Friday, April 18, 2008

Diaper escape

Owen has hit that critical moment in his diaper-changing journey when he has recognized the exhilarating possibility of escaping from the changing table. Gone are the days when Owen would merely cry if he was in no mood for a diaper change. Now, regardless of whether he is feeling cheerful or funky, his first reaction upon being laid on his back for a diaper change is to immediately flip himself over and attempt to crawl away. So now, for safety reasons, I wind up doing some of his especially squirrely diaper changes on a changing pad on the floor. I come armed with an assortment of toys and I do obnoxious songs and dances directly overhead in a desperate attempt to keep the squirmy guy on his back. I call in back up – and Will does his own songs and dances, reads board books, offers still more toys. And 75 percent of the time none of it works. So I change Owen’s diaper as he struggles on his tummy to crawl away. This would all be manageable if it weren’t for the fact that I’m still using cloth diapers on Owen during the day – the old school Chinese prefold kind, with old-fashioned safety pins for securing the things. And I can’t get comfortable pinning diapers on a crawling baby. So fifty percent of the time I’ve been throwing in the towel and reaching for disposable.

Back when I was diaper waffling in October, I predicted I would abandon cloth once Owen got squirmy, stinky and belligerent on me. But I really hate to start using nothing but disposables now that I’ve settled into the fairly simple process of storing and laundering cloth diapers. It’s cheap and, since I hang-dry the things, I’m pretty sure it’s better for the environment.
So I decided to do one of those ridiculously specific Google searches: “getting baby still to change diaper.” And I landed at this web site, where I quickly ticked off all the advice in my mind. Done that. Tried it. Worked once but never again…. And then I hit the gold mine: Offer something ordinarily forbidden like a cell phone, a television remote or masking tape…. So this morning I gave Owen a TV remote and he marveled at it, still on his back for an entire diaper change. Next diaper change I tried it again and before I had so much as pulled his pants down, Owen immediately flipped himself over to explore the remote like so.

So out came the masking tape, which worked for one diaper change but was old news by the time
Owen was due for another change. This time I was prepared with a back-up novel item – a piece of thick string, and again this worked for just one diaper change. So next time we moved on to one of Will’s sippy cups (which Owen covets more than any of his toys) and then a spool of thread. If Owen’s squirminess forces me to present him with new items to explore, I guess that’s just the innate learner in him, demanding that he be taught with fresh materials – so I don’t mind obliging him. As long as I can keep coming up with novel ideas – or perhaps a rotation of about 30 of them??
By the end of the day, though, I was ready to let Rob have a hand at the diaper changing. Surely he could handle just one disposable after Owen’s bath?

“Okay, you’re up,” Rob calls to me from the bedroom, as if to suggest that he’d diapered the boy and it’s time for me to take over the bedtime routine.

So I walk in and, behold, there is naked Owen crawling on the floor toward nowhere, with his Pampers lying open a couple feet behind him. So there we were again: me and Squirmy and a spool of thread. (It took the thread PLUS a gleeful verse of Little Bunny Foo Foo to get that simple disposable on Owen, and he still flipped on me before I finished the job.)

How do you restrain, subdue, hypnotize or otherwise manipulate your kids to keep them still for diaper changes or other obligatory tasks?


shannon said...

I was not so conscientious as you to use cloth diapers but I have since encouraged many wafflers to check out your site for ideas! When I read the first part of your post, I thought "how much time could she need him to be entertained?" because I used disposable. But then you mentioned the pinning and all! Whoa, Mama! They should make some kind of velcro cloth diapers. . . .

Rachelle said...

I found your blog looking for dinner plans, but was intrigued by your diaper story. I use CPF cloth diapers like you but instead of pins have a velcro diaper cover (bummis super whisper wrap $11) that holds the diaper in place and is waterproof. I rotate through 5 covers and wash them with my diapers. A great improvement over the plastic pants my mother used. And I didn't want pins. My fav site is where shipping on covers is usually free and prices are similar to other sites.

Annie Addington said...

Thank you Rachelle! That could be the perfect compromise. I've tried out Fuzzi Buns -- a friend passed a couple of them on to me -- and they are wonderful but so pricey (especially if you want to buy enough that you won't have to launder them ever day) that I haven't wanted to buy a boatload of them after already infesting in the pre-folds.

And Shannon, if you know any new-mom diaper wafflers, don't necessarily encourage them to follow my example. Probably a lot more people would stay in the game if they invested in some of the pricier, absorbent fleece diapers without pins (although I really think pins are just fine UNTIL your baby gets squirmy on you).