The Battle

I am attempting to change a diaper and am, admittedly, not doing very well.

I am attempting to change a diaper and am, admittedly, not doing very well. Really, it’s easier said than done. It is a constant battle between my fifteen-month old daughter and me. My daughter is winning; she has graciously allowed the sludge accumulating in her diaper to overflow and spill out onto the floor, as well as all over my clothing—I am forced to continue in nothing but my underwear. The floor will have to wait, for now.

I put her down on her back and immediately she starts to wail. I shake my head in disbelief. I’ve only been changing her diaper multiple times a day for every day of her life! Yet somehow the experience seems new to her every time I do it. I play her Mozart music cube and she stops. Watching the colors and lights flashing, hearing the tinkling of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” my daughter placidly complies by lifting her legs and grabbing onto them with her tiny hands.

Frazzled, I attempt to hold her as I remove the fragrant diaper filled with brown goo from under her and replace it with a fresh, clean one. She reaches out for the wipes; I push her hand away. She rolls to grab a toy; I put my hand on her stomach so that she doesn’t fall to her death. I have to be quick, otherwise my diaper-less daughter will surely flood the mat. As if I need one more mess to clean. Success! The swap is made and I now hold the heavy diaper in my hand. God, this diaper is smelly: like yogurt mixed with soy sauce, its contents the consistency of a thick curry.

With my hand still on my daughter, I promptly close the soiled diaper and throw it in the pail. She cries as the cold wipe touches her bare bottom and I sing the Beatles version of “‘Til There Was You” to soothe her discomfort. All this so that my daughter doesn't have a rash. Next, the powder. She wiggles her bottom so that I miss the first time, and flecks of white dust explode from the tube and up into my face like a mushroom cloud. I wipe my face with the back of my other hand and baby powder rubs against my cheek, my hair.

Okay, maybe not the powder. Let’s try the cream. As I reach for the cream, my daughter decides she will play a fun game of ‘take off the diaper.’ She grins, her stubby fingers slowly reaching for the tab, feeling the crinkly plastic material. A mischievous glint in her eye. She makes a fist into the plastic and tugs at it. The diaper lifts from underneath her and she dangles it over her head, laughing triumphantly. I just know she is mocking me.

“No, Freya!” I say, grabbing the diaper and putting it under her again. A couple rounds of “No, Freya!” later I am able to spread the cream into her little creases. She watches me doing this, and, excited, flaps her hand into the creamy area down there. Wow. I take a wipe from the green container and remove as much cream as I can while avoiding a rapid succession of strong kicks aimed at my abdomen. All this so that my daughter doesn't have a stupid rash. Stealthily, I fasten the plastic Velcro on the diaper around her waist. It stays in place this time. Thank you, God. She lies there, calmly staring back at me as I fervently wipe Purell on my hands.

I gently lift her from the mat and kiss her forehead, her stubby fingers clutching at my bra strap. She rests her head on my chest as I stroke her soft back with one hand while my other hand rests under her bottom. I whisper sweet nothings into her wispy, chestnut-colored hair, allowing the words to lovingly fall from her scalp to the rest of her being. She lifts her head and smiles at me; her blue eyes crinkle with delight and little white milk-teeth poke through pink gums. My troubles disappear, and I bask in the warm rays of her beautiful smile.

And then, looking at me with those innocent blue eyes, she shivers and I feel the warmth of a newly wet diaper.

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