When trying to entertain a cranky child, especially a newborn, you can easily find yourself going to bizarre lengths to illicit a smile. Little Miss Junior has started teething in the last week or two, and the tip top of her first tooth is peaking out of her lower gum. Of course this event has been followed with a fair amount of drooling, an intensified desire to mercilessly gum anything in grabbing distance, and a solid uptick in cranky behavior towards the end of the day. In that regard I’ve been experimenting with a variety of smile inducing activities to keep LMJ in good spirits.
Our first child enjoyed mummification in a swaddle while being bounced on an exercise ball. Thankfully LMJ is her own woman with no real interest in extended bounce sessions. She certainly enjoys a rousing chorus of “Grand Ole Duke of York” on Daddy’s knee, but perpetual motion is not her thing. No, LMJ enjoys the finer things in life… pulling hair, chewing on most anything, and belches. Yes my youngest daughter will break from a solid whining session and giggle at a good Daddy burp. Atta girl. This marvelous discovery came to me a couple weeks ago quite by accident, when an actual daddy burp elicited giggling delight from my 7 month old. Ever the opportunist, I proceeded to burp in her face for the next minute or two, much to her amusement. Red was a bit less thrilled.
I also introduced LMJ to her first ride on daddy’s shoulders in the last week. This was a direct attempt to calm a cranky little girl before bedtime and make it through those last 45 minutes before bath-bottle-bed without a major meltdown. Not surprisingly she did enjoy her first look at the world from a new vantage point, but mostly I think because I let her pull my hair with impunity and chew away on the back of my head like a toothless happy baby zombie.
So here I was in my living room two days ago with LMJ perched on my shoulders happily munching on the back of my hair while simultaneously trying to pull some out from both sides of my head when I caught whiff of a telling odor. Either our dog had just relieved herself on my feet or, much more likely, LMJ was making a large deposit at the diaper bank while seated happily on my shoulders. Bear in mind that I have both hands above my head holding her mid-section while she’s gleefully trying to pull all the hair off my head with her very small fingers. I slowly raise my soiled offspring over my head and hold her in front of me at arm’s length to survey the damage. Houston, we have a problem.
LMJ has recently just started enjoying her first non-milk meals… mostly things like baby cereal mixed with applesauce, but a whole new world of culinary delight. The downside of these adventures in mushy eating are the new, ‘explosive’ deposits to her diaper fund. As I held my squirming 7 month old in front of me, I knew immediately we had a 4 alarm fire in progress. Not one to be bound by the constraints of a diaper, LMJ’s latest masterpiece was breaking new ground, all the way up her back.
Diaper changes right now are particularly difficult for a couple reasons. First, LMJ is trying to roll/crawl/move most of the time. She’s not mobile yet, but she’s working on it. If you set her down she will auto-roll to her right like it’s her job and she’s never missed a day at the office. She will then grab any object within reaching distance and put it in her mouth. She is currently at war with the remote control and one day she will eat one if we let her.
It is this squirming soiled roll crazy child that I’m now attempting to separate from her very messy onesy without smearing either the wall or her face with the full contents of her diaper. I manage to split her from the onesy, remove the diaper, and begin the Exxon-Valdez’esque cleaning operations. It is at this moment that I look down and see that my grab n chew daughter has her right hand locked onto her soiled diaper which I thought I had put out of reach. She is naked, not yet cleaned off, and draped in my right arm while my left hand is holding the very soiled onesy when Red comes through the door returning from a dog walk.
My inner voice is screaming ‘no! no! no! no!’ at the thought of her pulling that diaper to her mouth. Police footage would later reveal it was more like ‘Ahhh! Ahhh! Ahhh!’ out loud to the room but I swear I was shouting no. Red bursts out laughing while I careen our poop covered child over the changing table and get her to drop the diaper without any major disaster. What followed involved a lot of soap and a new onesy. No more post meal, pre-bed baby on shoulders walks… next time I’ll just burp in her face.