Diapers and Packages

I lifted Baby from my lap to change her diaper and saw a puddle of what was definitely not pumpkin soup where she'd been sitting.  What had started as a single overnight to manage some packages had turned into perfect fodder for a comedic screenplay.

* * *

As a mom, going to a store requires packing a bag and a baby, which requires warm clothes, emergency diapers, and leaving the house looking like a pack mule.  So for holiday shopping, perusing Czech eshops seemed much simpler, with the exception of the local post office.  I just don't like this post office.  No matter what hour I try, the lines are long, the organization is confusing, and the atmosphere is stifling with the clutter of papers and taupe.

So as I ordered Christmas gifts I happily thought, "I can avoid that post office altogether and order them to our other flat," a flat in a city with a post office with clean design, an understandable number system and normally short lines.  So I cheerfully click-clacked the address into my orders.  Yet I neglected two important details: 1) I'm a stay-at-home mom, which means I could be home when the packages come and not even have to go to any post office to pick them up and 2) we're only in the other town on weekends . . . except for that Thanksgiving weekend when we'd be celebrating in Ostrava and the Christmas party the weekend after that.

Which week do you think the packages decided to come?

Moreover, the amount of time that the post office holds packages has shortened to 7 days, plus an upcoming Christmas party required immediate collection of one of these packages.  So after Thanksgiving I wedged myself between two carseats as I caught a lift from friends to our other flat.

There were some complications managing packages--a missing slip of paper, another package not yet arrived--but more complications arose from one very simple thing: Diapers.

Since the most time-sensitive package had not yet arrived, I decided to stay an extra night to (hopefully) receive the last package. That led to a diaper crisis.  I'd packed enough cloth diapers for a single overnight.  So after a 3 AM feeding and soothing session, I loaded the washer, hoping to wake up to a finished cycle, not the E10 error message on the machine.  This machine is past its prime and is understandably tired after years of washing sports gear, clothes soiled from gardening, and, of late, lots and lots of soiled diapers.  I thought she'd just sighed into retirement.  Not wanting to disturb my husband with the unfortunate news, I decided to play it retro and wash the diapers by hand.  A bit more laborious, but doable--so long as I maintained eye contact with my baby playing on the floor because she wanted her mama's undivided attention.

By this point in the day she'd already soiled quite a few diapers and the clothes on top of the diapers.  Not only was her outfit now makeshift (a tshirt and legs warmers), but her diaper was one of our reserves plus a cotton washcloth added for good measure. To make the outfit complete, I used a floral fleece diaper.  As I kneaded the diapers in the warm water, Baby continued to complain.  I gave as many smiles and songs as I could manage while rinsing and hanging the diapers, knowing that we'd be trying the diaper-free method pretty soon if these diapers didn't air dry fast.

 Once they were hung, I sat on the floor "pretzel-style" and took her into a sitting position in my lap.  She instantly settled down to playing contentedly with her toys.  Then the noises started.  You know what I'm talking about, the concerted grunts as Baby Girl unburdened herself.  So that was the real reason behind her complaining.  Our diaper supply dwindling, I first wanted to move her onto a surface suitable for changing her, feeling that some of her, erm, waste matter had leaked out.  And as I held her in the air, I saw the puddle (read: lake) she'd left on the flare of my stretchy pants.  The carrot from yesterday was also visible.

Did I mention she's in the diaper-changing phase where she tries to roll over as many times as possible within the 1-minute change?  I half expected a laugh track to sound as I struggled to position her, give her a washable toy to distract her, strip my own clothes without dripping, clean my hands, change her diaper, and find something to dress he rin.

And that was when I reflected on the absurdity of the morning: early wakings, 3 outfit changes, improvised diapers, kneading out her soiled diapers by hand, and now a whole lot of organic matter on my own clothes.   I felt like I was in a sitcom or a stereotypical movie about moms.  But aside from the acrobatics around the diaper change, the dramatic music and annoyed frenzy was missing.  The amusement of the grossness of her ambitious diaper soiling was not lost on me and I found myself quite content to be her mom in that moment.  A bit grossed out, yes, but also calm and thankful for my babe. (And if that weren't enough, the package that I'd been so eager to receive came that morning to my door: no post office visit necessary.)


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