For me, and for most new daddies, the anticipation of changing your daughter or son's first diaper was a scary thing. How will I be able to go through with it? How gross will it be? And God forbid, what if I do it wrong? Well for me, that sweet, yet bossy Australian nurse named, Matilda, in the Birthing Center, didn't give me much time to think about it. "Here you go daddy." She handed me a diaper the size of my toe and pointed to the Bean’s tiny bottom. I used a soft moist paper towel to wipe the Bean’s private area clean, and then put on the diaper with the sticky tabs like I was wrapping a present. And you know what, it wasn't that bad. Aside for the fact that the tiny poop was black and looked like volcanic rocks. But before I freaked out, I was quickly informed that this was perfectly normal. The Bean's digestive system was just getting going. And so was my role as the Super Dooper Pooper Diaper Changing Dad.
After a while I got used to it. I didn't mind getting poop on my hand. It we inevitable. Especially when Bean took pooping to a whole other level. I don't know how she did it, but she pooped up her back. On her neck. Even in her hair. But her craziest poop experience (or I should I say skill), was when she fired her infant diarrhea across the changing table with the force of a fire hydrant, about six feet forward like a guided missile, exploding all over the cotton curtains. Wow! Never seen that before! Brooke and I were in shock. Number 1: "How the hell did she do that? And number 2: "Maybe we could enter her in a contest? Pay for her college education." Better yet, we considered talking to the Deputy of Homeland Security about using our daughter's super butt for fighting off terrorists. Don't laugh. You never saw our curtains.
But no matter how many times I changed the cute little Bean's diapers, there was no way to prepare for taking my diaper-changing act on the road. And when Brooke went back to work, and it was me and the Bean in Barnes and Noble and I smelled POOPY, I panicked. My first instinct was to ignore it. But I couldn't ignore it. Then I told myself, "Well maybe she didn't poop?" So I did what all mother's do in public. I picked up my daughter and sniffed her butt. Yeah, I sniffed her butt. Sounds sick, huh. If you're a new parent you know what I'm talking about. And if you're not a parent yet, just wait. You'll be waving your cute, stinky offspring high in the sky saying cutesy stuff like, "Oh did you poop, little poopyhead ?" Not that I ever said those words exactly.
So there I was, we were, at Barnes and Noble. A familiar setting. But this baby poop thing in public was foreign territory. All right, here goes it. Not so fast. I stood outside the men's bathroom with my stroller. Yeah, the men's bathroom. That's enough to get you sick right there. But what was I to do? So I just stood there, outside the men's bathroom, trying to time it perfectly that nobody would be in the bathroom when we went in. But that wasn't happening. Whatever diaper-changing fate awaits us, there was nothing I could do. So I begged my daughter to work with me during this covert operation, not against me. She just looked at me like she hadn't a care in the world. She pooped. “Big deal dad, I always poop.” It didn’t make any difference to her where I changed her. So I was on my own.
I took a deep breath, not knowing what to expect inside, inside the bathroom and inside her diaper, then I pulled the hood over the stroller, and we went for it. Ignoring the public toilet stench, the weirdo’s congregating in the corner and the bad yellow lighting, I headed straight for the handicapped stall, with the changing station thing in the wall, with the picture of that goofy cartoon bear on it. I'd always seen that thing with graffiti on it and I never knew that one day I’d actually have to put my daughter's tuchas on there. Gross. Now, enough whining. Be a man and do what was once just a women's job, in the men's room. So I got down to business, her business. Before I picked her up I pulled out the orange changing pad, and laid it over the goofy bear table. I pulled out the plastic container of moist, soft paper towels, a clean diaper, and Dr. Diaper Daddy was ready to operate. “All right Bean, let’s make this quick.”
I grabbed her like a sack of potatoes and placed her on the table. I unbuttoned her pants. And then when I peeled back the onesie, Oh God, I had my work cut out for me. How did that stinky boogie monster come out of my cute little daughter? I nearly dropped. She was covered. And this was one of those special poops—up her back. “Shit, shit, shit. What am I gonna do? What am I gonna do? Shit, shit, shit, it's all over her.” But thank God, she wasn't crying. Or screaming and throwing a fit. She worked with me like we had discussed earlier. After I carefully peeled off the soiled onesie, I had to thoroughly wipe her down, practically giving her a sponge bath in the handicapped stall. God, it stunk in there. And not from my newborn daughter’s butt. Some old guy was reading the paper, talking to himself, in the next stall. I could see his dirty shoes, and baggy pants on the dirty tiles. Yuck. Meanwhile, the beads of sweat were dripping down my nose. I wanted out of there. I was working so fast, praying nobody started banging on the door to come in. So after I cleaned her up, I diapered her and put on a clean onesie that I happened (Brooke packed for me) to carry with me for special occasions like this.
Mission accomplished. I kissed the Bean on the head. I felt like a champion. I was no longer a diaper-changing-station virgin. I plopped her back in the stroller. Snapped back the goofy bear changing table to the wall and proceeded to exit. But before I put my hand on the door I stopped. I realized I had to "go," so I gave the Bean a bumble bee rattle to play with and I pulled the hood down while I went to pee. Thank God that’s all I had to do. God forbid I pooped up my back.
After I flushed, I wheeled us the hell out of there. And we didn't look back. And if somebody had a problem with me changing my daughter in the men's room, I would've pulled down her diaper and aimed her butt at them. Super butt. And they'd keep quiet from then on.
I learned a lot from my first public diaper changing experience in the Barnes and Noble bathroom. From now on, if I have to change a diaper in the bookstore, I stroll the carriage to a section nobody browses in, like the Science section, and I change her right there. I spread out my diaper pad across the floor, I strip the Bean, I lift her little chicken legs up in the air, and I get to work.
NOTE: I'm not bashing all public, goofy bear changing stations. As a matter of fact, I've come across some rather pleasant ones. The "Crate and Barrel" in Soho has a chrome plated table in a large private stall with it’s own marble sink. It's all zen in there. Nice flowers. Stop by if you and your stinky one need a potty stop, and tell him the Bean sent you.