There are three things you can be certain of as a new parent--you will be knocked off your feet with a staggering love for your baby, you will not sleep as much as you want to and you will find that within a matter of days, if not hours, poop will become a contstant companion. The part of your new life that is not already consumed with feeding, rocking, playing with and taking an ungodly number of pictures of your baby will be spent dealing with what comes out of the baby.
In one of our pre-natal classes when the instructor told us that newborns could go through 10-12 diapers a day I thought that was a comical overexaggeration and I chuckled at her funny joke, if only to be polite. As it turns out, some newborns, mine for instance, can actually meet that number and exceed it on a surprisingly regular basis. Why? Why? In fact, she was born with the incredible talent to dirty a diaper while it was being changed, amazing. At first I thought, "What a clever little baby I have! How quick she is! How cute!" But after a few instances in the darkness of night, under the veil of exhaustion, when I didn't think it necessary to open my eyes while changing a diaper only to find upon getting back into bed that I had poop actually on my person and when I checked the baby she was also partially submerged in the substance--only then did the amazement fade. The dismaying part of finding poop on yourself in the middle of the night is not that EW poop is gross but that you have to waste precious minutes of sleep changing yourself and the babe. Changing diapers can be enjoyable too! I get to play with her little toes and tickle her tummy and since she started smiling diaper changes are so much more fun, I think she knows that it's a funny situation and usually smiles and giggles away the whole time.
A foolish new parent will leave the house for the first time without carefully mapping out their intended route and making note of where the diaper changing facilities are along the way. Foolish indeed. It is also foolish to assume that there are diaper changing facilities in all bathrooms in all stores in all public places. False! There are not. At least not in this country. (I intend to make notes of baby-changing-friendly places when we are in Texas in April and I'm hoping that Chick Fil A is one of them because I plan on spending a nice chunk of time there.) Nothing strikes fear in the soul of a new parent more than being out with a baby whose diaper has failed you and not being able to find a place to change her, especially in the winter when a park bench will not do. I once saw a mom with terror in her eyes lurch into the Starbucks I was sitting in, empty the contents of her diaper bag at a table and change her little baby there and then. I don't think I have the audacity to do that, but then again I haven't needed to yet. Maya has been changed in the car on a few occasions.
Speaking of changing rooms, enter one and you have entered a whole new world previously closed off to you because you had absolutely no reason whatsoever to go in one. On our first time out with Maya, Sam and I came to the point of no return where we had to change her diaper and so we sought out one of the two known baby changing facilities in the town where we live. Upon stepping into the chamber we were immediately assaulted by the strangest of statements, "OOoooOOOoooOOOHHHHh WHAT A BIIIIIIG POOOOOOOO!!!! Mommy's little boy is soooo gooooood WOWOWOWOWOWWWWW Looook at THAAAAT!!!!!" and I couldn't believe that this was part of our new life, that exclamations like that are completely normal. I have made some very close friends in changing rooms since, even if those friendships only last for as long as it takes to change a diaper. You always leave knowing how old the babies are who were in there, their names, their approximate weight and how well they sleep at night. Oh how we miss little Martin from the service station on the M4 between Bristol and Swindon who we met on the way to London! We will never see him again, yet I will always wonder if that top tooth ever came in! Sweet little Floella from the changing room in town who had just turned 4 months and had pooped all over her last change of clothes that her mom brought with her! What a cheeky little monkey she was!
Back to that first day in a changing room: Maya, the very child I kept safely within my body for 8.5 months and lovingly laboured with for over 24 hours, decided to launch a full assault on her sleep deprived and naiive parents when we were at our weakest. She had been saving up for just the right moment--already feeling nervous about doing this out for the first time I slowly took off her clothes and her diaper with anxiety rising up within me, which was when she began her attack by spraying poo on my hands which meant that I had to take my eyes off her for a few seconds to wipe them clean, meanwhile she took the opportunity to projectile poo over my clothes and onto the floor at which point Sam, who had previously been taking a power nap propped up against the wall, came to my rescue with more wipes, and while we were trying to clean that up she started peeing, drenching herself and both of us in the process. What a rat! I literally did not know what to do, I had never seen such a mess with a baby in the middle of it, I took a step back and hopped from one foot to the other and had a very slight freak out until Sam had gained control of the situation with almost a whole pack of wipes and all of the diapers we had ventured out with (like 18). Come to find out these occurances were not at all unusual and Maya sneak attacks often, but ever since that first time we have been prepared with great big towels and buckets of water and full hazmat suits (which can be seen in Exhibit A below). Always always always be prepared. Be over-prepared.
One last observation (I don't want to go overboard here and gross anyone out, although I'm sue I probably already have--sorry), but isn't it just amazing the sheer velocity at which a tiny doll sized human being can expell their lunch?? The distant targets they can hit? And at what angles! I have been changing Maya before and got her cleaned up ready to go and then noticed a puddle a few inches off to the side, at a 90 degree angle, perpendicular to her body. It must just be a baby skill, I know I can't do that!