There’s no hiding the dirty diaper of a toddler. At two and a half years old, the diaper reaches its seams quickly and a mad dash towards the changing table must ensue. Perhaps you can get away with a delayed response for infants, but toddlers manufacture too much waste to try to buy yourself an extra 15 minutes before changing. This umm…evolution of larger bowel movements for Eliza means my wife and I have to hustle before the diaper dam breaks and the blowout triumphs. Normally, Eliza stays patterned and we keep our homebody family on a similar routine; this means we can often catch her accidents quickly at home and ensure the floors and walls of our house stays protected. Unfortunately, we occasionally do have to leave the house, where chaos awaits.
The toddler’s diaper is bulging and the infant is nursing; there’s no way around it, it’s time for daddy to step up and take the little munchkin for a change. I grab Eliza, a spare diaper and wipes, and rush for the restroom. It appears I’ve made it just in time, her outfit still untouched. I step inside the bathroom, look for the changing table, and breathe a deep sigh of frustration; no changing table, a narrow sink, and (as is expected) a filthy bathroom. I step out of the Men’s restroom with Eliza and notice the Women’s restroom has the little Koala sign that indicates a changing table station. Grrr. So I’m left with the following three options: 1) Grab my nursing wife and ask her to change Eliza’s bloated bum cover 2) Close my eyes and charge into the women’s restroom with the hope that a deathly smelling toddler will gain me forgiveness, or 3) Find whatever flat space exists in the entire building and perform an emergency diapectomy on a makeshift surface.
It didn’t take me long to opt for option #3. You thought I might rely on my wife to bail the establishment out? No thanks, I think I’ve learned a thing or two from my toddler about tantrums so that diaper was getting changed with the firm hands of vengeance. I searched for an appropriate surface for my daughter’s backside, and down she went on to a café table as passerby’s shot a raised eyebrow. Here’s the deal restaurants, grocery stores, department stores, etc: if you don’t provide me, the father, an appropriate place to change my daughter’s diaper, then I’m going to be a spiteful cuss and drop Eliza’s pants on the worst place possible for your business.
So my daughter lays prone with a giggle and a scream. Keeping her still while on a traditional changing table is hard enough, keeping her still with the distractions of the open public and an uncomfortable table on her bum is next to impossible. SO BE IT. I’m in great spirits by this point, if you can imagine, and I finally tangle her shorts off her chubby little legs and dig in to the dark stuff. At this point in my parenting journey, I feel like a NASCAR pit crew when it comes to wet diapers—I can change a wet one in 6.3 seconds flat. The poopy diapers? Well, those usually play out a little differently each time. This diaper was unpleasant and required 8200 wipes (roughly) to finally reclaim the cuteness of Eliza’s tush. Keep in mind, this show is taking place in front of plenty of onlookers—I’m sure the sight of a bulging diaper being carefully pried off a toddler’s backside on a café table is not the most appetizing vision. What can you do?
As is often the case, once the gross stuff gets clear and Eliza feels refreshed, she gets very friendly and thus starts waving at each of the strangers despite still being half-naked. I’m in no mood for smiles as I’m struggling to attach the straps of a new diaper while my little hellion kicks, spins, and waves. I have survived and managed to change my daughter’s diaper. Did a bunch of strangers and employees judge me while I did it? Probably. Do I feel bad for any future patron that eats off that table? A little. Do I regret it? Not at all! If I can’t find a place to change my daughter’s diaper, I’m going to make a place. The number of ridiculous places I’ve changed a diaper must be in the thousands (maybe I should call Guinness?) and I’m always willing to add another.
More on this perplexing scenario tomorrow, thanks for stopping by!