Bent Words

Bent Words

October 17, 2006

After having gathered the necessary materials and placing each within arm’s reach; diaper, wipes, towel (just in case) and two-year-old, Laura glanced quizzically at Alexis, who was engaged in what can only be described as a “watch the neophyte make a mess” dance.

Not encouraging.

What made the situation less encouraging was that Aunt Laura was almost unwilling to look her two-year-old niece, Allison, in the eye. Not because she had to break the boundaries of adulthood decency or because she was afraid of what she might find within the walls of that ‘diaper surprise’ – well, maybe it had something to do with that – but because Allison had the most peculiar expression wrapped upon her face.

It said, “Why don’t you just get my Mommy and Daddy back and then you can go be irresponsible, smoking your cigarettes and drinking your cocktails, somewhere else.”

It was a lot of pressure for a beginner. But at least Aunt Laura had the expertise of her elder niece, Alexis, at her side.

“Hold your nose like this,” the four-year-old said as she pinched her nostrils shut with her thumb and forefinger, her eyes squinting under the weight of her down-turned eyebrows.

Aunt Laura waited patiently for Alexis to utter the next bit of encouraging council, but after she idly pushed a button to release the lid of the baby wipes, her obligations were, apparently, over. She simply sat there and smiled – giggling on occasion.

Laura smiled, too, being careful not to look into Allison’s accusing eyes, and then removed the small pair of pink pants from around her niece’s active legs. One pant leg became lodged over Allison’s left foot and, in order to release the clothing item, a high kick into the air followed and narrowly missed Aunt Laura’s nose. Giggling from elder sister grew louder.

“Say, Alexis, I do not recall your father’s instructions stating that I had to change Allison’s diaper tonight,” said Laura. “It only says ‘tomorrow morning.’”

With each word rising higher in pitch, Alexis declared that,

“Daddy always changes her diaper before bed, Aunt Laura!”

“Oh. Kay.”

Beneath the pants, but before the diaper, was what one with experience refers to as a “onesie.” The purpose of the onsie is to create yet another absurd step in the entire diaper changing process. It also aids in keeping the diaper in place beneath the baby’s clothing. Thus, after unsnapping the three buttons in the crotch area of the onsie, Laura was ‘ready’ to tackle the diaper.
No one could have properly prepared her for what was about to happen next. The diaper, along with the darling child, was smothered in poop (as one is recommended to abstain from harsher language in front of children, the term ‘poop’ is acceptable in this instance).

“Oh, my –“ Aunt Laura exclaimed as she quickly removed the hefty package.

She spun around to place the diaper behind her and to conceal two convulsing dry heaves. She had no idea how to effectively wrap the waste product, so there it lay, open and acrid. When she returned to the child whose toes were pointed to the ceiling, she finally received her next valuable piece of pointed advice.

“Wipe off the poo, Aunt Laura!”

“Thank you, Allison. Just give me a moment to catch my breath.”

Aunt Laura wiped poop off of another human being’s backside. And yet no one was there to give her a pat on the back, a small round of applause or an appreciative smile. There were no awards, pins or medals. No flowers were handed over for her excellent performance and no one demanded an acceptance speech with her obvious transformation into this new, adult world – her only prize was the relieved expression upon Allison’s face.

That and a truly horrid smelling diaper.

Since Alexis could not be cajoled into taking the devastated diaper to the garbage in the garage, the household was blessed with the putrid stench for the remaining steps of the changing process.

Laura found the new diaper, with its innocent Bert and Ernie cartoons and pleasant pin striping, to be a welcomed sight. But these caricatures, with ironic grins and ‘ha-ha’ eyes, are meant to be seen on the front of the diaper as opposed to the back. Such does not need to be corrected, reasoned Laura, unless the diapered subject is yet within arm’s reach.

There is little time for perfection when it comes to children. Laura was just thankful she wouldn’t have to –

“Aunt Laura!” said Alexis in her scolding voice, “Allison says her diaper’s too tight!”

– do it again.

Written at 6:19 p.m.