Dirty diapers 101

I’ve never in my life changed a dirty diaper. I view this as one of my crowning achievements, considering I grew up with five siblings, my mom ran a daycare center in the house, and I have six nieces and nephews. I’ve been around a lot of babies in my day and yet, with the stealthiness of a germaphobic ninja, I always eluded danger whenever the stench of putrid soiled Pampers wafted suddenly through the air. I’ve had to go to great lengths to shirk this responsibility: Jump out windows, fake heart attacks, stab myself in the stomach with a steak knife to change the subject, but mostly, when a baby crapped himself in my presence, I just called to the nearest woman.

But now, with twins on the way, I fear I have been backed into a corner and I can’t escape. My years on the lam must now come to an end. I feel like Harrison Ford at the end of the Fugitive. My wife told me last night that she’ll be teaching me how to properly change a diaper using a baby doll as a stand in. I must become an expert in the next month, apparently. I guess when the heat is on and the babies are real and they’re cranking out poo like an assembly line from hell, she’s not going to have any time for me to be fumbling and bumbling around.

The thing is, I’m not too worried about the technical aspects of the operation. I feel like I can handle that. What I really need to know is this: When I’m staring down at a diaper full of digested Gerber, do I utilize the no-breath or shallow-breath technique? I’ve faced this dilemma with many a rank restroom and I’ve tested both strategies. When you’re forced to use the facilities at a truck stop or a Roy Rogers or a radio station (worst of the three, trust me) you may think it best to hold your breath. This is high risk/high reward. If you make it in and out without having to replenish your lungs, you win. Whatever toxic gasses were lingering in there never got a chance to introduce themselves to your nostrils. But what if it takes you longer to complete your business than you anticipated? When you can’t hold it any longer you’re forced to take a deep, sudden breath and suck in every poisonous molecule in the atmosphere. A tragic miscalculation. I’ve known people who have held their breath for too long, refusing to breathe in the fecal fumes, and suffered irreversible neurological damage due to lack of oxygen to the brain. I once knew a guy who held it so long that he passed out and drowned in the urinal. It was the most hilarious funeral service I’ve ever attended. May he rest in pee. I mean peace.

To avoid such misfortunes, shallow, controlled breathing is recommended. I am going to assume that diaper changes warrant the same technique. Of course this could all be avoided if my wife would get on board with teaching the kids how to use the litter box. If a cat can figure it out, I’m sure they can. I know it may defy certain arbitrary social conventions about how you “shouldn’t treat your children like pets”. But I’m an outside the box thinker. A visionary. A pioneer. And, most importantly, I just really hate dealing with poop.

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7 Responses to Dirty diapers 101

  1. Matt:

    I didn’t have kids until I turned 48. One could say, fear of “localized global warming” was one of the reasons. I knew that if my offspring inherited a mere 10% of my gift for air pollution, that it would be a stinky environment indeed.

    Fortunately, God has a plan. The true potential of your children’s output happens in stages. It’s gradual. Initially, it’s just a tad offensive. Nothing too hard to handle. Mostly because the product going in is easily digested and is not composed of hundreds of chemicals that your body struggles to digest.

    As solid food is introduced, the stench will increase, but you will have adjusted. In other words, your gag reflex, like any muscle, will strengthen over time and with repeated exposure. Just like progressive resistance exercise for the body, you will get stronger.

    Unfortunately, there is no spill over effect that will cover other peoples children, so don’t make the mistake of offering to change any of your friends babies.

    Congrats and good luck on the new additions.

    • Mary says:

      Congratulations on your expected arrivals!
      All of Patrick Albanese’s comment is true. Newborn poop is nothin’. The poop of a 3 year-old (and, potty-trained or not, rest-assured you will at some point have close-encounters with the poop of a 3 year-old) may require the coping techniques you mentioned. I recommend shallow breathing through your mouth. Would you like any advice on dealing with piles of chunky vomit on the carpet in the middle of the night?
      -mom of 4

  2. magicalpat says:

    In fact…. it’s a lot like Iocaine Powder.

    Both come from down under and you can build up a resistance to it.

  3. Finicky Cat says:

    No advice on the breathing… But rub their little rumps with coconut oil ASAP after birth, and the meconium (poo during first day or two) will come off easily. Otherwise, it’s like trying to wipe tar off tender little skin. Good news, though – meconium doesn’t have much smell! (In fact, coconut oil from neck to toes will help with the dry skin, too. We have five, with another on the way, so this is Proven Technology.)

  4. Cylar says:

    I’ve nearly thrown up while changing my daughter’s diaper, the stench was so bad. I literally felt my stomach convulse several times on several different occasions. I’m not proud of this. It was a completely involuntary reaction, even as my brain knew, “This needs to be done.”

    I keep telling myself that my parents did all the same things that I’m now doing for my little one…and she likewise will pay it forward some day, as hundreds of generations before us have done.

  5. Rachel Peterson says:

    My husband and I have deal: I change all or 99% of the diapers and he does the dishes. I love telling people that I change all the diapers before explaining our trade-off and seeing the looks of outraged horror. Totally works for us though because I grew up changing diapers it doesn’t phase me but I think dishes are disgusting and he can’t stand diapers but is great with dishes. Then again twins might throw something like that off a bit.

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