The Softest Thing

Baby's feet by Pamela S. WightI 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 asinfant, changing table, diapers 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.

diaper change, infant, blankieI 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.”

The sweet soft new being becomes as still as a lake on a warm summer’s day. She’s soaking in every word I say.grandmother, baby, baby talk

I just know she is.

 

 

Dedicated to my six grandbabies, and to the new baby in our extended family – Archie.

64 thoughts on “The Softest Thing

  1. Babies are so soft and sweet. Your love for your grandchildren shines through in this lovely post. They are lucky to have a grandmother to talk to them, hold them and change their diapers. ❤

  2. I suppose it depends whether the nappies contents make him heave. If it’s not that then there’s no excuse. He’ll not experience the closeness you so obviously feel.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

  3. I cannot wait until our next grandbaby is born in Nov and get to cuddle, snuggle, rock and ,yes, change diapers! Thanks for the reminder of all the fun things to come ❤️

  4. I am beyond diaper changing (unless I’m around for the great-grands), and I never quite saw it as the wonderful opportunity that you do. Now I wish I had a diaper to change.

  5. I’d love to go back to those days of diaper changing, but alas I’ll have to wait until my two big grandsons have children of their own, and that will be awhile yet.
    You put into words just how special a time that is, Your friend doesn’t know what he’s missing–unless he’s been cursed with an extremely weak stomach–and if that’s the case, best he stays away. 🙂

    • I hope it’s not just women who are able to appreciate these subtleties of grace, these moments of pure love, found in the act of changing a diaper. I do wonder about men who can do the most gross things (play in mud, pull a fish off a hook, or stab a worm into a hook) and yet be unable to change their baby’s diaper. !!!

  6. Having three children in 3 1/2 years my early days of diaper changing is a muddle….but I have been redeemed with grand and great grand kids. It’s a wonderful opportunity to bond. As they get a little older (almost 4) and still refuse to be potty trained that takes a bit of grit and bear it. No cooing or cuddling, just get ‘er done. Luckily that’s the exception to the rule, in my case anyway. He’s 5 now, and one day we were in deep conversation when he decided to jiggle the jello under my arm. ” Gramdma, are you old?” when he saw the look that I give when anyone refers to my age, he said, ” Grandma you’re not old, just your arm is.” He’ll probably be a politician!

    • Oh, this is hysterical! With six grands now, I agree – diapering an infant is delicious – older ones, not so much. And I have one at 4 who also is refusing to go with the potty program. Sigh. But he’s also the one who may be a politician or a lawyer, I wonder if we’ve found a link here. 🙂 🙂 :-0

  7. How I loved to hold and cuddle my grandbabies. There is something just so special about the new life you hold in your arms. And I agree that changing diapers was a special time too. Now my little ones are grown, and my youngest now says I am vintage. I still love her (and her sister) 🙂

  8. What a beautiful antidote to that awful video going around Facebook of a guy gagging while he changes a diaper. And proof, once again, that our attitude toward a task determines whether a task is enjoyable or distasteful.

    • I know. After I posted this a number of people sent me the link to the dad unable to change a baby’s diaper without getting sick. Not to judge, but…really? I know that to some I’m a bit ‘strange’ to think it a beautiful act of love, to change a diaper, but I’m sticking to my view.

  9. Wow Pam, what a beautiful, beautiful post. It’s so full of the softest, shiniest gems, like the line about putting your hand on the tiny chest and feeling the heartbeat – pure magic. I really feel it, I get it. I don’t have children myself but was blessed to spend quite a bit of time with a friend’s newborn last year, during his first month of life…unspeakably precious. A stunning piece of writing dear friend…and indeed, those six grandchildren are as lucky as a grandchild can get, to have you 🙂 Hugs, H xxx

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