It had been an incredibly long and endless day.
So around 10 am, Ben and I decided to venture out of the house. I recoiled from the sunlight like an overrated vampire, and hauled Ben’s 10 lb self plus all his many accessories into the car. The kid was sleeping like a – well – a baby.
Perfect, I thought to myself diabolically. I should have a good hour to get some errands done and to walk aimlessly in my mental fog.
Target was my location of choice. After unloading and assembling Ben’s chariot and gathering all his items, I rolled through the automatic doors, feeling pretty snazzy. Heck, I thought, I might even get me a soda and meander through the not-maternity section of clothing.
I leaned down to pull back the stroller cover only to be met with –
Two wide-open eyes staring back at me. Did I imagine it, or was there a smirk on Ben’s face?
Going to enjoy some down time, eh? It’s cute how naive you are, it really is, the smirk seemed to say.
I smiled nervously at Ben.
“Hey Dude,” I heard myself say. “Just going for a walk, let’s go back to sleep, Buddy.”
I immediately got rolling, praying silently that the motion would send Ben right back into sweet oblivion.
Ben continued to stare at me, unblinking.
And then slowly, oh so slowly, his angelic little face began to wrinkle. And then it began to redden.
And then other people in Target started to turn and look, because Ben decided now was the time to exercise his lungs to their fullest capacity.
The kid quickly became inconsolable, and I assumed he must be hungry. Of course, every newborn wants their food yesterday, so I tried to think about how I could feed the guy and still stay out.
Does Target have a nursing room? Yeah right. How about the bathroom? Pass. I’ll just go into my car… That gas light has been on for at least 15 miles – crap.
I quickly decided to just go home, since we were only a few minutes away. Every woman I passed on the way out made comments such as, “Aww, listen to that sweet little cry, how precious!”
Absolutely adorable, I thought, and quickly rushed towards the automatic doors.
I loaded Ben into the car and wrestled his stroller into the trunk, grumbling to myself about how I’d spent about 30 minutes just getting to the store and only about 30 seconds inside it. Ben continued to holler, and I mindlessly spoke soothing words to him, doing my best to mask the fact that I was super irritated.
We got home and I fed Ben, who still seemed kind of cranky. While burping him, I noticed how much he seemed to be concentrating. And then, a stinky smell.
“Someone pooped his diaper!” I said in a sing-song voice. Ben glanced up at me, his eyes full of knowing.
It suddenly dawned on me that my hand – the one on his back – felt very….moist. I looked down at his brown onesie and – wait – this onesie wasn’t brown before…
Ben’s entire back was oozing with a nice brown/yellow substance. He looked at me, pride in his eyes, and I looked at him, wonder in mine.
I’ll save you all the details – but just to give you an idea of the sheer volume of substance in his diaper, I had to eventually cut his onesie off of him. I might have been disgusted if I wasn’t also so awestruck.
(Fun fact – the necks of onesies are actually made so that you can slip them over your baby’s shoulders and down off his body without going over his head and smothering his face with poop from major blowouts. Unfortunately, Google told me this too late. Oh well, it’s funnier the way it happened – it’ll be a good story to share at Ben’s wedding or something).
Anyway, about 10 wipes, 1 soaked burp cloth, 1 destroyed changing pad, 1 shredded onesie, and 1 bath later, Ben was finally clean, dry, and relaxing contentedly in his bouncer. Ben went through the whole ordeal lying on his back happily, looking at me periodically with an amused grin on his face.
I thought back to the moments at Target and to my irritation. My annoyance was now quickly dissolving as I looked at the smiling, chubby kiddo cooing next to me. Ben had no idea about my frustration – if he did he was obviously very forgiving.
I suddenly felt very humbled by the fact that this tiny human life depended so much on me – to keep him fed, to make sure he’s dry and clean, to comfort him when he’s overwhelmed, and to make him feel secure and loved.
At the end of the day, a blown trip to Target doesn’t amount to a whole lot. In fact, if I had to choose between shopping at Target or being rewarded with a huge smile from my son after cleaning a blowout, well…I’d choose Ben every time.
God has blessed me with this unique season of life; my prayer for myself – and all new mothers – is that I would not allow frustration and irritation to creep in and steal the joy from this temporary time.
I once wrote about how marriage has revealed in me a selfishness and self-love that I didn’t know existed. Well, being a brand new mom has revealed a whole new level of each of those.
Praise God that he can and does do good things in the midst of our weaknesses. I pray that I and others would not miss the gift of where we are today because we are so focused on what we could be doing, where we could be, and why we’re not there.
Here’s to dying to self, one poop-filled diaper at a time.