By Charlene O'Hanlon
Being the parent of a toddler and a teenager, I have had my share
of awkward parenting experiences - a diaper change in the middle of a
somewhat formal dinner; a whole baggie of cereal thrown into an indoor
fountain "to feed the ducks"; my youngest taking the hand of a
stranger's child and deciding she was coming home with us to play ... the
list goes on.
But perhaps the most awkward situations, especially as a new
parent, were the diaper-changing sessions that were, shall we say, less
than ideal. Whether it was location, equipment or just plain lack of
planning, some of my past diaper changes make me cringe today (or laugh
out loud, depending on my mood).
Without further ado, here are a few of my most memorable awkward diaper changes:
On a cross-country flight: While most, if not all,
airplanes have diaper-changing facilities in the restrooms, the
drop-down table seems flimsy and, frankly, not very safe to change a
calm baby, let alone a fussy or active one. So in the interest of
safety, I decided to do the diaper change at our seats in the main
cabin. However, this was one particularly messy, stinky diaper, and the
second it came off, the entire plane knew what I was up to. Needless to
say, I made no friends on that flight.
During the St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City: My
family and I march each year in the St. Patrick's Day Parade up Fifth
Avenue. We normally "step off" with our group at 1:30 or so, which just
so happened to coincide with nap time for the youngest. However, the
little guy wouldn't nod off as usual, and the culprit was a wet diaper.
So, mere minutes before we were to step off, my husband held the little
guy under the arms, while I stripped him down, did a vertical diaper
change and re-dressed him. The entire process was accomplished in less
than two minutes - a personal record, I believe. And we gave our group
something to chuckle about. (By the way, the little guy fell asleep
almost as soon as we started marching and slept the entire walk.)
During a Sunday drive: It was a lovely day for a
drive, until the car was filled with a noxious odor. Finding a safe
place to pull over, we parked at a roadside picnic area and unbuckled
the little guy to do a diaper change. I laid him down in the back of the
SUV, pulled off his dirty diaper, opened the diaper bag and ... had no
clean diapers. I had forgotten to replenish the diaper bag from our last
trip. Luckily, we had one (one!) diaper wipe in a baggie we could use
to get him somewhat clean. Little man went commando until we could find
the nearest store - a convenience store attached to a gas station that
charged $20 for a pack of five diapers. I swallowed my pride, bought the
diapers, put one of them on the little guy and went home. Never again
did I forget to repack the diaper bag.
All parents, at one time or another, will do whatever we need to
do to make sure our babies are healthy and well cared for, even if it's
embarrassing. But we do it because we care, and eventually, these
moments become will become laugh-out-loud memories.