The Tale of Flying Poop Boy
by Christy Sillman
I totally get it. My now running 12-month-old, Noah, has spent his entire life craving vertical freedom, so there’s no way in hell he’s lying down horizontal and immobile again… even for a two-minute diaper change. We both dread the diaper change. It represents the parent-child power struggle that will last the rest of our lives. What he doesn’t get is that the longer he sits in poop, the more red and raw his bottom will get. So this is one of those battles I must fight.
Noah is an excellent pooper. He’s a 2-3 times a day pooper… I’m very happy with this because it confirms we’re getting adequate intake to produce such levels of output, which is very satisfying for this Pediatric ICU nurse. But now this means we’re facing two or three gorilla wrestling matches a day.
Several weeks ago, I had to change him in a Target bathroom and he screamed so loudly that someone actually came in to see if HE was ok. I confirmed that I was torturing my child with the dreaded diaper change and while this woman with good intentions grabbed my attention away from Noah, he flipped over and stepped his shoe-covered foot into the poopy diaper. I was sure this was the worst it would ever get… until yesterday.
It started like any other morning. Noah woke me up to his sing-songy coos at 7 a.m., but when I entered his room, I could smell the stench that instantly wipes the sleepiness out of this mom’s head unlike any Folgers brew can. I tried the usual tactics: give him an interesting object to hold, turn the ceiling fan on, sing a happy song, gently lay him down… I could tell we were getting nowhere fast. I instantly regretted putting my favorite while long-sleeved shirt on before I entered the room. So I lamented the fact that this would be yet another challenging standing diaper change for which I’ve developed a knack.
My husband Steve has called me a professional diaper changer, which yes, is an integral part of my profession, but what he doesn’t understand is that I change sick children’s diapers. Sick children are weak, and in the pediatric ICU they are really sick, and sometimes even sedated or gloriously chemically paralyzed. I don’t do spunky He-man baby diaper changes. It’s foreign to me. I can change blow-outs around femoral central lines (big IV’s in the groin) and still keep them clean. I can whip out a change on a super sensitive intubated baby… but I’ve never encountered the fight and strength my son has. It’s those damn steroids he got when I went into preterm labor.
So yesterday, before I could even notice what was happening, Noah did what I have feared for weeks.
He leaped off the changing table.
NAKED. POOPY. FLYING. BABY MAN.
I wrapped my white-sleeved arms around his body mid flight, redefining the term “wardrobe malfunction” but not before he landed NAKED BALLS directly on the corner of the table.
I watched my son experience his first testicle slam.
It. Was. Awful.
Breath taken away, silent scream, red-faced awful.
He turned to me, wrapped his arms around me, and said for the first time with true emotion “MAMA!”
This is NOT how imagined my first true “mama”.
I held his poop-covered body for a good 10 minutes while he screamed in agony, trying to stay strong and calm for my sweet boy. He ultimately ended up in the bathtub and we spent a good half hour cuddling diaper free.
It wasn’t until I put him down for his morning nap an hour later that I even noticed the poop in my hair. Now I understand the necessity of the short Mom hairdo, though I will take poop in my hair over the Kate Gossling crap-do. Poop washes out — crap-do takes years, or expensive extensions, to get rid of.
Noah survived, though I do think he’s got residual post-traumatic stress disorder as evident by his first night-terror last night, and his general whines whenever I go near the changing table.
Online parenting threads confirm that I am not the only parent who wrestles a baby gorilla every day, but I’m praying that the alumni parent’s words of wisdom, “It’s a phase that will pass” is true.
Until then, we’re doing all diaper changes on the floor. Time to invest in some carpet cleaner.