A guide to nappy changing, as told by a seven-month-old

changecryFor reasons nobody knows, parents really like changing nappies. They do it at least six times a day regardless of how much you protest (sidenote: actually more if you attempt a dirty protest).

These people will drop everything for the chance to take off all your nice warm clothes and leave you freezing cold and exposed on the changing mat. It doesn’t matter what they’re doing: eating, talking, playing with those weird little light-up boxes that I REALLY want, getting ready to leave the house – they will drop everything if they decide you need a clean nappy. So far, I’ve been unable to determine what set of circumstances lead to them deciding a new nappy is needed, but it seems like the more urgently they need to be somewhere, the more likely they are to want to change you. Berks.

So, anyway, I’m not saying I’m a nappy-changing expert, but in my seven months I’ve already been changed about 9,765,043,654,209,810 times. Along the way, I’ve learnt a few things which I think other babies will find pretty helpful.

Firstly, the second they put you on the changing mat, start screaming. This alerts the parent to the fact you do not wish to be changed. Mine don’t listen, but I scream anyway. Surely they will one day get the point. Ideally, the screaming should be maintained throughout the changing process. It gets a little tiring though, so make sure you save some energy for nap-time screams.

Once you’re on the mat, they will start to undress you. This is when you want to start getting in a little exercise. you’ve probably discovered your limbs by now. Maybe you’re rolling, you might even be crawling; whatever you can do, do it. Do loads of it. Thrash your tiny arms, flip yourself over, arch your back, kick them in the face. Whatever. You know you’re doing it right when they end up pinning you down with one hand, trying to wrestle off your tiny little weird-necked vests with the other, and muttering things like ‘for fucks sake’ and ‘Jesus christ, you’re like an octopus’.

The next step is grabbing. The one good thing about changing time is that it requires a shitload of stuff. All of this stuff is stuff that you cannot have but really really want. Ideally in your mouth. While your parents are distracted by trying to remove your 9,000 layers of clothing, grab whatever you can. Talc is great. Nappy cream is awesome. The nappy they just took off you is the holy grail. Try to fit whatever it is that you’ve got in your mouth.

Now, you won’t be able to keep whatever it is you grab. Your parent will notice, say something like ‘shitting fuck’ and snatch it away. However, this affords you a valuable opportunity to get your feet inside the nappy they just took off. You’ll probably have done a poo, so get some of that on your heels and just kick them about madly like someone is trying to set you on fire. The aim is to make contact with as many soft furnishings as possible.

While they try to clean up, make the most of not having a nappy on. All that padding is pretty restrictive, so it’s an ideal time to have a big giant wee all out in the open. Although be careful: if your parents are not feeling lazy, urinating all over yourself will result in a full bath. Don’t even get me started on those bizarre torture devices. Although I will quickly mention that bubbles may look delicious, but are not.

By this point, you’ll pretty much be changed (hopefully you remembered to scream uncontrollably throughout the entire process). Your parent will be sighing with relief and thinking about cramming you into your car seat so that they can go somewhere silly like ‘work’ or ‘a doctor’s appointment’ or ‘baby group’. Show them that you’re in charge by either vomiting a load of milk down your clean outfit or doing a poo. Sure, it means they have to change you again, but it’s worth it.


Little discourage

sleepsuitThere was a lot I didn’t know about babies until I had one. I have mentioned this before. One of the fundamental things I had no idea about, was that it is not ok for a baby to be small. I mean, obviously all babies are kind of small; if they weren’t, they’d be born all full-sized and creepy, like real-life Benjamin Buttons*. But it is not ok to have a baby who hangs out at the lower end of the centile chart.

M is a lower-end baby; she hangs out around the tenth centile for weight (although is around the 70th for length and head size). Her weight gain has been stable, she feeds well, loves solids and is bounding through milestones. She sleeps right through the night (unless I have jinxed this by writing it down, which is totally possible) and is an utterly content and happy baby.

To some health visitors and many strangers, this does not matter. Because M does not sport enough rolls to stock a Gregg’s, apparently I should be concerned. I myself, am 5’2″ and weigh about 118lbs. Even in pregnancy, I only gained about a stone despite eating like a pig with some kind of thyroid condition causing it to be constantly ravenous. Both my brother and I were small babies. My husband is long and lean. These are also things which do not matter.

It has been suggested I replace breastfeeds with formula, try to increase my already ample milk supply, and ‘hide’ butter and cheese in my baby’s food. I have not done these things, because having your very healthy child fit into its clothes for a little longer than other babies is not the worst thing to happen since the UK stopped manufacturing the Secret chocolate bar. I myself am still able to wear clothes from many children’s sections, and frankly, who doesn’t love to save on tax?

I can also take comfort from the fact that M will eventually level out with other kids and people will stop complaining that she is not fat enough and start complaining that I’m doing something else wrong.

*Incidentally, I found The Curious Case of Benjamin Button excessively irritating because he was not born as a full-size man. However, at the end of the film, he was a baby-sized baby, so logically he should have been born adult-sized. Also, it was very boring and actually not very curious at all.


Design for life? Not really

1395985_10152002343192674_1628056030_nIt’s become clear that the people charged with making shit for babies have a big problem. This problem, is that they’ve never seen a baby. Or if they have, they’ve seen them exclusively in those creepy renaissance paintings where babies are just ugly, quite small adults. There’s no other explanation for the number of items which actually hinder the already fraught process of keeping a baby alive.

I like lists, so here are a few of the most egregious examples:

1) The Lamaze Octotunes Octopus and other baby toys.

Now, I love the Octopus. I do. He is impregnated with the scent of vanilla, you can play chopsticks on him, and his rainbow colours delight M. Also, his tentacles are delightfully phallic. So much so that we call them ‘cocktacles’ and have named him ‘cocktopus’. The only problem is that what M really wants to do is honk his cocktacles for herself. But she can’t, because they are formed from some kind of steel/plastic composite. Seriously. You need the strength of ten creepy renaissance babies just to illicit the tiniest squeak. It’s cool, because M is happy enough just squeezing and biting him, but still. If you’re creating a noise-making toy for babies, consider creating one babies would not need to triple their bodyweight to have a hope of making noise with.

2) Bath seats

I’m pretty sure the bath seat was actually designed by a baby which wanted to make it easier to consume its fill of bathwater and bubbles. Sure, the bathseat frees your hands to clean your child without having to hold it with one hand and shampoo it with the other (a process much like I imagine applying body butter to an eel would be). But it also gives the baby added freedom, which doesn’t seem such a good thing when it is vomiting soapy water down its clean onesie and you have to put it right back in the bathseat and start the whole cycle again.

3) High chairs

Have you ever looked at a chair designed to hold a child with the hand-eye coordination of a drunk chimp and thought ‘wow. It would be so great if this thing had loads of creases and folds in the seat so that little morsels of food could get trapped and even when you’ve cleaned them out 9,000 times, somehow food remains. Also, add webbing straps, because they are fun to clean’? You probably haven’t. Well the people who make highchairs have.

4) Snow suits

If you ever wanted to experience handling limbs which are simultaneously alarmingly fragile and overwhelmingly strong, try cramming a writing six-month-old into a snowsuit. For added fun, do it in front of an audience of strangers in somewhere like a coffee shop. They will enjoy discussing how you are probably going to accidentally kill your child for a long time after you leave.

5) The grocery basket on prams

Or my pram anyway. Seriously, what is this, a grocery basket for ants? Unless you are Victoria Beckham, this basket is not large enough to carry your groceries. I tried to fit a sandwich and a can of coke in it one time and it basically exploded.

6) Anything with buttons

Initially, your child will be too floppy for buttons. They will be on the back of all its adorable little clothes and your child will scream when you lie it face down so you can do them up. Eventually, it will become strong enough to support itself while its buttons are fastened. At which point it will begin wildly rolling, squirming and thrashing around as though you were trying to light it on fire the second you try to clothe it in anything at all.

7) Mittens

Mittens perform one function: getting lost. Hypothetically, they are capable of keeping your infant’s hands warm, but nobody has ever kept a pair long enough to confirm this.

8) Hairbands

‘Oh wow, this is so useful for keeping my newborn’s really long hair off its face’, said nobody ever. The one advantage to these things is that they are slightly more tasteful than drawing a vagina on your baby to remind everyone its a girl.