Now, I’m the first to admit that my best days as a grandma of babies are probably behind me. I have gotten used to throwing a towel, washcloth and clean night things on the bathroom counter and saying to my capable older grandchildren, “Okay, time for a change and a wash, get to it.” They do the work and Grandma relaxes in front of the television until they emerge squeaky clean and ready for bed. Now, I took care of them as babies, but it’s been 9 whole years ago since I dealt with diapers and sleepers and baby baths.
And then, almost a year ago, along came Emmett. He is such a bright and happy baby, and I love spending time with him, but I have realized that my skills for efficient baby care are a bit rusty. In addition, Emmett isn’t too sure he wants to trust me anyway.
This weekend was a prime example. Emmett is at that age where he takes a while to warm up to Grandma and Grandpa when they come for a visit. After this weekend, he may have even more issues to deal with, because he ended up in the rather inept hands of Grandpa and Grandma for a few harrowing moments.
I love to get the babies out of bed in the morning because I always think me releasing them from the crib makes me the hero. When I walked in, Emmett was standing up, leaning against the side of the crib. He was calling something in baby-ese, but judging by the look on his face when he saw me, whoever he was calling for, it wasn’t me.
That didn’t stop me from picking him up. He gave me a suspicious look all the way to the changing table, as if to say, “I called for Dad, but you’re not Dad.”
Ignoring the odd looks, I called for Grandpa to come in, but he, too, got a somewhat odd expression. Nonetheless, he needed a diaper change and some dry clothes (Emmett, not Grandpa), so I went to work. Of course, he had a messy diaper and it took me only three times as long to clean him up as it would have his parents.
After I had a fresh diaper in place, but not on, I noticed a little bit of rash. There was some cream on the table, so I applied some. Now, everyone knows what happens when you leave a baby without their diaper, and sure enough, Emmett peed and I mean, he peed everywhere.
Another clean diaper switched out the newly soiled one and I began to use wipes to try and clean up the baby. While doing so, I noticed that the pee had run under the baby and so he, and the new diaper were a mess all the way up the back.
New diaper number three had to be put on with Roy holding him in midair, because he couldn’t be placed back on the wet changing table. After that, we took him to the living room, where his grandfather declared, “He still smells like pee.”
“I don’t know what you want me to do,” I crabbed, “I don’t know where the baby tub is.”
At this point, one of my self-sufficient grandsons looked up from his video game and advised, “You better wait and ask Mommy. She knows what to do.”
Well, I am certainly capable of doing anything that “Mommy” can do, so I wet down and soaped up some paper towels. Using the same method as before (Grandpa hanging the baby in midair), I soaped down and wiped down the baby, who by this time, looked pretty grim indeed over the inept service he was getting.
Relieved, I laid him on the couch to put a fresh sleeper on. He immediately tried to escape, which I think shows some intelligent thought on his part. The sleeper was unlike any I had ever seen and I only put it on backwards once. Snapping four million (okay, maybe not that many) snaps on a squirming baby who is seriously trying to put a safe distance between you and him is a process that could take as much as a half hour–which it did.
When his parents returned, he lit up like a man up for execution who just got a reprieve. I lit up like a grandmother who has forgotten the finer points of baby care. I really want to have him come and visit for a week next summer like his brothers do. Do you suppose he will be showering and changing his own underwear by then? I didn’t think so!