My first post ever referred to a classroom adventure with a Niagara Falls-type toilet. And I fear that toilets have crept into other posts as well. Perhaps it was my early experience of British humor, often involving toilet jokes. Is that a 40-year-old stereotype? My favorite uncle was a plumber near Liverpool, so perhaps that’s the connection. At any rate, as I was visiting a restroom today, I laughed at a sign on the door. Written in both English and Spanish, with a mass of exclamation points, it reminded patrons not to flush certain objects, including diapers.
Diapers? Now seriously, who would flush a diaper? But as I laughed at the sign, I recalled my very first babysitting job. I was totally not ready to be a babysitter. Never held a baby and never really wanted to. Our neighbors must have been extremely desperate when they enlisted a 12-year-old to watch little Maria. My mother arranged the deal and obviously confused me with some other child. When I arrived, the couple were dressed for a formal event, long gown and tux. They took me into Maria’s room, where she was sleeping like an angel, dark curly hair and pierced ears. Her parents spoke softly, assuring me that their baby would sleep through the night. If she should wake up, which would not happen, I needed to change her diaper. The mom pointed to a stack of neatly folded cloth diapers.
We crept back out to the living room and said our goodbyes. I heard their car drive away, followed by unmistakable sounds suggesting that Maria was awake. What? I tiptoed to her door. She was clinging to the bars of the crib. Crying. I pulled away but her baby radar sensed my presence. Maria wailed. I stood out of sight, sweating bullets. What should I do? Finally, I went into her room, turning on the light so I could see her. Not a good idea, because she could see me, too. A total stranger. Maria shrieked so loudly that I was scared of her. Bravely, I went to the crib and lifted her out. My gosh, she weighed a ton! She had soggy wet cloth diapers, slippery sweating skin, and enough tears for both of us. I tried to comfort her but I don’t think she heard me. All I knew was that I should change her diaper. How? I had no idea. Where? I did have the sense to realize I should change her in an enclosed space. Unfortunately, I did not memorize how that diaper was folded before I unpinned it. Yuck! Poopy diaper! An evening of horror for both of us.
Did you know that an unfolded diaper is actually large enough to serve as a tablecloth? I had no idea. I’d never heard of origami then, although I tried to fold that stupid clean diaper into something smaller than a suitcase. Did you know that they used pins on diapers? What a dangerous idea for kids and diaper-changers alike! Did you know that it is incredibly difficult to change a shrieking, poop-covered baby in her crib when you can hardly reach over the bars? Did you know that a baby will fall asleep from exhaustion after screaming for TWO hours?
Once Maria fell limp in her crib, I was forced to deal with her poopy diaper. I went into the bathroom and held that diaper over the toilet. My goal was to shake off the poop while flushing the toilet. That smell! Unfortunately, as I flushed, I lost my grip on the diaper and flushed it down the toilet. Sort of. It was mostly down but still wedged. My biggest mistake was flushing the toilet again. I will leave the rest to your imagination.