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September 4, 2013 / ginavoskov2013

Adventures in Diapering

A rough calculation of how many diapers we have used to date since Edith’s birth yields something like 700. This is just a staggering number when I think about the trash my daughter has created in her short life. Well, she hasn’t created the trash. We use disposables, so our choice to do that has created the trash. (We are also using g diapers, an alternative to the plastic disposables; but they’re so expensive we can’t use g diapers exclusively.) It’s also astonishing that I have changed a diaper 700 times in the past three months. That means that I have breastfed her well over that number. When people have asked me lately, “What’s new?” or “What have you been up to?” I just kind of stare at them. Diapering and breastfeeding is apparently what I’ve been up to, I guess. I have nothing to contribute to any conversation about anything beyond diapering and breastfeeding. In short, I am not the person you want to go get coffee and catch up with. I will likely grin at you and try to repeat the sounds you’re making.

This is what I’ve been doing with Edith. They say to teach conversation skills, it’s a good idea to repeat the sounds babies make. So I spend most of my day saying “Ooooh,” “gah,” “bllllrp” after she does, and filling silent times with other zerbert noises and one-sided conversations that sound like this: “Do you want to go for a walk? bla, bla, bla, Biba, baby Edie, bla, bubba. Oooh, let’s put you in the Ergo! Would you like to go in the Ergo? You love the Ergo! Okay! Let’s put you in the Ergo! And then we’re going to go for a walk! Where are we going to go? Oh, Biba, Biba, Biba! Oops, Mama should really call you Edie so you know your name. Okay, let’s go! And we’re walking, blah, blah, bllllrp!”  The years of talking to my cat, Otis, have prepared me for one-sided conversations with my daughter, but nothing prepared me to have these conversations for ten hours a day. I’m sick of hearing myself and have to make a conscious effort to lower my voice an octave when Dennis comes home at night.

But back to the diapering, because I know that’s what you’re really excited about.

In the past couple of weeks, we’ve had extreme gas. And this leads to just the most disgusting and explosive diapers I’ve ever seen. I know, I know: “Wait until she starts eating real food!” But no. For right now, these remain the scariest things on the planet and I am forced to confront my fear and control my gag reflex at least once a day, and then do laundry. Edith’s diapers are the closest thing I have come to seeing dysentery.

I think the diapering thing is kind of like a dance, albeit a kind of gross one. But it’s all about timing, swiftness, prayer, and when it’s gone really well, celebration. I have to whisk her away to the changing table when she’s given me a clue that it’s time, usually a strong and audible vibration, and often accompanied by a very serious stare. Then it’s a quick check to determine the severity of the damage, a mustering of nerves, a smile to the babe to let her know everything’s going to be okay, and then it’s into the trenches armed with wipes and prayers. “Please don’t poop on me. Please don’t poop on me. Please don’t poop on the table.” This begging gets more desperate if I realize half way through that I haven’t opened the fresh diaper to slide it under her when she’s all cleaned up. I’m telling you, they are precious seconds when really anything can happen. Yesterday, during those seconds, she peed all over the table. Last week…last week? In those couple of seconds? You guys, I saw poop come out of her body.

And then it’s fucking war and I am the least prepared soldier out there–bombs and guns and people yelling orders everywhere and I’m standing there letting it swirl all around me, unable to move. It’s like rational thinking goes straight out of my head and I turn into one of those dads in movies–like where they hold the naked baby away from their bodies and look around for help as the baby cries and continues to pee. Do I put Edie on the floor? In the bath? How do I turn the water on? No, I should probably put her in the crib while I clean up. Where’s a clean diaper? Wait, no, I have to put her down first. But how do I put her down when she’s still dirty? Oh no no no no! Stop peeing! Stop! Stop! And when it’s all over and the clothes and changing pad cover are soaking in the sink and Edith is smiling and my blood pressure has returned to normal, I reflect on the order of things and prepare for the next time: Open the new diaper, place face down on the table, open the wipes container, pull one out and make sure it doesn’t stick to the next one, unbutton onesie, take a deep breath through the mouth, unfasten dirty diaper, attack.

Do you see now why we should not go to coffee? This is all I have to offer.



Leave a Comment
  1. meeshie / Sep 4 2013 12:05 pm

    Have you done the math yet on how many MORE diapers until the glorious possibility of potty training? I’m regretting not just starting with cloth diapers. Five months down and a million months left in the diaper trenches to go! 😉

    • ginavoskov2013 / Sep 4 2013 3:17 pm

      Oh god I know. All the diapers we have used so far were either gifts or from the hospital. After we go through the only size 2 box we have I can’t imagine the financial commitment we will be making to diapers. Cloth diapers are the way to go but not here in our NYC apartment where the laundry room is in the basement. I can’t even do my own laundry let alone wash out dirty diapers with any regularity.

      • meeshie / Sep 4 2013 3:57 pm

        My husband ran up to me the other day at the store and said “I did the math! If we can potty train him by 2 and we only buy at costco it’ll only cost us $2100 in diapers!” *twitch* *cry* *mourn vacation money*

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