Oh man. I had an epiphany about why old ladies use those clear plastic sofa covers. And it’s not because they live in perpetual fear of excitedly wetting themselves when Publishers Clearing House rings their doorbell. It’s because of craptastic babies. Or more specifically, their frazzled parents.
Mind you, veteran parents have superpowers that obviate the need to cover your furniture. But freshmen fathers and mothers are still acquiring skills.
Case in point: your friends are over with their newborn, when suddenly a malodorous miasma wafts across the room. While the parents begin triage, you casually look askance. Maybe you even offer a more accommodating room.
But new parents are to be trusted no more than gypsies.* Five times out of six, a diaper is changed without incident. But if a smidgen of poo smears your throw-pillow? Panicked parents will flip it over if the coast is clear. Or say a kicking baby will only be soothed by the Montblanc perched on your desk? Make it so.
Casualties in the service of expediency only multiply in public, where victims are anonymous. Full, fetid diapers are stuffed into the trashcan of a restaurant’s bathroom. The changing station in Barnes & Noble will be left looking like some baby’s butt perpetrated a hate crime.
When a mom friend first asked if we’d ever handled a blowout, I was confused. “You mean like with a car tire?” She gave an amused snort at my naiveté, then invoked Aliens to describe a horrific fecal exodus. (Although given the combustive nature and subsequent frantic efforts required to defuse a blowout, I always identify more with the Hurt Locker.)
Changing Fox’s diapers, I have a decent record with home field advantage. But my away game is terrible ¿Backseat of a car? I’m like 0-3. ¿Vinyl booth of a diner? I’m second string on the JV squad. ¿Airplane lavatory? I don’t even play in that division. When the action gets too hot, I send in The Wife. She’s got a Gold Glove fielding dribblers, bloops and squibs.
As with alligator wrestling, a diaper change can turn perilous. Newborns are fairly docile. But a squirmy one year-old male can arch, pivot, then drag you down into a death roll. You either hang on or get swamped.
But enough ruminating. I should dispense some wisdom. So if you don’t already know, herewith are [ahem]
Three Things To Increase Your Chances Of A Hassle-Free Diaper Change
Did you ever think you’d be reading this shit?
1. Huggies Slip-On diapers. These feature a major innovation, possibly on par with elasticized waistbands, resealable tabs and superabsorbent polymers. You just pull these up and on, like underwear. Done.
The Wife is positively crazy about them. Pull-Ups have existed for years as a toilet-training tool for older toddlers. But this is the first baby diaper that comes pre-fastened at the waist. This means you don’t even need a changing table – provided you’re just swapping out a wet diaper. Note that Slip-Ons are a little scratchier than your baby’s regular brand, so they’re better suited for short stints than for long naps. But on-the-go, nothing could be easier.
2. Plush Pad, by Ah Goo. Gezundheit. It’s like a portable Tempur-Pedic changing pad. The thin layer of memory foam gives your newborn a soft comfy surface. (Ah Goo has in no way compensated me for writing this, which I contend is a huge tactical oversight on their part.) Oh and the Plush Pad comes in a cover that is water-repellent and washable. How is that possible? Good question.
3. Music. I know you’ve got some ass-happy baby playlist, lovingly curated, thoughtfully ordered, and all cued up on your iPod.
Oh that’s just me?
I used to mollify Fox by handing him the trinket du jour. But either he’s outgrown the ruse, or he’s ready for one of those forged metal ring puzzles. Nowadays music is the only reliable distraction on the changing table. These three songs from Yo Gabba Gabba! have been doing the trick for months now. (Just click on the triangles when you’re ready for a listen.)
Animal Sounds by the Aggrolites. An easy-breezy reggae tune. And it’s educational. Irie.
In a Safeland by Tanya Petra Haden. Hauntingly beautiful song about a girl’s apprehensions moving to a new neighborhood.
Be Nice To Animals by the Salteens. A finger-snapper that just might keep your kid from pulling the limbs off a daddy long legs.
Outside the home, you’ll of course need an iPhone or something with a passable speaker. As I am not in possession of an iPhone, I’ve never actually used the music option on the road. But a boy can dream.
Sometimes, when fate and circumstance conspire against you, it’s time to man-up. Like changing a flat tire, there’s something to be said for rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty. It’s just too bad there’s no roadside assistance for dirty diapers – no AAA for your baby’s blowout. But if you get in over your head, you can always take a page from the fairer sex: try looking helpless until someone takes pity and does it for you.
* I was under the impression that politically correct terms for Gypsies and Eskimos were optional. No? Fine. Roma.