I forgot what it felt like to see a baby smile, his face lighting up just for me. I forgot the incomparable sound of laughter that comes from a baby when he’s tickled. I forgot that sense of comfort shared by both father and son when he squeezes my finger.
I also forgot that babies are assholes.
Tonight was TACO NIGHT! TACO NIGHT! Is great because those of us who can eat solid food in our household love tacos, including my five-year-old, who can be a picky dick at dinner. My wife makes them with ground turkey, low fat cheese and low fat sour cream, which means I can eat seven tacos and not feel guilty.
I just finished my second taco, and I was entering my taco groove—the chemical reaction in my brain that makes me crave more tacos. Taco construction is almost as enjoyable as eating the taco itself. I get to stuff as many low-fat ingredients inside, until right before the shell cracks. Nothing stands between me and my taco.
Except a crying baby.
I’d been ignoring the buildup, which began with mild moaning and metastasized into fussing, snorting, redness, flailing and all out infant howling.
“Can you wait?” I asked.
No, he couldn’t wait because the selfish blob had to be fed his bottle and put down in his crib so that he could grow and develop. I sighed and shook my head to see if I could shame him, but he just said, “A bah da da da da.”
“Yeah okay. Whatever.”
I picked him up and put him over my shoulder, his ass an inch from my nose. Right away I could smell the shit in his diaper.
“I think he pooped,” the five-year-old said.
“You don’t say.”
“Yeah I do. He smells like deuce.”
I walked away from my taco in the middle of my taco groove, which is like stopping in the middle of sex. I stomped my way up the stairs, hoping to evoke some contrition from the baby, but he just smiled at me. I laid him down on the changing table and prepared myself. Babies have inexplicable strength. My son is just over two feet, weighs 20 pounds but thrashes like one of those super-sized fucking catfish that that dipshit with his fucked up English teeth pulls out of the water on River Monsters. Luh at that! The contours of his wiskus mean he’s at least thu’ee yeas old!
But unlike the catfish, the baby was not distressed; he just likes to be difficult because why the FUCK should any single Goddamn part of parenting be easy?
For those of you who change diapers, you understand that one false move can mean disaster. If you step away to close the door or take a sip of wine from that glass you couldn’t enjoy during dinner, your baby could roll off the changing table and fall to the floor. Or, if you don’t cover your son’s penis, he’ll hose you.
And for those of you who don’t change diapers, go fuck yourself.
When I change the baby, he does everything except cooperate. He grabs my sleeve and fingers with his River Monster strength. He stiffens his legs or bends them at the wrong times. He tries turning over. And he has so much fun doing it, smiling and laughing, that it is hard to get mad.
You can imagine how interesting things get when feces are involved.
He smiled, kicked, and cooed.
“You have a lot to say.”
“Ehh ahh…wgh ghee!”
“Yes! Yes you do have a lot to say! Yes you do! You stink. You made a stinky, didn’t you? My little budgie made a stinky.”
I unsnapped his onesy, pulled it back, and slid a clean diaper under the dirty one. I unfastened his diaper.
“Okay, let’s see what we’ve got…oh fuck, Jesus Christ!”
The smell, volume and mess were so distracting, that I allowed him to dip his foot in it.
“No! Don’t do that.”
I quickly removed his sock and got shit on my fingers. I cleaned it off with a wipe and sighed over my taco growing cold downstairs. That’s when I realized I hadn’t covered his penis. Remember what I said about one false move? Well, I committed many. He power pissed, and it hit my chest before arcing and landing on his throat, creating a urine necklace. Still, he was all smiles.
“Wgh wgh ghee.”
He had waste on both ends. Three minutes earlier he was in his clothes, clean as a whistle. Now he looked and smelled homeless. I didn’t know where to begin the cleanup. Shit smells worse, so I dug in, using eight wipes to clean the stuff off his butt cheeks, thighs and the crevices, but not before covering his penis because they are never done. I stuffed the wipes in his dirty diaper and rolled it up like a shit burrito or shit naanwich (you pick). With my left hand providing a barricade for his body, I stretched as far as I could and dumped the dirty diaper in the garbage. Of course this released a waft of festering foulness from the existing contents, making me wretch and gag.
It was time to finish the job. His neck needed cleaning, and I had to put the clean diaper on. I took a deep breath, adjusted the clean diaper, and before I could fasten it, he flipped over and peed again. The diaper absorbed it all, but still, I felt like an impossible nimrod. I removed his soiled onesy, and he cried out of discomfort as I wiped down his neck.
“You’re crying? How is that fair? I should be the one crying.”
“Shit man, then don’t pee on yourself.”
Saving some kind of face, I put his new diaper and clean onesy on rather quickly.
“Okay. Alright,” I pep talked myself.
I put him over my shoulder, finished cleaning the changing area, and grabbed a pair of jammies. We went into my room because I thought a change of scenery would be good for all of us. I was wrong. I struggled mightily (surprise!) to put them on. They make infant pajamas with zippers and snaps. Snaps are impossible because there are 20 of them, which means there are 20 steps to take to do the job of one zipper. This would be easier if my son were a fat, sedentary fuck, but he’s not. He’s a River Monster, and River Monsters don’t hold still. And snaps won’t snap when River Monsters thrash.
“Seriously, why the fuck do they make these cocksucking fucking things like this?”
I looked at the baby. “Does this make any Goddamn sense?”
He stuck his tongue out at me. Each time I aligned a snap with its slot, he kicked. I couldn’t get past four snaps.
I picked him up, through his jammies across the room and rummaged through his drawer. All I found were ones with snaps and a Lego Chima figure that his brother must have put in there. The jammies that I flung mocked me. Somehow—I think the baby just wanted the whole ordeal to be over with—I snapped all 20 snaps, fed him the rest of his bottle, and lowered him in his crib.
Downstairs my taco lay on its side, leaving a short trail of turkey meat next to it on the plate. I slid it back in the shell, and it felt surprisingly warm. I bit into it and smiled. I felt a small hand press on my foot. My five-year-old looked at me from under the table.
“What took you so long, Daddy?”