Crawling babies, man. They are a riot. They are discovering the world and finally figuring out how to amuse themselves. What’s over here? Have I seen this today? Can I pick this up? Open this? Throw this? What does this taste like? This drawer thingy pulls out! But it smashed my fingers! Betrayal! Dog bowl? Dog bowl!
Tommy has spent the last month exploring every nook and cranny of our home, seeing what he can get into and taste-testing as much as possible. The first floor is basically a loop consisting of living room, hallway, kitchen, and dining room, with myriad doors, drawers, chairs, and tables to test and pull up on. He spends a good part of the day circumnavigating this loop and getting into as much mischief as he can.
The best part about this is that Tommy can finally amuse himself. No longer is he trapped in one spot, subjected to whatever toy or activity I bring to him. He can go to the object of his choice and do what he wants with it for the 2.5 seconds that it holds his attention, then move to the next item on his list. For much of the day I’m free from holding him or sitting on the floor. Instead, I can stand or sit on a chair like a civilized human being while I watch him, slowly following him around from activity to activity.
Granted, I can’t exactly get as much stuff done as I used to while he’s on the loose. Instead of being able to plop him in once spot while I do the dishes or whatever, when I set him down to do something productive he’s instantly trying to climb up my legs, pulling down my pants in the process. It’s a bit harder to move around the kitchen with an anchor on your leg, one that will cry if you accidentally knock it over.
His favorite destination is the dog’s water bowl, because he loves splashing, so I’ve had to move it up on the counter at all times when the Tommy Monster is loose. He won’t eat the dog food, but he will fling it about whenever he can. The poor dog, she knows good and well that she’s not allowed to snip, growl, or make any threatening move at the baby, so she just looks at me like she’s been betrayed and avoids the baby’s grabby hands as much as she can.
One of Tommy’s most amusing games is opening my file cabinet and playing with the tabs. At least once a day he’ll pull out one or the other of my degrees (which I keep in their padded folders in the back of the drawer) and fling them on the ground. I ignore the subtle irony and put them back, and we play the game all over again.
There is one problem, however, that surpasses all the other problems associated with crawling. And it’s one that I just can’t seem to find a reasonable solution to. So I’m asking for your help, internet (er, the 30 or so people who might read this post). Please tell me what to do.
What the hell do I do with a crawling baby who won’t let me change his diaper? I’ve looked for advice on the web. All I’m getting is that if the baby is flipping over and squirming, it’s best to take diaper changes to the floor level and try to distract the baby with a toy. Well, I figured that out. Oh, and I should use this special time to enrich the bonding between mother and child? Really? Because my horrified screams of “NONONONONOAAAAAHHHHHH!” are really great for the mother-child relationship? Fuck off, Mother Serenity; you’re not fooling anyone.
When it’s just a wet diaper, it isn’t such a big deal. It’s annoying, but I don’t really care if he crawls around bare-assed for a bit while I try to slap a diaper on him from behind. What’s really traumatizing us both is the poopy diaper situation. He simply won’t lie still long enough to wipe the poo off his butt before he crawls around the entire room, getting that filth all over everything. He just wants to move. But he doesn’t realize that it isn’t okay to roll over, sticking a foot or knee into the dirty diaper, or wander about and sit on various objects while his underbits are still an unholy mess. And I can’t subdue him with toys or songs. I used to get him to hold wipes or diaper cream, or anything that might capture his attention, but now nothing works. No, the only thing that I can do is physically restrain him, pinning him down so that he can’t roll away. Sometimes I even have to hold his shoulders down with my feet. And I feel like I’m straight-up torturing him when I do this. He certainly thinks so. It’s ridiculous! I feel crazy, I look absurd, and I sound like a lunatic every time I have to change the kid’s diaper.
I know I’m not the only mother who has ever gone through this. I can’t be. My common sense tells me this. But I can’t find many people talking about it online. Is it that taboo? Is everyone so ashamed of either (a) poo or (b) physically restraining their babies that they simply refuse to talk about it? Well I don’t care! I’m calling out for help. Someone tell me how to solve this so that I don’t emotionally scar my child and myself and/or have a house that is forever unclean. The two are not mutually exclusive by any means.