reality what is required to parent a 10-month-old boy.
Looking alarmed, Sienna grabs a toy and runs after me, shouting, “Stop him before he pees on the floor, Mom! He’s gonna pee with his boy part!” I finally manage to grab an ankle and pull him toward me as he wails in frustration, while admonishing Sienna to use the proper name for her brother’s “boy part”. (This decision was highly influenced by this article, which I am absolutely thrilled that I was just able to google and find for you. Go read it, it will change your life. Or, it did mine.) Sienna stops, momentarily stymied, and says, “Vagazma?”
Laughing too hard to correct her, I manage to roll Liam over, using both hands and both feet this time. The feet seem to do the trick, as Liam is so interested in my toes that he pauses in his frantic attempts to escape just long enough for me to whip a diaper around his ample backside and close both tabs.
Triumphant, I rock back on my heels and tell Sienna that the correct word is “penis,” and then my attention is recaptured by my son, whose is laying perfectly still on his back, happily smiling at me. He continues to lay still for the next ten minutes before loading his diaper noisily, smiling impishly at me, and crawling speedily away to hide underneath my in-law’s piano.