I was totally unprepared for how different nappies with my daughter would be.
Changing a nappy can be a quick simple process or a lengthy stinky nightmare. Any parent of more than a week will have their own technique; a particular way to line up the many nappy accessories, how you fold their clothing underneath them, how many wipes you have preemptively at the ready. These are all personal choices. However, from the moment you unpeel the first sticky tab to the replacement of the final one, we parents have all shared that breath-holding, heart-beating race to complete the task before they decide to pee again! This 20 second period is what I like to call the “Switch-a-too”.
I swear in 3 years of changing my son’s nappy I’ve been peed on 2 or 3 times. That’s it. In the 8 months I’ve been changing my daughter I get peed on 2 or 3 times a week!
I remember with my son you could almost sense when you were pushing the “switch-a-roo” too long and had time to step aside. Boys, dare I say it, are a bit better designed in this regard. The pee gets angled up and away from him. In fact if I’d had the ability to position a mug in the vicinity of his ankles I doubt I’d have had to do any clean up at all.
With my daughter? Ha! No such warning! It’s like a stealth wee. I’ll have removed my hands for just a few seconds to get the next nappy and yet when I raise her bum again… it’s wet. Further investigation shows that it’s wet all up her back as well, around her legs, and on those plastic nappy mats it is now flowing up towards her head! All of this with no visible indications that she has even peed! I’ve lost count of how many simple nappy changes have resulted in full costume changes. With my son the only costume change was my own t-shirt, sometimes!
And don’t get me started on Number 2s!
I learnt some words at NCT classes that, as a man educated in an all-male school my whole life, I’d never been aware of.
“Front to back”
The simple explanation is that a girl should always be wiped Front to Back to avoid, shall we say, cross contamination. It made perfect sense when I heard it. And it was hammered home in our lesson, if I didn’t wipe her front to back she would likely get an infection and immediately keel over, BAD PARENT! So when I had a daughter I felt prepared to be extremely diligent in this regard.
That was until the first nappy, good God little girl! I was preparing for precision wiping but I can only describe my method as Front to Back, Up to Down, Rotate around the legs, Left To Right, Right to Left. I needn’t have been so concerned, any pre-conceptions I had of dainty, rose smelling, femininity were destroyed in that moment.
This all wouldn’t be so bad if she wasn’t the wrigglest baby in the world! I challenge any parent reading this to a wriggle-off, my daughter will beat your kid any day of the week, particularly in the middle of the night! Changing her can be broken down into a few simple stages:
- Place baby on her back
- Undo old nappy
- Immediately try to wipe as much poo as possible
- Fight her as she tries to roll over
- Give up fight
- Attempt to wipe random bits of poo that get smudged on:
- Toy chicken
- Old clothing
- New clothing
- The wall
(Not an exhaustive list)
- Pick up, place on back
- Pick up, place on back again
- Pick up, place on back AGAIN
- Fight baby into new nappy
- Enter physical stalemate to attach final tab of new nappy
- Swear under breath
- Finally secure new nappy
- Find random bits of poo on own clothing two hours later.
Changing my son is actually one of the earliest bonding memories I have with him. While I was preparing the various supplies required to conduct the nappy change operation he was lying on the change mat looking at me. I could see in his eyes he was saying “Dude, I’ve sh*t myself, this is NOT cool and I can’t do anything about it, you gotta help me here!” It was one of the first times I truly felt that Protector urge rise up inside me.
With my son I feel there was a mutual feeling that neither of us wanted this change process to last any longer than absolutely necessary. My daughter? I’m pretty sure she’s laughing at me.