Complete the following sentence. Trying to put a diaper on a 10-month-old is like ______.
1) Trying to feed livestock during a tornado.
2) Trying to catch a single sock in a running dryer.
3) Playing Twister (the board game wherein you turn yourself into a pretzel on a colorful mat) with Gumby.
4) Swimming upstream.
5) Swimming downstream. But instead of trying to avoid rocks in the river, you’re trying to avoid baby poop.
6) Juggling on a treadmill. At running speed. With one hand tied behind your back.
Don’t think too hard. It’s all of the above.
Yep, we’ve hit that point. The point of resistance. The point where our cute baby becomes a cute, mischievous, and determined little person who doesn’t want to be manhandled or even boy-handled anymore.
Diaper changes have become “not awesome” in so many ways. But the worst part isn’t the smell. It isn’t the frequency. It is the “moving target” aspect. Changing a diaper is now a three-handed job. On a good day. Maybe four. One to hold down a foot, one to dangle a toy or some other distraction above his head, and two more to remove and put on the diaper.
Every morning, I keep pushing back the first diaper change. At first, I’d change him immediately after he got up. Then it was after we read a book. Then two books. Now? Eh, maybe after breakfast. When Colleen goes back to work, I may wait ’til lunch. Or let the nanny handle it. Why don’t we just see how absorbent these suckers really are.
On a related note, I spent a decade trying to figure out the meaning of the White Stripes’ song “The Hardest Button to Button” and now I finally know: it’s about putting a cloth diaper on a crawling child.
But hey, diaper duty is part of the gig. For all the little annoyances, Declan is getting more fun by the month. Flapping his gums and humming, sounding something like a motor boat driven by a slightly intoxicated, slightly effeminate sailor. Stringing together non-sensical sounds like an early attempt at scatting. Pulling books off the shelf to read and getting full-on giddy (swinging arms and squeals and all) with the anticipation of me reading one of his favorites. Stuffing his gob full of real food (protein and grains and veggies) as he smiles and crows like Yertle the Turtle on his high-chair throne. Bulging eyes and open mouth watching Sesame Street. Tongue out like Michael Jordan when he’s concentrating. Crawling around like a heat-seeking missile, going after the dirty, dangerous things. Laughing like a mad man at his old man, letting me get a big head and believe that I’m the funniest, most entertaining human in history.
The simple stuff. The good stuff.
The face he makes when I leave the room and come back. Or the one he makes when I put a hat on. Or get him out of his crib. Or chase after him. Or smother the back of his neck in dad kisses.
And if I have to work a little harder for it, expend a little more energy changing a diaper or keeping an eye out for hot, sharp, heavy, or potentially diseased objects…well, that’s okay. The payoff is worth it. Besides, I always wanted to learn how to juggle.