Today, for the first time, I changed my baby in a public restroom. I had, previously, been there for changings on relative's furniture and even for the occasional change in the back of my SUV (the latter of which had to be done in three different stops since my kid is not one to waste time and only defecates once a day. A BIG ONE. Once a day.).
Big Harry and I are strolling through Target and, once again, I am stuck muttering in the deodorant aisle since my particular brand seems to now be geared toward sweaty pre-teens instead of glistening housewives. I was delving through row after row of "pear blossom" and "cherry daffodil" or some crap like that when I heard a familiar sound coming from the cart.
"Is he poopin'?" I asked Big Harry as he continued to prattle on about air filters or horsepower or percentages - things beyond my stuttered and drugged comprehension - "Is he?" I peered closely at my serious-faced child. His head was to the left. His blue eyes were shiny and - his face was beet red.
"Unnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnh!" he repeated, lips pursed and face turning tomato-like.
I look at my husband. He looks at me. We race to the checkout line, unwilling to forgo our over-priced toiletries but praying that we can make it back to our home, a mere five minutes
down the road, before Poopgate 2010 began.
"Unnnnnnnh!" We're in the lane, and the cashiers, obviously being paid hourly, continue their slow and oh-so-difficult job of running items over a scanner in a speed usually reserved for Nursing Home relay races.
"Unnnnnnnnnnnnnh!" My baby grunted again - a loud and evil sound. And then the smell filled the air. That smell that can only be known by the parents of fussy children with sensitive systems being run on things like soy milk and oatmeal.
"Oh no," I said and sighed. I grabbed my Kate Spade overfilled diaper bag and plucked my child from his seat.
"I'll do it," Big Harry said, looking every bit the martyr as he heaved his large manly
shoulders and hung his large-but-cute-head in defeat.
"That's okay - I have my diaper bag. I'll do it."
"Okay!" he said and waved to me as my squirmy, stinky child and I headed toward the Target lavatory.
I had noticed the changing tables BK (Before Kid) but had always considered them to be, well, too icky to contemplate. A place where poop was harvested and pee was captured. The ironic part of it being located directly next to a toilet was lost on me.
Carefully, I plucked a paper towel from the dispenser and approached the plastic slab on the wall. Using the towel as a shield, I flipped the table down and set my bag upon it. I then laid
down my own changing pad (carefully constructed to match my Kate Spade bag but not, as it happens, to stay put as I chased my squirmy kid from one end to the other, dodging sneaky pee streams all the way).
"Unnnnnnnnnh!" Baby Harry grunted again as I laid him on the pad, removed his Jordan shoes and bright orange shorts and surveyed the damage.
One tiny pebble stared at me from the confines of his Big Bird diaper.
"Well that's not so bad!" I grinned at my baby and dug in my bag for a wipe - as he grunted again - a fierce and mighty UNNNNNNNNNNNH and - covered himself, my hand, and the rest
of his Big Bird diaper with yellow goo.
"Ewwwwww! Harry! Ewwww!" I laughed and tried to remember not to breathe through my nose.
"Well, that's still not so - AAAGH! HOW ARE YOU STILL POOPING?!?!" Like a secret agent my small child had lined up the shot, folded his chubby legs in the air and grunted like a sliverback gorilla as he delivered another barrage of poopy play-doh into the filled diaper.
A bag of wipes, two diapers and three handwashings later, I walked out to meet my husband. He took one look at me, a sweaty, disheveled mess with red cheeks and then looked at his happy, giggling son.
I expected him to offer to take the next round of poop roulette. Or to offer to get me a cool
beverage so as to recoup from the stank war I'd just waged - and sorta won. At the very least I expected him to lovingly wipe the beads of sweat from my hair so as to keep it from curling into a hick-fro.
"Hey," he offered instead. "What did you do with his shoes?"
Luckily, I was too parched to answer him with the string of curses that filled my mind as it would've required oral acrobatics that my tired self and dry mouth could not perform.
"In bag," I managed to reply and tossed (not literally) our kid at him. I slowly shuffled to the concession stand and purchased a bag of popcorn and a large Cherry Coke to make myself feel like a real person instead of a walking latrine. I savored the drink, letting its sweetness fill my mouth, bubble on my tongue and rehydrate my very soul (I'm country. We like our pop. Get over it.).
I then dug into my popcorn, grabbing a handful with glee and stuffing it into my face - when I realized something.
My hand smelled like poop.
Even after multiple handwashings up to each elbow - the stinky baby butt smell permeated from the pores in my hand - which was now filled with popcorn.
Which I ate anyway.
I really am adjusting to motherhood...