The following was written around February 2011, when Mason was 4 months old…
A cartoon baby assuming the diaper changing position.
Don’t let the smile fool you.
One thing I worried about when Mason was in utero, perhaps excessively, was poop. Yes, I know, everybody poops, I’ve seen the book. Thanks to the development of the average human brain, however, I have little to no recollection of being potty trained. Therefore, in my mind, I’ve always wiped my own ass. Add the fact that my only sibling is my half-sister, who is 10 ½ years older than I, and you see how apparent it is that before Mason, I had never changed a diaper. Ever. You’ll have to take my work when I say that because of this inexperience, I never knew what baby poop actually smelled like.
Before I continue, I’d like to say that I do realize just how odd it is for me to engage you in a lesson on baby poop. There, I feel better.
When Mason was just a day or two old, he had already pooped (or “made stinkies,” as is our phrase for a bowel movement) several times, to rid himself of the amazing meconium I marvel about in other writings. As I mention in those writings, meconium has a very mild odor. It really didn’t bother me much at all. Now that Mason has made hundreds of stinkies since then, I can tell you that it gets worse…much, much worse. I realize that some of you may have changed diapers in the past. If so, good for you, enjoy my horror story. If you are like me and are starting to question your olfactory system’s health, read on and prepare yourself.
Actually, one thing more before the horror story begins. You are setting yourself up for a heap of anger in your partner if you constantly try to avoid changing a stinky diaper. Take it from someone who still does it…it’s best you do your share, but know that it’s bad, since I still avoid it and take the heat from Holly. It’s just easier sometimes.
Back to my little guy. Mason was a hybrid-fed baby, meaning he was fed both breast milk and formula, pretty much from his first week of life. It’s said that formula-fed babies have stinker feces that their breast fed counterparts. I didn’t really notice any odor at first. Mason’s poops were light yellow and had a mild stench that was very tolerable. After his bilirubin treatment for jaundice, the poop color darkened, and the smell got a bit stronger. As time went on, Mason’s poop got darker and darker, and the stench became downright unbearable. I found it incredible that the sheer pungency of his poop seemed to double within days. Maybe it was the formula. Maybe it was just his digestive system. Either way, it was (and still is) Hell in a diaper. Imagine combining the odors of propane, sulfur and expired Chinese food. At times, I was gagging and struggling to not throw up. Mason just smiled at my misfortune, but at least he seemed thankful that I was spiffing him up.
Nonetheless, it got to the point where I had to leave the room and strand poor Holly to do all the dirty work. By three months old, I was doing all I could to avoid changing him, including issuing full-body massages and household chores in exchange for detaining myself on the opposite side of the house during a changing. Every now and then, I’d have no choice but to suck it up and deal with it, like when Holly was out and it was just Mason and I at home. I thought I would slowly acclimate myself to the smell, but it just never happened. The struggle continues to this day.
Now, you may have a less sensitive sense of smell, or perhaps it just won’t bother you. More power to you if that’s the case. If you are like me, do your best. Try holding your breath, but you’ll need to learn to change a diaper in under 60 seconds, or else you’ll inhale so deeply, passing out is a possibility. Try a clothespin on your nose, but eventually your baby will think you’re nuts (not to mention your partner will think it immediately). In the end, everybody poops, and you’ll have to wipe your child’s ass, just like your parents did for you, whether you remember it or not.