It’s her new developmental milestone that’s causing the inter-familial tensions. It was an innocent thing when it first started, almost cute even. But the seriousness never really sunk in, nor the implications if things went further. We purposefully didn’t think about it, telling ourselves it wasn’t really happening. Like we do with the leaky dishwasher.The first strike was the worst, inflicting the parents the most damage both physical and psychological. The door slowly opened with a toddler standing quietly in the dark with that timid look that signals even a dimwitted parent, something has going terribly wrong.
It was the smell that struck me first. That all too familiar smell of trouble, the kind of trouble that involves wipes and clothing changes for everyone involved. But my chest tightened as it was our bedroom she was in. Thinking she’s almost ready for a real bed, we had let her test out ours (which we had never done before) after an especially fitful evening in her crib.She had removed her clothes and diaper. Again. A new trend that has become a near-every night ordeal causing general misery for everyone involved. Not content with just taking a dump in mommy and daddy’s bed, she felt the need to apparently sort through her offering barehanded, with both hands. Her face looked like she had just returned from begging for bread on the streets of Calcutta. But it was our bed that suffered the worst, forcing a Woman Called Mom and me onto the sofas for the evening. Their innocence stolen, the pillows will never be the same.
Now the bedtime routine has turned into the bedtime routine from hell. The constant diaper removals and ensuing threat of biological warfare force us to listen to the baby monitor with the same tension as if we’re on a destroyer and listening to the sonar for enemy subs. Losing focus or trying to sneak in a quick minute in front of the tube can have disastrous consequences. And it can last for hours.
She’ll do this anywhere from 2 to 10 times a night. Sometimes she’ll cry softly as a warning, sometimes she’s silent but most likely, she’s diaper-less with a hair-trigger, ready to fire. Mid-day naps over the weekend are no exception. I found this out the hard way this past one as a dead monitor battery failed to alert me in time the screaming child upstairs. I knew what I would find before I entered but the sight of a larger number two-er laying in the crib was unsettling nonetheless. The diaper lay six feet away, spotless and reusable.
Sure I can now change crib sheets faster than a NASCAR pit crew changing tires but this has got to stop.
We’ve tried different pajamas but that doesn’t help. She’s Houdini with anything involving buttons or zippers. I thought about duct tape but am certain she’ll just fashion that into a rope to lower herself out of the crib, or something worse. We’ve tried potty-training but she hasn't taken to it yet. I’m strongly considering a metal grated floor like you find at the pet store or a tarp.
I pray the war will be over soon. Both sides are getting weary of the fight and attrition is taking its toll. Just last night I arrived with a thousand-yard stare minutes too late as a diaper-less child stood despondently in her crib amid the acrid smell of yet another accident. Only this time, the diaper was in her hands, with her offering still completely contained, held out as if to say truce.
God I hope so. Metal grates are expensive.