As soon as the words “diaper change” come out of my mouth, a flurry of “No! No! No!” is left hanging in the room as my son scurries off to the farthest corner of the apartment he can find. This is followed by what, to the outsider or uninitiated (a.k.a. non-parent), may seem like an idyllic scene of father chasing around his son who shrieks with delight at the game. Look a little closer and you will notice the grimace on the father’s face and a mixed expression of amusement and apprehension on the son’s. After a couple of fakes around the dining room table I can usually grab my son and immediately cup the back of his head in my hand as he makes his first evasive maneuver by going completely limp. I accompany his head to the floor as he tucks and rolls away all the time yelling “No! No! No!”. He then attempts another mad dash while wiggling his whole body to get me to release my grip. As I scoop him up he attempts his most daring and dangerous move – the backwards somersault. It’s certainly an Olympic moment as he tries to push off, arms forming a perfect “Y”, his back curving backwards and his head snapping back for momentum. This is followed by a quick lurch forward with head hurtling back towards my face. I have learned to move my head to avoid contact after the first few swollen lips, but my reflexes are not what they used to be so I find that I must start the motion while he is still executing his back flip. Given his strength and purpose I really should pile drive him into the changing table and knock the wind out of him to settle him down, but he’s a kid or so the little voice in my head tells me in the heat of the moment, so I attempt to lay him gently onto the table – flailing arms, splayed legs and all.
Now comes the hard part. He does not want to part with his sopping wet stinky diaper. No Sir. And he tells you that in no uncertain terms: “No! No! No!” while pushing your hands away and holding onto his diaper as he does with his beloved blankie. This is where it gets tricky. He barely fits on the changing table and so his sustained struggle to maintain possession of his stinky diaper is causing him to teeter on the edge and to threaten falling off the table. Even a solid forearm and elbow pin cannot stop him these days (left arm and elbow slanted across torso while left hand unfastens and fastens the diaper and also secures the ankles for the lift and tuck). The right hand works feverishly to wipe, remove stinky diaper, apply cream, replace and fasten a new diaper. All of this while avoiding direct contact with the stinky part of the diaper. When the wriggling is too intense contact is, unfortunately, inevitable. And to think of how worried I was when we first brought him home two years ago. My main concern then was how do I change his diaper without breaking him?
We are at a point now where diaper changes – for everyone’s safety – must occur on the floor. This gives him unlimited roll around range so the traditional changing pads are practically useless. This is bad news for our rugs since stinky diaper stuff transfers so easily. I have, though, found a pad that is a lifesaver in more ways than one. I recently met Grace, the inventor of the patemm changing pad. It seems so simple and yet she’s the only one who thought of a round changing pad. For my current diaper change situation it’s perfect and I will say that I wish I had found it sooner because it would have saved me a lot of grief. Just to be clear it is not an ultra-portable pad, but the padding and the configuration are, in my opinion worth it. There are plenty of patterns to choose from as well as laminated (for the spill prone) and non-laminated cotton versions. For the patriots, the pad is Made in USA. For the worrywarts, the pads are free of lead, phthalate, latex, BPA, or formaldehyde. These are durable pads that will grow with your kids until they no longer need diapers so you will only need to make the purchase once unless you are a shopaholic or want to make sure you have different colors to match all of your diaper bags. The patemm pad has certainly cut down the diaper change time for me from 30 minutes to 20 minutes which these days is another small parenting victory.