If my writing career suddenly ends, I know that being a father has prepared me for at least one other career: working at a mental institution.
Seriously, I’m now a pro at subduing someone. Well, at least someone 35 inches tall weighing 30 lbs anyways. Diaper changes used to be so easy. Undo the diaper, grab his ankles and lift, wipe up what’s necessary, put new diaper back on. Short, sweet, simple.
But things are different now. Changing Will’s diaper now requires athletic prowess, sheer strength, willpower and intelligence. Simply put, changing his diaper is like trying to subdue an angry, coked up midget. Technically, an angry coked-up midget who shit himself.
First of all, I can tell when he takes a dump. Mainly because he grunts, tugs on the front of his diaper, smiles at me and says “POO POO!” It’s a subtle clue, but I’m a reporter so I pick these things up. Then, as soon as I try to pick him up and bring him to the changing table, he runs away and curls up in a ball. I pick him up and that’s when the flailing, kicking and head-butting begins.
When we make it to the table, I have a pretty good routine set up. First I lay him down, at which point he immediately launches into a death roll, like a crocodile. But I know this trick so I put my left arm across his chest to keep him in place. Then with my right hand I get his shoes off, followed by his pants. At this point I have to turn my left arm so that my elbow is near his face, meaning I have to be wary of him biting me.
Once the pants are off I’m halfway there. I’m still holding him in place and now he’s grunting, screaming and flailing his arms and legs. Before I do anything else, I open a new diaper and I pull out five wipes. Lately, with his shits, it’s a 5-wipe minimum. Then I pin him down with my left elbow and begin to remove the diaper. After nearly vomiting from the smell, I get to work.
In a swift move with my left hand I grab his ankles and pull upward, exposing his butt. I keep my left elbow firmly planted in his gut. I leave the dirty diaper there for the time being in case he manages to squirm free, at least his already crappy bottom falls in more crap and not a clean diaper. But once my wiping is finished, I slide the old diaper out and put the new one underneath him. Needless to say, I’m careful about not putting the old diaper within his reach. It only takes one instance of the angry, coked-up midget grabbing a shitty, open diaper and waving it around like a madman to learn from that mistake.
At this point, he is totally and completely fed up with being pinned for so long and he starts to get REALLY squirmy. As I’m putting the new diaper on with my right hand and holding him down with my left, I open myself up to the inevitable kicking. He likes to kick me square in the gut because he knows I’m defenseless at that point. It’s like he waits for the moment of greatest weakness and then pounces to inflict maximum damage.
He’s so much like his mother sometimes.
Finally, the diaper is on and the pants and shoes go next. I let him down and the midget tornado is off to wreak havoc elsewhere in the house.
And I have a beer.