I have a friend who refuses to change diapers. He’ll hold and cuddle. He’ll change the baby’s clothes. He’ll help with the laundry and vacuuming, but change a diaper? There he puts his foot down – NO.
I beg to change diapers. Me!! Me! Let me! I have to tone down my enthusiasm so my family doesn’t think I’m too strange. But what could be better than changing a newborn’s diaper?
I place the baby lovingly on her changing pad. Her little arms swing wide open as if she’s saying, “whoa, where’s the sides to this thing? Am I going to fall off? Hey mom, I liked it better all cooped up inside of you.”
She settles down as I place my hand on her tiny chest, feeling her heart beat beat beat like that of a tiny bird on a branch. She turns her face toward my voice, her eyes not really focusing yet. But I can tell she recognizes me.
I didn’t talk to her softly via my daughter’s ballooning belly for nothing.
“Hey little one,” I whisper. “This is cool. Just you and me and a diaper. Now I can tell you all the secrets to life, and no one’s around to disagree.”
The baby quiets as if she’s listening real hard.
I keep one hand on her smooth brand-new body as the fingers on my other hand pull off the Velcro on each side of her diaper. She whimpers a little, like a tiny toy dog, and my first advice comes out, “relax and enjoy this – before long you have to take care of yourself. Right now, you can just lie back and take it easy.” She stops fussing. I talk nonsense as I stroke a warm wipe on her belly, through her crevices and around her bottom. A warm wipie!
“Oh my,” I croon. “You don’t know how lucky you are. This has just got to feel good.”
She seems to agree, putting her fist to her mouth in astonishment. I place some ointment on my finger and tenderly smooth it all over her bottom.
Her new skin feels as soft as a baby bird’s feather, or as the fluff that flies out of a newborn dandelion.
“Take care of your skin” is another piece of advice I administer as I begin to tuck on the new diaper. “Sun feels good, but believe me, wear a hat to protect your beautiful cherubic face.”
The babe has had enough of a grandmother’s advice for one diaper change. Her body stiffens and her face scrunches into a cry as she longs for the security of a tight womb or, barring that, a loving hug and a tight blanket.
I wrap her in a pink blankie that is so soft it makes my skin shiver. Then I hold her up against me with my last piece of advice – “always remember that you are loved so completely, the earth rotates around YOU, not the sun.”
I just know she is.
Dedicated to my six grandbabies, and to the new baby in our extended family – Archie.