Pooped Out

A Long Goodbye To The Good Ol’ Diaper Daze

Every parent goes into the process of having a child while knowing that diapers are unavoidable. Those sweet and precious little babies rely on their caregivers for absolutely everything, and this includes keeping their little bums clean. Whether the idea of doing diapers brings on an immediate gag, or not, makes no difference. It’s gotta get done, and becoming a parent means accepting it as part of the job.

It starts on Day 1.

(I’m on Day 995.)

What a journey it has been, too. I still remember the very first diaper I ever did. I don’t know how I managed to escape it before my son was born, but somehow I’d been lucky. I recall that I was alone in the hospital room with my newborn son in my arms. He had been born only 10 hours before this and I was still in awe of him (and a little afraid, too). I had sent my husband home to get some sleep and bring us back some breakfast while I was embracing the first few hours, as a new mom, with my bundle of joy … until a thought suddenly came to me.

I’m supposed to do his diaper.

Oh no! This realization, and the fact that it had to be a realization, felt like immediate failure. In the haziness of childbirth and meeting my son for the first time, diapers had not even occurred to me. The hospital’s wonderful nursing staff had put a diaper on when they first cleaned him up, and I had been so wrapped up in the snuggles, feedings and watching my baby sleep that I didn’t give it another thought.

Horrified at my blunder, I jumped into action. I laid my little guy down on the hospital bed and began to do his (and my) first diaper.

Luckily, I had been warned that the first poop would have the consistency of tar—and that it would require the application of Vaseline to remove it. I think, if I had not been expecting this, my mom-guilt would have skyrocketed as I wondered if my delay had caused something to go drastically wrong.

I remember being proud of myself as I finished up the process. And, while it did take some time to feel confident changing him on my own, my little guy and I quickly got into a solid rhythm—a rhythm that has helped with the bounteous amount of diapers that we have gone through so far.

There have been hundreds (thousands) of diapers. So many that it’s difficult to remember a time when I wasn’t living in this daze of diaper duty. It’s a normalcy that is a little unsettling when you sit down and think about it. For example, I, like many parents, have developed an ability to not feel nauseated when I see my child’s fecal matter smeared up my arm or dolloped on my forehead after a change. Sure, it’s gross. But it certainly doesn’t ruin my day.

Now, is this because it’s my own child? Maybe. I mean, if being thrown up on and sucking my son’s snot out of his nose when he gets sick doesn’t get under my skin, why would cleaning up a messy diaper get me down?

To be fair, I’m sure if anyone else’s poop touched my skin, I’d revolt. Truly, bless the childcare workers who take care of our youngsters! They really don’t get the appreciation they deserve. So, perhaps doing diapers isn’t that bad. But, as I mentioned before, I’m on Day 995 of this poop (Wink!).

Enough already! I yearn for the moment when I can get rid of the change table in my son’s room. I look forward to not having to hunt through store after store for filters for the diaper genie. I want to leave the diaper daze behind and move on to new and better things. Cleaner things.

We’re getting there.

I’m happy to say that my little guy is finally reaching a point where he is seemingly ready to leave the diapers behind and begin using the toilet—just like a big kid. Although, I’ve heard many stories and warnings about the dangers of pushing your child into potty training too early. As excited as the prospect of no more diapers is, I do not want to rush things. Our first attempt, a few weeks ago, taught me that the most important thing is that we do what’s right for him and follow his pace.

Our first try showed that while my son was somewhat interested in the potty, he didn’t quite understand what he was supposed to do on it. So we took a step back, took this experience as a teachable moment and vowed to try again when he started to show more interest and knowledge on the topic.

Interest is key, so I’m told. Interest and an understanding that it will take patience and encouragement—especially when the accidents do happen. And I appreciate all of the amazing advice I have received from my son’s daycare teachers, family members and friends who have more experience with potty training toddlers than I do.

One such token of advice came from Brenda Pilatzke-Vanier, a super mom and dear friend of mine who assured me that the process of potty training (in her words) “can be so frustrating. So, try to make it fun.” Then she added, “We turned a real corner once our child discovered that even superheroes poop!”

I mean, if superheroes do it, then it’s got to be cool, right?

Rewards were another suggestion I have received for sparking interest and encouraging our kiddo to use the toilet. But it kind of felt like a backfire when it caused my darling boy to burst through the bathroom door and announce, “Mommy gets a special treat now, too!”

“Yes, buddy. Please, close the door.”

We’re getting there.

My family will soon get to bid farewell to the good ol’ diaper daze. I can see the light, and it brings me comfort to know that this does not need to be a stressful process. I know my little guy will have a full team of supporters rooting him on, along the way, as he leaves the diapers behind.

We’ll make it fun and build his confidence as he enters this new phase of growing up and finally goes diaper free.

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